Have We Done All Our Homework?

Have We Done All Our Homework?

John Haystead


There`s no question that the cleanroom industry is well established and regarded by its principle customers, notably the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries, for high quality solutions to the most difficult contamination-control challenges. While often expensive, these high-tech solutions are recognized as mandatory for the ultra-sensitive processes of these users, and are accepted as a fundamental cost of doing business in these industries. There are, however, other users, and potential users, who may not see it quite that way.

As the benefits of contamination control become known in more and more industries and applications, it may be equally important that, in turn, contamination-control companies become more knowledgeable about the different requirements, priorities and concerns of these potential customers. Like many new technologies (consider the PC, the FAX, the vacuum cleaner, the air conditioner), truly widespread use was not brought about because the technology was there, but rather, because their advantages were touted, demonstrated, and above all affordable. Likewise, it may be time for our industry to pursue new and innovative approaches to making cleanroom technology more appealing to a larger universe of users.

In the course of general discussions with more than a handful of cleanroom users, many have commented that they were less than totally satisfied with the options available to them as non-mainstream customers. As a result, some have resigned themselves to a less than ideal solution, others have chosen to develop their own in-house expertise, and others have simply decided to forget the whole idea as soon as they hear the first cost quote. What`s most disturbing about this situation, however, is that many of these same users have later learned through their own research efforts that, in reality, they can have all the contamination-control capability they actually need, at a more than reasonable cost.

It appears the problem, at least in some cases, is that the cleanroom company, designer, supplier, etc. didn`t take the time to determine just what the actual requirement was, and match it to what these companies would be willing or able to spend to get it. What may be forgotten in some cases, is that for many industries, contamination control technology is a “nice-to-have” benefit as opposed to a “must-have” technology — a fact that doesn`t change their status as a viable customer.

It may be time to take a harder look at how we tailor, package, price and market our products to this entirely new category of users.


Easily post a comment below using your Linkedin, Twitter, Google or Facebook account. Comments won't automatically be posted to your social media accounts unless you select to share.