Traditionally, most machinery purchases have been through local manufacturers, agents and resellers.
But times are getting tougher, it is more competitive and the ways of cutting costs in manufacturing and packaging has to be looked at.
One innovative approach is to bypass local resellers and buy new plant directly from China or other low cost countries.
Buying directly has the advantage of reducing costs by cutting out the middleman’s commission and a shorter lead time is likely with machines shipped directly to the end user.
A supplier of new and used production and packaging machinery commends those who have achieved success from this.
When taking this route, however, careful consideration is required on the numerous pitfalls and hidden problems.
“Judging by the number of calls we have received from customers who have gone down this path, pitfalls and problems are unfortunately becoming the more frequent scenario,” said Steve Addison, Sales Manager, Process Plant Network .
“Typical comments we receive follow a similar pattern including -
- The machine had no safety guarding and it cost a fortune to retrofit
- The wiring was a mess and an industrial electrician had to come in to strip the wiring and start all over again ( just to get the machine compliant to Australian/ New Zealand electrical safety laws)
- The manual made no sense, making operations and maintenance a hit and miss affair
- The promised backup never materialised and we could not get any help from the manufacturers via phone or email
- Local servicemen were reticent to help, as they had no knowledge of these machines, it was just too risky for them to undertake this type of work
- It looked like the right machine in the glossy brochure but in operation it was less than satisfactory."
Steve Addison also suggests, “If this sounds familiar, well don’t worry, it can happen to all of us. But in the meantime, how do you protect yourself from this costly nightmare?”
Process Plant Network’s advice is that unless the buyer has a full knowledge of Australasian compliance issues and can afford to spend a few weeks in China or any other source country, showing the manufacturer how to wire the machine correctly; fit safety guarding and giving lengthy training for operation and maintenance etc., the prospects do not appear quite so lucrative anymore.
Think carefully and weigh up direct purchasing from overseas against buying locally from a reputable supplier, so as to safeguard business with the following advantages:
- Machine wired to Australian/New Zealand electrical standards
- Safety interlocks and guarding fitted
- Machine tested on product and packaging
- Installation and commissioning available
- On going technical support from qualified technicians
- Parts readily available
- Warranties that are honoured
“Work out the numbers and you will be pleasantly surprised how cost effective and efficient it really is,” said Steve Addison.
“Local agents and suppliers provide a valuable service based on years of experience in these markets. They offer advice on the right machinery and equipment, usually from a selection of both used and new machinery to suit your budget and the on-going needs of your business,” he said.
It is a case of weighing up all the pros and cons carefully to avoid expensive pitfalls.