Procurement Ten mistakes to avoid when purchasing a new machine

Author / Editor: Lars Kobialka / Steffen Donath

The purchase of a new machine is always associated with costs and effort. It is all the more annoying if it turns out that the wrong choice was made. You should definitely avoid these ten mistakes!

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Making an investment and purchasing a new machine always poses a risk, here are ten mistakes you should avoid.
Making an investment and purchasing a new machine always poses a risk, here are ten mistakes you should avoid.
(Source: Neonbrand (Unsplash))

1. Insufficient requirements analysis

The earlier requirements are defined in the project, the easier it is to implement them. What exactly is needed? This question must be answered right at the beginning. Because if the analysis is missing, the machine must be able to do everything. However, the machine that can simply do everything is unfortunately a very rare species and unnecessarily expensive.

2. Not include operating personnel in the planning process

If you don't ask, you're stupid — but it's so obvious. Production personnel always know best what functions a machine must have. Every day they see how production quantity, quality or batch sizes have to be in order to achieve the production targets.

3 Stakeholders ignored

For a project to be successful, all relevant stakeholders must actually be involved. This is hard work, but indispensable. Because not only production has requirements, but also sales and service. If not all requirements are recorded, a one-sided view of the project remains. The result will thus also be one-sided.

4. Not insisting on uniform offers

Completely comprehensible: Every requested supplier has his own offer templates, which he prefers to use. However, for those who enquire, this means that they receive an abundance of different offers that cannot be easily compared and evaluated. Therefore, you should always ask for an offer with a uniform request document.

5. No requirement specification

It's hard to write, but it's worth it. If requirements are not defined in writing, there are grey areas for suppliers. These are some degrees of freedom in execution that experience has shown are also used — usually not to the advantage of the customer.

6. Machine delivered too early and immature

There is only one right moment for the delivery of a machine: when it is ready. Machines should be adapted to the customer's requirements at the special machine manufacturer's plant until they have reached the appropriate degree of maturity. The machine is ripe when commissioning at the customer's site is as short as possible and production can start quickly.

7. Interfaces are not specified or coordinated

The biggest and most unpleasant surprise is always this one: The single machines of a production line are delivered, but unfortunately they do not fit together. And this is not uncommon. Then it starts with adaptation work, which is time-consuming and expensive. Interfaces should be specified and coordinated beforehand. Then it fits.

8. Automation: man and machine are not the same

Products that were previously manufactured manually should always be evaluated for their suitability for automated production. Only in the rarest of cases is an ergonomic production for humans also favourable for machines. This is the case for production processes that are not ergonomic for a human being.

9 Automation of unsuitable processes

Grown processes are often not suitable for the next steps towards automation. If automation is used, the processes should first be questioned and, if necessary, optimised for automation. Everything else becomes unnecessarily complicated.

10. Procurement of machines as secondary task

In the words of a production manager: “From 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. I have daily business, from 6 p.m. I take care that our production does not become obsolete. The efficiency leaves a lot to be desired.” That's certainly the case. And that's why procurement shouldn't just be done on the side.

Lars Kobialka is founder and CEO of mworks GmbH in 25436 Uetersen, Tel. (0 41 22) 98 08 30,,

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