As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Ill Customs and bad Advice are seldom forgotten.” Here at Global Electronic Services, we’ve repaired and serviced advanced machinery for over 60,000 of the largest and most advanced manufacturers in the world, so we’ve heard some pretty terrible advice along the way. But old myths die hard. Bad advice may seldom be forgotten, but it’s unfortunately often repeated. Here are four horrible manufacturing “tips” we’ve heard.
1. Modern machines don’t need as much maintenance.
This may seem like obviously bad advice — everyone knows machinery needs regular maintenance no matter its age, right? But unfortunately, many manufacturers don’t carry out inspections or perform day-to-day maintenance on crucial equipment as they should. And when preventive maintenance loses its importance, breakdowns and repairs become the order of the day. Breakdowns lead to costly downtime and, sometimes, even serious injury. Manufacturers rely on their machinery and invest a lot of capital in advanced systems, so it’s important to maintain and update equipment, including seemingly low-maintenance hydraulic systems.
2. Hire in-house maintenance staff to save money.
Many managers think it costs more to outsource equipment maintenance and repair than to hire an in-house team. But, as we’ve pointed out, an in-house staff requires full-time pay, benefits, and expensive specialized training. This can cost thousands more than contracting with a service company. And when it comes to working with specialized manufacturing equipment, a jack-of-all-trades mentality can prove costly. No one wants to get stuck tackling a project that’s outside his or her skill set. Contracting with an outsourced provider gives you access to highly-trained technicians with the tools, parts, and specialization necessary to perform any task.
3. Technology upgrades are too expensive and risky.
Sure, investing in big-ticket technology upgrades can be risky, but falling behind is often costlier in the long run. Today’s manufacturers are catalysts for innovation that spreads to all walks of life. Company leaders who embrace technology often increase production quality and efficiency, reduce costs over time, and maintain a competitive edge over their peers. Many can combat the sticker shock by considering the overall return on investment upgrades provide — not just the upfront costs. Don’t let fear of change stand in the way of advancement.
4. Documentation is a thing of the past.
We may be living in a digital world, but that doesn’t mean documentation is a thing of the past. The good news is manufacturers don’t need to line their shelves with binders of hard copies. Instead, they can use digital record-keeping systems to document business functions such as processes, quality logs, and inspection reports. Even with technology’s help, documenting can be a dull and tedious job aspect. But data tracking provides a solid foundation that allows manufacturers to identify trends and steer their efforts toward a unified end goal.
Most of the bad advice we’ve heard over the years relates to company leaders looking to be more frugal with their money and time. These tips — and others like these — may sound tempting, but, unfortunately, things are never that simple. Bad advice often results in more downtime and overspending, devouring much more capital and time than cutting a few corners ever spares.