Home' Australian Printer Magazine : February 2014 Contents Australian Printer - February 2014 47
WIDE FORMAT: TECHNOLOGY
be as simple as a rental agreement
expiring, high operating costs or
perhaps something more signifcant
like a move into a new market
or wanting to fulfl a customer’s
requirement. There are many
possible reasons but you need
to understand which ones are
applicable to your circumstances.
Work out what is essential, what is
desirable and what is not required
in any new product, fnance or
maintenance agreement. These
will become your initial purchasing
Lack of consultation
THERE is a wealth of information
available, most of it free, so why do
people fail to take advantage of it?
The best sources of information
are your friendly peers, trade shows,
staff, suppliers' sales executives
and trade magazines like this one.
When you are considering upgrading
equipment or expanding into new
markets these are your go-to places.
Friendly peers can give you the
beneft of their experiences – the
good, the bad and the ugly. A tip --
ask them the three things they like
most about a system, then ask them
the three things they would change.
Trade shows are a great
opportunity to see a wide range
of equipment in the one place but
you need to work out the context in
which you attend. Are you seeking
basic information, evaluating
options or looking to confrm a
preferred purchasing decision? Your
staff typically have experience from
other businesses and suppliers that
they can share with you.
Suppliers' sales executives can
make you aware of new trends
and products, and what may be
applicable to your business. Let
them know where you are in your
purchasing cycle and they will
happily demonstrate systems,
multiple times if necessary. Yes,
they can be annoying with follow up
phone calls but the good ones will be
happy to set up rules around contact
frequency. Good consultation will
help you refne your purchasing
guidelines and once established you
should try not to stray outside them.
YOU are not buying a box; you are
buying a solution made up of drivers,
software utilities, ser vice and
support as well.
Focus on all of them to see
how they could combine and work
together to meet your guidelines and
deliver value to your business. If you
just focus on the box then you may
end up with a really well specifed
device that offers little productivity.
Failure to probe
SALES people regurgitate features,
advantages and benefts and try to
link the things their system does
well to your business requirements.
"Can it do X? -- Yes," is not good
enough. As a purchaser, you need to
probe how a particular system will
work in your environment.
Think of each of your
requirements as an onion: it has lots
of layers. Your questions should peel
back the layers one by one as you
drill down into the detail of exactly
how the system could deliver what
Lack of services
MANY people undervalue services
like installation, networking and
training -- they are crucial to you
realising value from your new
investment from day one. Likewise
make sure you understand the
services included in any proposal.
Square peg in a round hole
ONLY consider equipment that is
appropriate for the purpose.
Sure, you can run 120 gsm stock
through a machine rated to 100 gsm
but it is not ideal. Yes, you can putt
with a three wood but a putter is a
At the risk of stating the obvious
do not consider equipment with
capabilities or capacity outside your
requirements. Square peg; square
You don't know what
you've lost 'til it's gone
IF you are replacing a system, do you
understand what capabilities you
The Océ 9400 was a popular LED
wide format system released in the
late 1990s. One of its advantages
was instant warm-up, no waiting.
Some owners upgraded their 9400s
to different brands for a variety of
reasons but failed to realise that
these other systems took up to nine
minutes to warm up.
They rightly focused on what the
new systems could provide but failed
to realise what functionality they
would lose by moving from their old
Paralysis by analysis
IF you have done your homework
then make your decision. There are
Don't do it;
Think about it some more
Option three is rarely a good one
and smart purchasing guidelines
will help avoid it. Procrastination is
never a winning strategy.
What are you getting into?
WHEN the contract is put in front
of you and the pen hovers above
the dotted line, failing to fully
understand what you are getting, or
getting into, can end in tears.
Do you have the expertise or
competent advice to understand
the equipment specifcations,
maintenance, fnance, operating
costs and the consequential changes
to your business?
Have you consulted your staff
and other stakeholders to see if they
agree? No, it's not a democracy but
any equipment decision will have an
impact on them and they should, if
only out of courtesy, be consulted.
KNOWING the common mistakes that buyers
make can really help when you look at new
capital expenditure. Take a proactive attitude and
prepare to invest time and e ort into the process.
Some simple steps include:
• Don't play secret squirrel -- consult widely and be
as open as possible
• Recognise your capabilities and engage sta or
outside help when appropriate
• Ask questions to drill down into speci c topics
to ensure you fully understand their relevance, or
lack of, to your purchasing guidelines
• Remember that the amount of e ort that goes
into evaluating and purchasing equipment needs
to be considered relative to the level of investment
and its importance to the business
Some golden rules
Links Archive December 2013 March 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page