4 Mistakes To Avoid When Purchasing Packaging Equipment

31 August 2016 //

Equipment PurchasingProject Planning

No one sets out to intentionally make a mistake, but when human error occurs, it can have far-reaching consequences.

As a preferred packaging equipment manufacturer we have seen our fair share of inadvertent oversights involving everything from the most simplistic tray shrink wrapper to a complex bag or pouch bundling tight wrap shrink-wrapping machine. Regardless of equipment type, mistakes are often traced back to a simple lack of communication, or assumptions made by the purchasing agent.

With some foresight and preparation, you can spare your next packaging equipment purchase from these four common pitfalls:

1. Not Providing Detailed Specifications to the Packaging Equipment Manufacturer

Not providing every detail about the product, application and production facility to the packaging equipment manufacturer nearly guarantees that the packaging machinery design and purchase is destined for a bumpy road. Details about the production environment, temperature of the product and ambient air can help paint a picture of the required packaging system. Similarly, available plant utilities (electrical and compressed air) allow the manufacturer to better design a packaging machine. What might seem like common knowledge to you and your company may not be so common to others. Document and share everything to make sure critical design parameters are being communicated to the manufacturer.

2. Not Considering Used Packaging Equipment

Sometimes, new packaging equipment is simply too expensive for your budget, making the used equipment market the next best option. While dependable used equipment exists, it’s definitely harder to find and most likely will have limited warranty coverage, if any. Expecting the same performance from a used packaging machine that you would get from new equipment can be setting yourself up for disappointment. Keep in mind that, for one reason or another, a previous party gave up on that machine. If purchasing used packaging equipment, talk to the equipment manufacturer before doing so. Inspect the machine’s safety systems. Are they up to your current standards? Can the control systems be upgraded or are they/will they become obsolete? Remember: You will typically end up getting what you paid for, and the older the machine the harder – and more expensive – it will be to service.

3. Not Utilizing the Packaging Manufacturer’s After-Sales Services 

It’s always been somewhat of a head scratcher: why don’t more companies take advantage of after-sales services provided by an OEM? No one knows more about the your newly purchased packaging machine than the manufacturer. Why would you hire a third party contractor to install new machine or attempt it yourself when the equipment manufacturer just spent the last three months designing and assembling every component?

Likewise, why wouldn’t you bring in one of the OEM’s service technicians to train your staff on proper operation, cleaning and maintenance practices? Also, have you forgotten the spare parts kit? Taking advantage of the packaging manufacturer’s after-sales services helps keep your new packaging machine running smoothly, saving you thousands of dollars down the road.

4. Not Researching the Packaging Equipment Manufacturer

Purchasing a new packaging machine is similar to hiring a new employee – it’s a major investment. Planning a visit to the proposed equipment manufacturer’s facility and having a face-to-face detailed application review meeting is invaluable in establishing and maintaining clear communication. Foregoing these steps may cause delays and costly change orders down the road, or modifications in the plant to correct missed project details. Likewise, don’t assume automatic buy-in from the employees who’ll be operating the new machine. Get feedback from those who will be using the machine every day to facilitate a better working environment and optimal line performance.

Whether you are trying to automate your packaging line or replace slower/outdated technology, avoiding these buying mistakes will ensure a successful project.  If you are currently planning a packaging project and have concerns that some details may be lacking and mistakes may be made – contact us. We’re here to help!