Avoid Suffering From Buying The Wrong Beam Line
We all look at developing our business to improve our competitive position and be more efficient. It is fair to think about all of our assets when we do this as well as our people, guarding ourselves against making the incorrect choice.
A CEO of a tier two 3000 tonne per annum structural fabrication business had operated without a beam line for 40 years. The company felt as if they needed to ‘get in the game’ and purchase any beam line to become competitive. Once purchased they then discovered that the beam line specification did not meet the company’s performance expectations. The gaps in their business they intended to meet by purchasing machine the were not realised as well as they could have been if the correct machine was purchased.
The fabricator was moving into a new factory and they believed any beam line was going to better than not having one at all. They appreciated that it was an expensive exercise to expand their business and so they decided to purchase a low cost beam line that their peers had also purchased. Unfortunately they discovered that the beam line technology from France was 70% more productive & effective than the beam line they had purchased. The effect on the business was that the beam line had to run double shifts. It would also be impossible to be as profitable as the competition who were using the beam line that was built to meet a quality and performance standard, and not a price standard.
Everyone accepts that the European and American beam line manufacturers build quality is acceptable and that any machine will last a long time when serviced correctly. All beam line customers intend to invest in the correct machine that will continue to grow their business. What fabricators find however is that the beam line machine tool dealer may be serving self interest in supplying any machine from a limited product range instead of the best solution that will grow the fabricators business.
Unsuspecting manufacturers, who wish to mend the gaps in their product, may be navigated past deficiencies in the beam line, or copying robot design that affect a fabricators long term productivity, by the self serving beam line builder or agent.
Businesses are advised to discuss with peers in the industry, not only machine performance, but also whether the beam line agent is considered an alliance partner by demonstrating extensive experience and industry knowledge. Every business appreciates appropriate service for their machinery investments, after all the machines are working for decades. However, what fabricators found was that the means test between failures (MTBF) reliability is unacceptably high and a beamline, on average, has a downtime of 30 days per year due to service issues from alternative suppliers. This significantly impacts a fabricators cost and schedule. For a steel service centre it can mean that they are incapable of supplying 1.5 tonne per hour to the market.
How do you buy the wrong new or used beam line?
By not asking the right questions about the specification from the subject matter expert, your business’s expected performance outcomes might not be realised. When we bring assets into our business we do so because we expect they can bring value. If we do not understand ‘precisely’ how that value is going to be realised, are we making a good choice?
The risk of getting it wrong can have significant long term implications for your business. Incorrect utilisation of resources, cash flow, floor space and power can have limitations on the type of work a business can bid for and win. It is very easy to make a poor choice and this the reason why so many beam line owners are not aware of the limitations of their machine when they are not familiar with the range of beam lines Specialist Machinery Australia offers that are productive, accurate and reliable.
What happens when you buy the wrong beam line machine?
By not understanding the gap that has driven the need for change, we can often find comfort in familiarity, prior knowledge and peer relationships. Whilst this can be a good source of shared experience, very few will tell us what happens next. Lost contracts, damaged reputation, reduced capabilities, and a poorly engaged workforce are some of the experiences that have been recounted by too many clients who have chosen a beam line or coping robot that is not reliable, accurate and productive.
What happens when you buy the correct beam line?
When we accept that our current assets are not performing (by capacity, availability or reliability) we know that we need to either supplement or replace them. A gap analysis can identify the performance shortfall and highlight deficiencies in the business’s capabilities. Information will be required regarding capacity expectations, revenue and SWOT profiles, value gap analysis, supply chain management, complementary processes as well as material handling, training and support.
Partnering with a machine tool supplier who has the knowledge and expertise to match your business’s performance outcomes to a machine tool specification will assist you to bid for and win work. Clients of Specialist Machinery Australia have reported the value of engaging and gaining our support as well as participation in the design process to create the specification that will maximise your value and ROI.
Through implementing a specification driven selection that delivers increased capability, sector relevance and potential, revenue streams are enhanced. Clients are able to forecast a more competitive, efficient and productive product offering when performance and quality concerns are addressed which in turn produces happy customers.