Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Looking for something cheap?

Another phrase which crops up time and time again when we get enquiries is, "I'm just looking for something cheap." I often wonder if that's how they start the conversation when they buy everything - a forklift or a new truck perhaps?

Generally we explain to these people, as nicely as we can, that they already have the cheapest system available - they just need to walk round the truck or van, kick the tyres and guess. A 'weighing system' doesn't get much cheaper than that.

Quite often these same people have previously bought something cheap and then been astonished to find that it doesn't actually do the job. Or falls apart after a short while. Or the supplier seems to vanish without trace. Buying something cheap is rarely a good idea and a saying we've heard many times over the years is "buy cheap and you buy twice."
Tyre being kicked
Kicking the tyres will be much cheaper than any axle weigher.

Only this week I spoke to someone who "just wants a light to come on" when the front axle is overloaded. But what would make the light come on? And how would you calibrate it? Or know that it was right? Or by how much it might be out? Just making a light come on in response to an overload is not as simple as it sounds.

Other people are just trying to pull the wool over the eyes of VOSA, usually if they've just been caught overloaded. Quite often they will appear before the magistrate claiming they've spent a fortune stopping overloading when in fact they've spent the least amount of money possible hoping the problem will go away. We walk away from these sorts of enquiry.

I've got little knowledge of any other industry but I know that axle weighing is more complex than it appears. And I've seen quite a number of companies enter the field, some of them in a blaze of glory, only for them to disappear a few short months later when they realise their idea to make a few quid wasn't quite as simple as they thought.

For instance, the last time I looked our OnBoard Indicators had to deal with 91 different possible axle configurations. And as the last time I looked was about five years ago, the number will have increased since then. Nobody will be able to produce a system capable of doing that on the cheap.

We all work in a competitive market and sell our products as cheaply as we can. If it was possible to produce something cheaper that would do the job then we would. But to produce something that actually works, will stay working and to have a service operation behind it if something goes wrong can't be done on the cheap.

Often buying cheap mean buying the wrong machine for the job as well. Systems range in price from £1,000.00 to over £20,000.00 and there's a reason for such a wide range so getting the right advice on what you need for the job is crucial.

A buyer I know in another industry used to have a sign on his office wall. It read,

"If you want good clean oats, you'll pay a fair price. If you're happy to accept oats that have already passed through the horse, then they come a lot cheaper."

Glad to see it isn't just our industry where people look to buy cheap.

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