Capital cost of process equipment is one of many factors influencing the return on investment of processing facilities. Some may be interested in reducing capital cost by sourcing equipment in developing countries, where the cost may be drastically lower than in the US, Canada, the EU and Japan. However, there is increased risk in the areas of performance, efficiency and downtime. To both save money and have a successful installation that matches the expectations of developed-world standards takes some knowledge and a willingness to spend some time and money vetting the supplier as well as additional surveillance on the supplier. Some key knowledge areas include:
- Sufficient product knowledge to ascertain whether the supplier’s products will meet performance and reliability expectations
- Knowledge of the differences in standards between the user’s country and the manufacturer’s country. For example, different alloys and bearings may be used
- Knowledge of QC procedures needed to achieve a reliable product that meets specs.
- Knowledge of cultural differences in how to resolve issues.
- Knowledge of what product modifications are needed to meet standards
Specific actions that take time and money but are necessary for a successful installation include:
- Full vetting of the suppliers QC procedures, design standards and customer references. It is not enough to have an ISO 9000 certification
- Willingness to make several trips before the order, after the order and during manufacturing to assure the product is being built as planned
- Hiring an interpreter that has sufficient technical product knowledge to assure that the supplier addresses all of the client needs
At Lee Enterprises Consulting, we have a number of highly qualified experts available to assist you with any related matters. Feel free to call or email us for more information.