You just got word that your capital expense budget has been approved. Yahoo! All those countless hours of gathering information, editing and re-editing, cutting and trimming has led to this moment. Now you can spend some money.
Allocating capital expense money towards lift equipment can be a daunting task. You must ask yourself, what piece of equipment will best handle my warehouse needs? Will it be productive? Will it work in my warehouse environment? Will it be cost effective? These questions are very important and choosing the proper forklift from the right company can make all the difference in the world.
The best way to determine what’s right for you and your company is by having the product demonstrated at your facility. A “test drive” if you will. This allows you to see the equipment in action and gauge how it will assist and add value to your operation.
There are a few key points to be aware of when you have a demonstration at your facility. The first and one of the most important decisions is choosing a material handling company to perform the demonstration. Remember, when you are purchasing from a company, you are not only purchasing the equipment, but more importantly, you are selecting a business partner. Service and aftermarket support from the material handling provider are vital aspects of the purchase. Anyone can sell you equipment but how they stand behind it is priceless. Research that company and ask questions regarding their response time, warranty coverage, first time completion ratio, parts support and, most importantly, do you want them as a long-term partner.
Secondly, engage with the sales representative as they walk you through the equipment. If the rep simply has the equipment dropped off and says, “I’ll follow up in a couple of days”, then their product and the company is not right for you. The rep should spend time explaining each feature of the equipment and point out how those features can positively impact your business. Remember to ask yourself, “how will this equipment make my job easier and bring value to my company’s operation?”
Lastly, once the demonstration is complete and the equipment is left for you and your employees to try, make sure that they indeed use the equipment and don’t park it off to the side. Some employees are resistant to change, particularly if they have been using something different for many years. Their feedback is extremely important to make an informed decision, so the more they use it the better. Constructive feedback along with the equipment’s features, track record, price, and supplier’s history all weigh in on the final decision. At the end of the day, the sales rep should be in frequent contact with you. Their follow up to your questions and employee feedback is important in the overall demonstration.
I know that having the responsibility to make the right decision with capital expense money can be stressful. That’s okay- just focus on what’s important to you and your operation and you’ll do fine. Remember, anyone can sell you equipment. But it’s the quality of the equipment, its benefits and the company behind it that are critical. Ask questions and get feedback to help alleviate the pressure. And look on the bright side…your capital expense budget was approved!