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Repurposing equipment; cutting costs

With the instability of today's economy, many companies are looking to cut costs in whatever way they can. One way that some manufacturing plants have chosen to do so is through repurposing equipment.

What is repurposing?
In a nutshell, repurposing consists of taking an existing process or piece of equipment and using it for something other than what it was originally intended to do. Repurposing can also mean improving upon or making upgrades to an existing machine or piece of equipment, so it runs faster or better without having to spend the money on a new machine.

In manufacturing, this is particularly important. New technology and new machines with better, faster, and more expensive parts and pieces of equipment would be nice to have, but can't always be afforded, especially in a recession. And with the fast rate at which technology changes, it is expensive to keep up with equipment that is continually evolving. So, instead, we turn to repurposing.

How does repurposing cut costs?
Repurposing can cut your overall costs in a number of ways. Some of these include:

  • Eliminates the need to purchase all new equipment. Instead, you are making improvements on the ones you already have.

  • Cuts down on upgrade costs. Some equipment is constantly coming out with upgraded versions or better technology. Repurposing makes it so you don't have to spend as much on these.

  • Allows you to save money. By spending less money on new equipment, you can save money for other day to day operations, particularly useful if you find the economy has taken a toll on your business.

How is repurposing used?
Repurposing can be used in a number of ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Let's say you have a mold in your manufacturing plant that outputs 500 pieces each day, but your demand for the product that requires the mold has drastically increased, making 500 a day insufficient for your plant's needs. You could go out and spend thousands of dollars on new equipment, or you could repurpose your existing machine to output 800 pieces per day. For now, this is an excellent solution for a manufacturing plant that is looking to save money and cut costs.
  • Perhaps your business has found that it is necessary to increase printing production; your current machines are not as fast or outputting as much as you need them to in order to keep up with demand. So, rather than purchase all new printing equipment, you repurpose your existing machines to print more, making it enough for you to keep up with demand.

Successful repurposing
Repurposing is successful when organizations work together to come up with ideas and notions that can help their company cut costs. This is where many different types of improvement processes come into play. Six sigma has been very useful for many organizations who are looking to improve their existing processes, as it teaches organizations ways to improve on already-existing components of an organization. Many successful companies have come up with ideas to repurpose a variety of equipment through their six sigma efforts and brainstorming.

When it comes to running a manufacturing business, cutting costs and eliminating waste is necessary to keep your business profitable and up and running. Repurposing is an excellent way for you to cut costs. It allows you to take existing equipment and, rather than purchase brand new, upgrade it so it meets your needs.

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