When it’s time to purchase major equipment, the number of decisions you must make can sometimes be daunting. Here’s how to get the best value for your new machinery investment.
The upfront cost of a purchase is never the best indicator of how much it’s going to cost you in the long run. Running costs are an important consideration to weight up against the capex outlay.
Consumables – Think consumption rate, quantity, quality and cost of consumables. Look at printers; they used to be priced in the hundreds of dollars. Now you can buy a small home office printer for $29 but the ink cartridges are where the real expense lies!
- Maintenance costs – How much will it cost to keep the equipment well maintained and fully operational over its lifetime? And what will be the cost of downtime if it can’t be repaired quickly?
- Parts – Are parts included in your maintenance agreement or will they have to be purchased over and above? Are they locally accessible or need to be imported?
- Longevity and reliability – How long will the equipment feasibly last? Will it be fully serviceable for its entire lifespan?
Carefully consider the bells and whistles
As technology advances, manufacturers are incorporating an endless array of additional features into their machines. You may not need all the ‘bells and whistles’ and even though many of them may be nice to have, you could be over-capitalising when you really just need a basic unit. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do the additional features add extra value? In other words, can we achieve better results or do other tasks with the machine because it has these extra features?
- Do the additional features pay for themselves? That is, do they enhance productivity, reduce wear and tear or use significantly less power or consumables?
- Do the additional features make the machine more complicated? If so, will operators have to be more highly skilled or can existing personnel run it as per usual?
Ensure the machine will fit the brief
Expensive machines need to be used to justify their purchase. If there are any barriers to effective usage, then these need to be eliminated before investing.
- Is it difficult to use? Can additional training address this? Will new staff have to be employed?
- How is your staff turnover? If new staff come along, will they be able to operate the machine?
- Is it fit-for-purpose? Does the machine perform all the tasks for which it is being purchased or will it need to be complemented by another machine?
Consult the right people
Purchasing decisions are ultimately made with budget goals in mind. Machine selection decisions don’t always match those goals. Before the final decision is made on machine type, model, manufacturer and maintenance agreement, it’s important that all the right people are consulted. Speak to your organisation’s engineer or department manager and also find out what the operators deal with and what they expect from new equipment. Once a short-list has been devised taking into account features, benefits, functions, service agreements and usability, the financial decision can then be made.
The most cost-effective new equipment is that which:
- Will be utilised regularly?
- Will perform the requisite functions?
- Can be operated by current and future personnel?
- Is economical on consumables, running costs and maintenance?
- Is durable enough to last – and perform – an acceptable length of time?