Milking cash cows and sweating assets

By: European Automation  29/07/2013
Keywords: automation, process control, Industrial Process Control

All industrial automation equipment experiences a life cycle, some of which may last for many years. This is very different to, for arguments sake, IT equipment which typically has a life cycle of two or three years. Or in, the case of mobiles phones for example, less than a year.

Whereas in the past, machinery wear and tear dictated the life cycle of industrial automation equipment, today it is not uncommon for equipment that is perfectly operationally functional to be scrapped when a new production line is commissioned.

Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and human machine interfaces (HMIs) for example will operate reliably long beyond their manufacturer warranty periods. However, when a new production line comes in to turn out the latest must-have products, this kind of product is often thrown out along with the rest of the line - because they can be too expensive to reprogram and retrofit.

Economic confidence must presage the introduction of a new production line of course, because without it manufacturers will continue to sweat assets, something we have alluded to in previous blogs. When churning out mature products, the problem for manufacturers is decreasing prices and diminishing market share.

With new competition crowding into a market, ‘cash cows’ inevitably turn into ‘dogs’. Cost cutting is one thing but avoiding investment in new manufacturing equipment and methods risks a company’s long-term viability.

Now what happens when a cash cow stops producing its milk? Cash cow milk is by definition a highly profitable product that feeds growth into other parts of a business, so when its production stops, it needs fixing quickly.

This is where European Automation steps in with its guaranteed 48-hour delivery for equipment that may no longer be available from the manufacturer or difficult to source.

Our dedicated parts specialists can use our huge base of industry suppliers and dedicated warehouse facilities to track this equipment down, and supply any part to any country at anytime. We know when parts are being made obsolete and often get them into stock in advance.

This doesn’t mean we don’t supply new parts: we have global partnership arrangements with many leading manufacturers and suppliers and are therefore able to offer a wide range of new equipment at very competitive prices.

It does mean we are able to help guide you through the product lifecycle of an industrial component though. And we can make that lifecycle substantially longer than the one you can expect from your latest mobile phone!

Keywords: automation, factory automation, Industrial automation, Industrial Process Control, Industrial Process Control Equipment, process control

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