Automating your business is a major step towards increasing productivity. It also helps to lower production costs and in the improvement and standardization of output quality. Suffice to say, the right machinery can transform your business enterprise.
The process of buying the machinery can, however, be rather difficult. It is a major investment for any entrepreneur and with that comes the pressure of getting right. Yet, at the same time, you are faced with hundreds of brands and features to choose from. How do you whittle down the list of options to the best picks?
Let’s have a look at some essential factors you may want to consider.
The model of machinery you choose to buy should be suitable for the application you intend to use it for. That seems obvious, right? Unfortunately, sometimes it is not. Most entrepreneurs get enamored by devices and gadgets that have features that they will never need. The result of this is over-automation and inefficiency. Moreover, you may end up paying a higher price for such complex equipment which is not commensurate with the value you will get from it.
In addition to functional suitability, consider your scale suitability. For example, if you manufacture 1000 pastries, buying a mixer that can mix 10 times that amount would be wasteful. The machine would be working under its capacity and you may find that you use more ingredients. Try to match your scale of production to the capacity of your machinery more optimally to reap better gains.
As you begin to shop around, remember that all manufacturers are not created equal. You may miss out on great deals or options of more advanced technology if you do not compare options. Take, for example, that you are looking for welding machinery. Whereas local manufacturers may only stock basic welding equipment, you could find welding robots in China that are more efficient. The trick here is to cast a wide net and keep an open mind.
Some qualities to look out for in a dealer include:
- Provision of warranty
- After-sale services
- Assistance with shipping
- Short turnaround times
- A low minimum order quantity
It is advisable to reach out to brands directly instead of going through middlemen. It is difficult to know which agent to trust and going through them presents an extra expense. Consider identifying reputable brands that deal in the machinery you need and sending them inquiries. They will likely get back to you with details and you can proceed with the order process from there. Manufacturers may also offer you wholesale prices and help you understand their products better.
Cost and Financing
The initial cost is probably what you are more concerned about but the devil, as they say, is in the details. Engage your chosen manufacturer and other independent advisors on the cost of maintenance and repair. Aim for machinery whose parts are easy to find. It may seem like you are getting ahead of yourself by doing all this but long-term costs are just as important as initial costs. Besides, you will be expected to cater to both.
Most financial organizations offer asset financing that can help you purchase your machinery. Such facilities are helpful if scaling up will increase your profitability enough for you to service the debt and stay afloat. That said, debt is expensive. Where possible, finance as much of your purchase as you can to reduce the amount of financing you need to take out.
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Energy costs make up a significant percentage of the cost of production. The type of machinery you invest in will decide whether your costs go lower or higher. In the interest of profitability, aim for equipment with high energy ratings. Look out for other helpful features too like an intelligent awakening and stand-by modes that consume little to no power in case the machine is idle.
Machines that support other energy sources like solar and wind power may be worth investing in too. Renewable energy is increasingly becoming the go-to option to save on business costs. In the event that you would like to explore that in the future, it would behoove you to have compliant equipment.
Transitioning into using a new gadget or automated methods of operation presents a learning curve to staff. They need to understand how the machinery works to avoid safety risks and for production to be effective. The introduction of automation may also necessitate a restructuring of your staffing as some responsibilities may now be taken over by the machines. This often sparks anxiety among employees as they may feel that their job security is under threat.
Staff training will be the anchor of your company’s transition into using new machinery. Understanding how the equipment works will help staff get on board and keep a positive outlook towards the change. Consider facilitating training for employees whose jobs become redundant to help them transition into positions such as machine controllers. Maintaining such a positive inclusive approach will boost staff morale and make the whole process smoother.
Every asset investment that you make in your business is a step forward. It increases the value of your venture and could open up new exciting opportunities. The thought of getting it wrong is understandably scary but with the right guidance, you can navigate it with ease. Remember to always seek a second expert opinion and try to negotiate the best deals possible.