From the Publisher October 2020

July 27th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Machinery: What’s Changed and What’s Still Key

COVID-19 certainly has changed our industry, and one of the ways it has done this is in the area of machinery. You already know this if you read the article by [DWM] editor Drew Vass in the September issue on page 32. The article talked about machinery, software and automation, and how it all works together. One of the most interesting things about that report was the discussion of how employees now want to log-in remotely to access equipment, see it in action, and more. So one could argue that in today’s world, not every plant worker has to be in the plant.

This point was reiterated in an educational session I attended in mid-September during GlassCon Global VE-Glass Expo VE. The advice given during the live panel discussion, “You’re Purchasing New Equipment – What to Know Before You Buy,” was invaluable for those looking to buy machinery, and although it was targeted to glass fabricators, there were absolutely important takeaways for door and window companies as well.

It appears that timing is everything and Mike Rosato, western region machine sales director for Salem Flat Glass & Mirror, said now is the time to move toward automation as more people are working from home, even those in the plant. “It is very important to look at this now so you don’t have to rely on an employee coming in,” Rosato said. “When fabricators can’t produce what happens—you have unhappy customers and they jump to competitors.” He did stress, however, that it doesn’t necessarily mean fewer employees but rather redistribution of tasks.

In addition to the automation discussion, the panelists had so much good advice about buying machinery that it was too important not to share—again it applies to door and window equipment as well.

When John Dwyer, president, Syracuse Glass Co., went through his purchasing process I couldn’t take notes fast enough.

“It’s good to ‘overbuy’ a little bit,” he said, also stressing the importance of seeing the product in action before signing. Dwyer was full of great advice, including getting good references.

“I have met a lot of great people and I love to be able to pick up the phone and ask, ‘Honestly, what is your experience with this: Can we come see it at your plant?’”

Lastly, Dwyer has a spreadsheet which looks at several factors more than price, such as parts and service experience, ease of use and ability to upgrade.

“I have the different suppliers on my spreadsheet and I share that with them and a lot of times that elicits a lot of great discussion,” he added.

I encourage you to keep all this in mind the next time you begin the process of purchasing a new piece of equipment. And if you want to learn more on the topic of machinery, see the article on page 16 of this issue: “Speaking the Language: Amid COVID-19, Machinery Makers Market to Automation and Social Distancing.”

Finally, don’t miss his story on page 28 to learn the ways in which COVID has changed views about workplace safety. That’s a sign of a nimble industry.

Tara Taffera is the publisher of [DWM] magazine.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

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