As a business, there are usually a variety of issues that no one wants to really address. Maybe it is that annoying coworker, the décor in the breakroom that comes from the 1970s or the cheesy “pep talks” the middle manager thinks are so motivational. Those issues are tolerable. But what if the elephant in the room is that the company equipment is becoming rapidly obsolete?
Sometimes it is difficult to know whether the equipment is actually obsolete. If it still does its job, it is still a useful piece on the factory floor. Fixed costs like equipment are a huge investment that managers aren’t often willing to give up or buy new so quickly. So how can you tell that obsolescence is right around the corner? Ask yourself some pivotal questions.
If the equipment breaks down, can you readily get the parts to fix it? If you have to use a secondary market just to find parts that is a clear sign, particularly if you don’t still have anyone to troubleshoot the machine. But sometimes the signs are a little more subtle. If the machine is not very flexible given your current production lines, experiences a lot of nuisance shutdowns due to clogging or other issues, not particularly energy efficient, etc., they may not have quite outlived their usefulness, but keeping them running can really eat into your bottom line.
How are your workers actually utilizing the machine – are they bypassing safety standards to keep production running, or perhaps have safety standards changed since you first purchased the machine? Take a good look at how the equipment is actually being used on the floor, and you might be surprised at how federal guidelines have altered the usefulness of your equipment.
Modernizing can be phased in and it isn’t nearly as expensive as many in the C-suite fear. In fact, replacing your old mixers with moving parts for a newer static mixer with no moving parts results in much less energy consumption and greater product consistency! Call out the elephant in the room and see how easy modernization can be.