Thursday, May 20, 2021

When to update to new stuff?

Tech changes every day.  Our fast paced world is presenting us with new, and better, ways to accomplish most things on an hourly basis.  Some of this is very intriguing such as electric vehicles or 3D printers.  I do get annoyed, however, being told that I have peeled a carrot wrong my whole life and this new hack or tool will be the only answer.  And though I am sure that my carrot peeling skills are just fine, at what point does the machinery in my shop need to upgrade?  When is the new really better than the old?

What can the new tech do?

If the new gadget is cooler looking than the old one you might be inclined to switch.  Aesthetics in an automobile are important.  We all like new, shiny things.  However there are certain requirements that make a new device worth adding to a shop.

  • does it make a process faster?
  • does it reduce costs?
  • does it make a final product better?
  • does use less floor space for the same results?
  • does it require less power for the same production?
  • is it easier to use?
There could be more to the list, but the idea is that a new gadget needs to improve production either with cost or quality or time.  If it does not do any of these things, just wait.  Another version will.

What does the new tech NOT do?

Yes that is important.  If the new item does go faster or reduce costs but it makes an inferior product it is probably not worth the investment.  If it goes faster and makes a great product but the cost makes the RIO low, then it is not worth the financial outlay.  If it does not do all the steps in production that the current version can do, then this is not a gain.  New is not always better.

When should the old tech go, no matter what?

I say that with some wisdom.  As a manufacturing company who has produced machinery since 1979, we help people every day fix stuff.  We offer free phone service and with the use of digital photos, Zoom and FaceTime we are able to fix most old machines.  Many times that repair is priced quite reasonable and the customer keeps using a machine from the 80's.  

However, sometimes old is old.  Broken is broken.  And being thrifty (read cheap) does NOT help your bottom line.  Maybe you can get the parts for a 1984 machine.  However, how long were you down waiting for them?  How long did you have to search for a supplier for them?  Are they the direct replacement or did you have to modify the machine to make them work?  All of those items cost money.  Down time means late production.  Your search time means you did not spend time making sales or managing your production.  Modifications to old stuff takes both your time and down time and they are never quite what you needed.  Is that cost beneficial?

We do understand small business and the need to keep costs down.  We understand budgets.  We also know that if you have big equipment with big repair bills you have a hard time paying, then your really needed smaller equipment to suit your space and revenue.  Crunch those numbers sometime.  You might be surprised to find out that that big stuff you bought at a great price is costing you more than you make and newer smaller stuff would make you more profitable.  Hard to fathom sometimes but it is true.

How can we help you figure it out?

Most people do not like to discuss financial situations with sales people.  But the truth is, good sales people want to see their customers succeed and make money.  Think about your own style.  You want to have return business and you treat a customer with the goal of seeing them again.  Capital goods sales people are the same.  We would like you to buy well so you do well.  Then call us again for the next cool tech item that you are interested in.  So consider sales people as allies who gain when you gain.  Ask them if it is worth it to keep with what you have or go new.  Yes they will pitch new as hard as they can.  They have kids to feed, just like you.  But good ones will help crank the numbers to see if the justification is there for your shop.

You might be surprised by what you learn.