Making The Right Equipment Selection
•In economically challenging times, it's more important than ever to buy equipment wisely.
•The right equipment can help your company weather economic downturns, while a bad purchase can hurt your ability to compete.
•The right selection of equipment can improve your processes, productivity, capacity to innovate the entire process of manufacturing.
•Selection of technology affects both your short- and long-term needs.
•You save time and resources, but you'll also avoid costly quick fixes.
•Assess your business reality : It is important to understand your objectives. Are you looking to increase productivity? Will this new equipment make you more successful in the marketplace? Will it help you stay ahead of your competitors? Can you upgrade instead of buying new equipment and still get better performance?
•Get an external point of view : Depending on the scale of your investment, it may be worth working with an external consultant who can ensure you make the most of your purchase by helping you assess your needs. Initially, you'll be looking at important factors such as capacity, employee usage and current resources. The most common practice is to do a cost-benefit analysis, which helps you justify your purchase and determine the pros and cons.
•Be innovative : Your new equipment might help you streamline your operations and create better products and services that appeal to a niche market, for instance, or it might help your research and development efforts or by improving customer service. It's always a good idea to let your customers to know that you're investing in innovation; it's a clear message that you have their evolving needs in mind.
•Look at your business as a whole : Look at the overall needs of your operations. Short-term purchases without long-term plans are costly and may not yield the best results. An external consultant can conduct a review of operational processes to help you fully understand the way your business works. This review enables the consultant to devise a sound plan that ensures your operations run smoothly and don't generate waste.
•Look at your business as a whole :
- A consultant can also help you anticipate human resources issues arising from new equipment. For instance, if new machines make some jobs redundant, will you be able to move affected employees to other positions in your company?
- Ask yourself carefully whether the new features offered by more technologically advanced equipment are really of use to you.
•Shop around for suppliers : The Internet gives you access to a wide range of specialized equipment companies, so take the time to browse. You can also contact industry associations for more information. Don't let price alone guide you in your supplier decision. Also consider aspects such as post-sales service and a supplier's reputation, and get references. If you're a loyal customer, you can ask for better warranties or an extended customer service plan.
•Keep training in mind : All too often, entrepreneurs don't consider the time, money and resources required to train employees on new equipment. You want to avoid the productivity drop that occurs when employees take too much time to adapt to new technology or processes. If the equipment is new or has new features, you can assume employees will face a learning curve. It's important to head off problems by ensuring that you have the financing in place to address the resulting downtime.
•Know your financing options
•Think safety first : A healthy and safe work environment means your employees and your company can be more productive, and this rule applies to your equipment and technology purchases as well. Your suppliers are responsible for selling you equipment that can be used safely, but you are responsible for ensuring that your employees follow safety rules
•Keep it green