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» A Message from the Editor Specs Don’t Lie. Or Do T ey?


Way back when I was in college, and we rode dinosaurs to class and took notes on stone tablets, I had a roommate who was an electrical engineering major. Being a lowly English major, most (OK, all) of what he told me went right over my head. He did, however, have an uncanny talent for impersonating his professors. One, in particular, apparently had a habit of using the phrase, “Specs don’t lie!”. My roommate found his delivery of this phrase particularly amusing and did his best to give me a taste of what life was like as engineering student.


Flash forward to today and we have to ask ourselves is this statement true? Can we trust the specifi cations of anything?


With the power of the Internet we can now access detailed information and specifi cations for anything we are interested in. Looking for a new HDTV? Numerous websites will happily let you compare several models side-by-side where you can easily compare resolution, brightness, contrast ratios, etc. The same goes for cars, computers, toasters, anything can be compared with the click of a button.


And if you’re looking to go beyond just specifi cations there are comparison websites and publications that probably have already tested the TV/car/computer that you are interested in against its competitors and named a best pick. Consumer Reports, Edmunds.com, and CNET.com come to mind as go to resources.


But what do you do when you are looking at instruments/equipment for your pharmaceutical facility? Do you just gather up a bunch of data sheets from various suppliers and manually insert each product’s specs into a spreadsheet – compare – and make a decision based on which one has the best specifi cations?


At a recent trade show/conference this topic came up during a conversation with a vendor. The vendor’s representative was describing a situation where customers are buying equipment solely on printed specifi cations. The crux of the argument was that the company he represented was losing sales to other companies because specifi cations published by their competitors weren’t based on real world applications, and could only be achieved under certain specifi c situations. His question to me was, as a publication that covers the industry how do you fi x this?


Aside from launching a Consumer Reports type publication to evaluate pharma industry equipment objectively there isn’t much that can be done. And things that can be done are probably prohibitively expensive. For example, I could envision an industry organization that funds another independent organization to objectively evaluate all equipment. But the thought of setting up such an organization, funding it and staffi ng it – is enough to make my head spin.


So what should the industry do? Are specs fact or do specs lie? What’s the answer? I look forward to your comments.


»


Mke Auerbach Editor-In-Chief mauerbach@comparenetworks.com


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| May/June 2016


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