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Buying New Equipment.

Tuesday, April 13, 20100 comments

 When buying new equipment, I can't stress enough, how important it is to talk to others who have purchased the equipment you are considering.  I have seen it happen way too many times, a plant owner is looking to replace a particular piece of equipment, he has seen them at the trade shows.  He checked them out in the magazines,  he talked with the salesman and decides to make the purchase, only to find out that he can't produce the number of pieces he had thought he could or the quality produced was not what he expected. 
I saw it happen again today.  A plant owner was replacing perc machines with  hydrocarbon machines.  The sale had been made, the installation day was here.  The installation went well and soon the new machines were up and running.  Two 55 pound perc machines were replaced with two 60 pound hydrocarbon machines.  They were impressive, nice looking, top of the line, really good machines.  I love new machines!!
Upon closer inspection of the programs we realized that the wash times were inadequate, so they were extended by 10 minutes.  Everything else looked pretty good.  The first 60 pound load came out and it wasn't totally dry, so the dry sensor was adjusted (this resulted in about 7-10 minutes additional drying).  Now the machine (sold as a 55 minute total cycle time), has become a 70-75 minute cycle time (the cleaning quality is great, though) and the owner is becoming concerned that it is going to take a couple hours a day more to get production done.  In the end, he will have to adjust to compensate for the additional time required and it will work out.  However, had he did a little more homework, he would have realized this and possibly would have purchased a different combination of machines. He told me he would have probably went with a third machine. The customer would have been happier and the salesman would have sold another machine, a win/win.
I guess, what I am trying to say, is that when you are shopping for that major purchase, tap into the people that you do business with on a regular basis.  Talk to your distributor sales rep, soap rep or laundry rep.  Get their opinions on what you are thinking of doing.  They usually do not have any skin in the game and you should get an un-biased opinion.   If you are a member of an association, ask other members and see if they have any opinions.  Ask the equipment distributor for several references and give those references a call or go visit the plant if possible.  The bottom line, equipment purchases are some of the largest expenditures you are going to make, do not take it lightly and do not just take the words of a couple individuals.  Do the legwork and check it out yourselves and in the end, you will be much more satisfied with your purchase.  I have seen the opposite happen, too many times.


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