Countless engineers, plant managers and line workers happily anticipate their large capital expenditure getting the go-ahead from management. This equipment will absolutely make them more productive than ever, will top all production records, and validate the cost justification of many months or even years.
Nothing shoots down all that excitement and adrenaline faster than, when the machine finally arrives, and is partially installed, a few “surprises” appear. Your boss starts breathing down your neck using phrases like “return on investment” and “fully operational”.
You have no answers because the problems presenting themselves are small and annoyingly indescribable.
The good news is that most of these issues can be avoided.
Nowadays, the new style of procurement involves more than just a purchasing agent, creating a paper trail and firing off the purchase order to the chosen supplier. Even before the order is placed, and as the equipment is being developed, the customer needs to be involved with the supplier.
The Quotation Stage
The development of the quotation is one of the key phases that most people overlook.
Most purchasing agents don’t have the opportunity to involve active members of the team during the buying decision.
That means, Where they need the value to be spent and what the end-user’s needs are.
Here are some options or upgrades that are sometimes overlooked:
Auto Gauging Systems—Think about the cost of gapping the mill
- Quick Die Change Systems
- Slug Removal Systems.
- Lubrication System
- Front-end System
- Overhead Cable Trays
- Powered Width Adjustment or Rafting
- Precut or a Post Cut-off System
- Installation and Training On-site
This is the stage that most organisations believe they are out of the loop. They assume that, once an agreement has been made with the supplier, they are no longer involved in the process, and the machine will arrive exactly as ordered.
However, it is at this development stage, that the critical details and issues can be discussed and resolved.
The Development Stage
There are no lucky companies that purchase and miraculously have flawless rollforming line installations.
Proactive companies simply become part of the design team. They work with the engineering department and smooth out specific details on their line.
During the development stage of their line is when the customers should visit their supplier and meet the design team .
Fronting a small investment in airfare will reduce future time wasted, costs, money and aggravation for when your rollforming line arrives at your premises.
When managing and developing your project, please consider these vital elements:
- Building Layout
- Line Direction
- Scrap Removal Systems
- Quick Die Change
- Power Requirements
- Working Pass-line Heights
- Equipment Color
- Hydraulic Power-pack Location
- Electrical Panel and Operator Locations
- Part Orientation
What You Want
When considering a rollforming supplier, evaluate if they share a culture that welcomes two-way partnership and development of your rollforming line. Is their project management effective, and are they mindful of your best interests? This is your line and your money. Get what you want and what you paid for!
Most of these issues and details seem like common sense. They are, but I have to agree, “the devil’s in the details.”
When next you and your team have that major cost justification approved, dont forget to rope in the relevant members of the team and don’t cut short your own involvement and input to the design of your next rollforming line.
Bob Repovs is president of Samco Machinery Ltd., Toronto.