A recent conversation I overheard in the course of showing some used industrial equipment. A medium sized, independently owned company owner had traveled with some key shop personnel to inspect some “hard-to-find” equipment. New Price: Over 1 Million Dollars. Used Price: $100,000.
OWNER (BOSS): “We really need this machine in order to fill some production gaps and allow us to take on bigger, more complex jobs in the future”. “This machine will allow us to grow our business.”
SHOP/SET-UP GUY: “But boss it has a different controller than we use”. “It doesn’t have the type of robot we use.” “The machine has a different feed system than we use.”
OWNER (BOSS): “Can’t we just change out the controller, robot and feed system?”
SHOP/SET-UP GUY: “We could but that will be expensive and a lot of work to make that switch”. “Besides that, the machine is greasy and dirty. We would have to spend a lot of time to get it cleaned up”
OWNER (BOSS): “Well even with that we would only be spending 15% of what a new one costs!”
SHOP/SET-UP GUY: “It’s still a lot of work and we are busy trying to keep our other machines maintained and running.” “This is just going to be another machine that will take up our time”
OWNER (BOSS): “I guess we can’t buy it then”. “My guys say it would be too much work.”
Like many businesses today the owner/boss/plant manager is at the mercy of a work force who is making decisions that affect the trajectory of the company. Unfortunately this short-sighted approach is strangling manufacturing. Is this your company?