Before you decide to choose to work with a machinery supplier, consider these helpful tips to ensure you have made a solid choice and have covered all your bases.
Rule 1 – What are your options?
Have you considered all the available options on the market, you should be speaking with your business partner, life partner, accountant, financial advisor… or all the above?
These people are going to ask you the right questions to help guide you through to the correct decision for your specific requirement. You of course will be speaking with you peers, colleagues and others along the way, but don’t make the mistake of letting someone else’s choice for their situation convince you it’s the right option for yours.
You must consider a whole host of factors in terms of both your business situation and your personal/financial situation.
Have you researched the full gamut of suppliers in the market? Are you aware of your local manufacturers, your international manufacturers, your local distributors, your rental companies, and even your engineering/design houses.
Rule 2 – Finance
Some suppliers also have several options within their product offering, some focus on an immediate outright purchase, some are order and ship it in from somewhere else, build it for you, design it for you to farm out to a specialist, some specialise in rental solutions, some offer you a hire purchase or lease, though its usually best to source finance from a finance broker.
Rule 3 – Where is this supplier located?
Once you have made your purchase, how is the machine going to get to you? If its small and simply in a cardboard box, with a manual, if you have some experience, know what your doing or even just some smarts about you, you might be able to simply unpack it and commence use immediately without ever requiring assistance.
However… most people… even with the small stuff…. Still need to make a call or book a technician and get some technical support even if its not for the set up, there’s maintenance, repairs, modification, product changes, packaging changes, marking-labelling-identification-specification-process-material or even temperature changes that might mean you need some further support from your supplier.
When you get to this point the location of your supplier is going to key to overcoming whatever difficulty you are experiencing, or providing what ever help it is you may require.
And if they are down the road, or just across town this is a massive advantage to your business. If however they are hours away, in another state, or in another country… you can find yourself in a big pickle with no production, which may in tern mean you end up spending a fortune, even more than the machine cost you, to try and find someone locally, who can figure out how it works, how to fix it, and even make parts for it.
Rule 4 – What qualifications and licencing does your supplier and their staff have?
Many companies out there in the manufacturing world are charging $100 to $150 upwards per hour for technical support, so if they don’t have specific experience and the necessary qualifications to do the work you require, you’re going to end up paying an arm and a leg for them to learn about the product you purchased, you need to know this on the way in and chose a supplier that can accommodate your needs and support you post purchase.
Rule 5 – Have you done any research on the supplier you chose and found out what reputation they have?
Its not a bad idea to google the company you are thinking of working with, or asking them who they support, find some reviews, or best to talk to someone who currently use them. Companies who have nothing to hide will often publicise testimonials from clients that you can read and get feel from about the supplier.
Rule 6 – Where is the actual product coming from, what is the true source of supply?
Before spending your hard earned dollar you need to know what you’re actually buying and who made it, ask where things are made, where did they come from, and often a machine is made from various components sourced from different suppliers in other countries around the world, even if the machine is made locally, what control elements and components have been used such as the pneumatic circuit and where will parts come from when they are needed.
Rule 7 – What sort of support is available from the supplier once you have decided to purchase their product or use their service.
Do they have a local office, local technicians, locally stocked parts, and technical support to back you up when things go wrong. Too many times I have heard of companies waiting 3-4 months for shipping of an internationally stocked part to get their production facility back up and running, you need to know, and have a contingency in place.
Don’t worry if you don’t find a perfect fit, this isn’t a decision you need to make immediately, we have helped many companies, even some award winning brands, get off the ground without ever setting up their own facility, but a great deal of manufacturing businesses often scale up in stages.
A starting point, or even a permanent decision for a lot of businesses, is to use a contract packer to put a launch on the shelf, a good supplier is always happy to assist you further down the track when you are at phase two and help you put your facility together then.
A good supplier doesn’t just tell you the best way THEY can supply you, they tell you best way to help you, if they simply aren’t the best fit for what you want they should be able to give you some leads to point you in the right direction of another business that can better help you get from A to B.
Another way a supplier may serve you better is to say, we do this part well, and can assist you with these things, but for that requirement we know another company who can fill in the blanks for you, not everyone does everything and you can’t assume that because someone makes machinery or provides a service that they have, produce, and can supply what you need.
If you require any advice or assistance with your decision we have offices in Sydney and Melbourne, by all means give us call on 1300 377 512.