What You Need to Know Before You Make Your Equipment or Machinery Purchase

by Ellen Giard

If you're considering taking the plunge on a big machinery or equipment purchase, you already may have some questions in mind. Because we know careful consideration and examination goes into your final decision, USGlass/USGNN.com has interviewed machinery manufacturers, suppliers and glass fabricators to get their take on what's most important to know before making your purchase.

For starters, these industry experts recommend that before you buy anything, you ask yourself: What do I want to do with this line? What type of product do I want to make and what markets do I want to reach? Once you know the answers to these questions, you will find yourself better prepared to begin discussions with your equipment supplier about what you want to gain through your purchase.

Another key point to consider before a machinery purchase is the costs associated with outsourcing versus buying the product. You may want to consider doing an extensive market analysis of in-house costs and advantages versus those of your current suppliers. In addition, before going forward with the equipment purchase it is important that you know when the time is right for you.

The experts also agree that before you take the plunge on your big purchase, you should investigate alternatives. Get your questions answered initially, but also seek existing users' opinions on what the equipment-and the supplying vendor-will be able to provide in the future.

Here are some questions to ask suppliers before making any type of equipment purchase:

  • Support questions to ask: Does the equipment supplier have a large service staff with years of experience to help guide me through my company's daily challenges? Can the supplier help me by supplying process knowledge and tips for a more successful and profitable operation? Is the supplier available in my time zone, and do the company's employees speak my same "glass" language and know my business?

  • Service questions to ask: Does the service department know the equipment inside and out? Do they know the end product my company makes and will they help train my operators to make it better? Can they keep my company up and running and help get me back in business when there is a problem? Are service people employees of the equipment company or employees of an independent representative without immediate access to drawings and in-depth product knowledge?

  • Parts questions to ask: Are parts locally stocked and available immediately when a critical situation arises? Are systems designed to have minimum downtime and to use parts found at a local supply house? Are replacement parts able to be replaced by my maintenance staff with very little help needed from the equipment supplier's service department?

For detailed lists of the questions you should ask before purchasing one of more than 30 types of equipment and machinery, look for the Annual Guide to Equipment & Machinery in the August issue of USGlass magazine.

Ellen Giard is the editor of USGlass magazine.