In business, we often stick to legacy processes and equipment because it’s what we’re used to and new equipment is a significant investment. Sometimes it’s good to be cautious and not jump into technology too quickly. But sometimes we need to step back and ask ourselves as a company if it’s time to make an investment up front that will bring rewards over time for us and our customers.
When we started designing and manufacturing engine stands and containers, we used a Buffalo roller that took 10–15 passes for each piece of metal. We had to create multiple pieces of a stand and then weld it together, often purchasing precision-machined parts.
Initially we did this because we had no other choice. Technology hadn’t advanced to a point where we could precisely create a part from one piece of metal in just one pass. Later, we did this because, like many companies, we were hesitant to make the heavy investment in new technology.
Eventually, though, we knew we needed to make the jump to a newer machine that would make our processes more efficient and reduce the lead time required to create our custom stands, containers and associated ground support equipment.
We purchased a Roundo CNC roller/bender that lets us use a more efficient process and fewer pieces to create parts and equipment. With the CNC control system, we can accurately and repeatably produce pieces in just a couple of passes. Not only does this make our equipment more structurally sound and less expensive to produce, it’s reduced our lead time for projects by about 20 percent, meaning we can meet tighter deadlines for our customers.
We think it’s always wise to carefully weigh the cost of ownership over time before making a technology purchase. But when you see a value to both your company and your customers like we did, it just makes good business sense.