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To help make an equipment sourcing decision you can be happy with in the long run, here are some factors to consider:
- Price versus total cost. Purchase price is the easiest comparison to make between competing machines, but it can be deceptive. The total cost includes the purchase price, and also considers long-term costs such as useful life of the equipment, parts and consumables purchases, maintenance costs, and accessibility of service and parts. Think about reliability, too – if the equipment is something that you need to use every day, what’s the cost to your operation of having it down for maintenance frequently or unexpectedly?
- Features that offer benefits. Sometimes bells and whistles are just noisy. If you’re considering equipment with special features, make sure they provide a real, measureable benefit. Does the feature pay for itself, in terms of productivity, savings on wear items, or in another way? Make sure the special features are really working for you!
- Operating the equipment you own. You’re not buying equipment to store it – it has to be used by your team. How hard is it to learn to use and maintain the equipment you’re considering? What are the training options? If you have turnover on your staff, how easy is it for current staff members to train in newcomers? Good training options help maintain productivity over time and help with ensuring a long useful life for the equipment as well.
Up-front costs and options are important when sourcing new equipment, but remember that you’re expecting years of use for your money. Factor in long-term costs to get a solid picture of value over the entire life of the machine.