For every business, buying the right sort of business equipment will allow you to put into practice your hopes and dreams. Ideas will only live in your head, as long as you don’t have the means to make them a reality. This is why it’s so crucial for any type of business to use equipment that matches the skill level of your employees. But how do you go about doing this, if you’re a new business owner? It can feel like an uphill climb, but once you understand and become familiar with the procurement channels and methods, you will feel more comfortable buying equipment in the future.
The process begins
You need to understand what your needs are before you draw up a list of potential equipment and brands to query. Purchasing managers play the pivotal role in finding the right equipment you set out in your brief.
- What kind of business are you? You have to be up-to-date on the latest of what’s going on in your industry. You do this by speaking with regulators and compliance officers. They will inform you on what kind of standards are expected from any business, in terms of health and safety. On the other hand, they can also inform you of what kind of equipment would meet those standards, hence, giving you a direction of travel.
- What is your budget? Learning what your options are is critical to not wasting vast amounts of money, buying equipment that you don’t need or don’t have the skilled workforce to utilize yet.
- Can you see the equipment you’re intending on buying or are interested in, lasting you several years? Can you update and or upgrade the equipment so you can perhaps use it for 10 years?
If you’re in a niche industry, how would you find the right kind of equipment? If you’re a biochemist company or work in the pharmaceutical industry, and you need equipment to store samples, who do you turn to? You need to find a dedicated industry supplier that makes medical fridges. This particular company sells freestanding fridges, ultra- large, underbench and spark free or lab refrigerators. They also make lots of different products that are designed for the chemistry industry along with biology as well.
But how would you find such companies to do business with? Supplier merchant networks are the best way to start. These are central hubs, which advertise and host companies of all sorts, from all the different industries. You may also find specific supplier networking companies for particular industries. As you would imagine, they are found online with a few specific searches.
Planning the purchase
Any procurement of equipment has to be done in phases. It’s not like buying a used car, you don’t have to just take the word of the seller. There are 3 stages to procuring equipment properly.
Firstly, you need to scour the market, picking a couple or a few products out of every category in terms of price, effectiveness, longevity and brand customer care. You do this because you may find that the lowest-priced options, will cost you more in the long-term, due to constant upgrades being needed, parts being replaced and not being able to fulfil your higher standards.
A risk assessment has to be made about all the options. This is the job of a risk analyst who will show you almost every facet of every possibility. If you don’t have a risk analyst in your business, then you can always hire a freelance risk analyst or use the services of a risk management firm. The risk assessment will also include the quotes each brand has given you. From there you can weigh up the practical benefits with the financial risks.
Once you have a clear directive of what products would be best for your business, now you must make the decision to purchase the right one. Contact your financial institution and ask for a meeting where you will discuss financing the procurement and or perhaps testing the equipment to make sure you’ve made the right choice.
Upgrades and updates
You have to realize in your business brain, that last year’s equipment is kind of like last year’s smartphone. It’s slightly lesser in capability but we make do with it because we can’t keep buying new equipment. How old technology survives is by receiving updates and upgrades. Just as your smartphone is continually being updated with new software patches to keep it relevant, so too will your equipment need to be updated.
This is why so many small business owners see it to their benefit to go with a large brand, as they have product longevity in mind, in order to retain customers. They also have the funds and skilled workers to improve older products and make them meet the standard of the modern-day.
If you have practical equipment such as an oven for your restaurant, a car jack for your garage or perhaps an elevator for your high-rise building, you will need physical upgrades. This could be in the material of the product, the electronics, the finish and or the efficiency of the internal design. This is all something you need to chalk up with the brand you’ll be buying equipment from.
All your technology will be subject to everyday wear and tear. Therefore, as well as upgrading outdated models, you will need to ensure your tools are regularly maintained and fixed. For example, you’ll need to take business vehicles to a mechanic, and eye exam equipment for ophthalmic repairs.
Your employees must have the skills to be able to utilize the equipment you give them. Either their skills need to be complemented by the equipment you purchase, or you need to have equipment that comes with a training program. Usually, if you have skilled employees, they will soon get the hang of things and begin to stretch their minds and use their capabilities to test the equipment’s limits.
However, you should seek to have an effective training regime whereby you work with the brand or a training company that is familiar with the equipment you have bought, to bring employees up to scratch.
The procurement of equipment is one of the most expensive expenditures for any business. It’s paramount you get your business loan right because equipment should last any business around 10 years. That’s why having the ability to upgrade and update your equipment is also so crucial.