Key Equipment Purchase Considerations
Buy wisely to increase efficiency, manage your budget, and reduce headaches.
Besides the rollover of the calendar year, January brings with it the start of the new fiscal year for some.
It is the time of year where the budget allows for the replacement of equipment approaching the end of its useful life or for the purchase of that new machine that will increase efficiencies in your area. Besides the focus on the unit itself, along with the anticipated use of that machine, there are other considerations that must be made when procuring equipment. At the end of the day, the legwork done on the front end of your equipment purchase will pay dividends on the back end.
Here are some considerations:
1. What are the tasks that need to be completed? Is this really the best piece of equipment for completing those tasks? How often will the equipment be utilized during a 24-hour period? Do we have opportunities to share the use with other departments (and possibly share costs to acquire the equipment)?
2. That brand-new shiny copper rotisserie looks great in our show kitchen. However, will it be able to handle the volume of our high turnover operation? Will it be able to handle the wear and tear of service? How easy is it to clean at the end of service? Over the years, we have looked at many pieces of equipment that looked good on paper. Once they were put into service, the equipment quickly lost its luster.
3. What brands have we used on property? Have these brands “earned” the right to be kept on property?
4. Have we considered the impact to other departments on property (i.e., the facilities team having the knowledge to upkeep the units, the ease of cleaning for the stewarding team, etc.).
5. Considerations about the equipment itself: What is the ordering lead time on the unit? How readily available are replacement parts? Can the unit be serviced in place or does it need to be relocated to be worked on? Does our team have the skill set to work on this equipment (i.e., working on the car engine of a 1970s LeMans and a 2018 Tesla are two entirely different endeavors)? What type of warranties or guarantees does the unit have? If the unit is under warranty, what is the service lead time? If we are choosing a new brand, does our facilities team now have to start an entirely new inventory of replacement parts? Will our intended home for the equipment be able to handle the weight or electrical requirements for the unit (maybe older facilities would require extensive rewiring for the new unit)?
6. Considerations about your investment in the equipment: What is the anticipated life of the unit? Does this unit provide your organization with any type of credits (such as energy savings credits)? Will this unit become obsolete due to new technology? Are there any plans to change the menu and/or facility prior to the end of this unit’s useful life? What is the disposition plan for the unit? Have we staggered our large equipment purchases where multiple units will not need to be replaced during the same fiscal year?
These are just some of the considerations when purchasing equipment. Addressing these points now will result in better allocated funding, more efficient operation, happier employees, and fewer of those sour antacid pills necessitated by the stresses of hospitality life.
Until next time…