It's easy to talk about how stretch wrappers work and to read brochures or watch videos. But when you're at a trade show and trying to evaluate stretch wrappers for your business, now is the time to see them in action. Of course, if you've seen one machine, you know how they operate. And the marketing or sales person can tell you all about the improved productivity, the savings, and the improved safety.
A trade show is also a good time to talk to your sales professionals about some of the nitty-gritty details about stretch wrapping machines. These are the three questions you should ask:
1. How often should I service the machine?
Just like a fork truck or forklift, a stretch wrapper's service should be based on hours of use, rather than a date on the calendar. A stretch wrapper that operates two hours a day will need service less frequently than one that runs eight hours a day. Getting service every three months for the two-hour machine could be too frequent, while waiting six months for the eight-hour machine could be too long.
You also want to ask how easy is it to service the machine with your staff. Is it a complicated process that requires technicians to manage every service call, or can you handle some of the preventative maintenance yourself? Can they provide operator and tech training to perform your own basic service? Does your stretch wrapper need preventative maintenance?
Most importantly, how long can the machine run between service visits? The longer a machine can operate, the better. It means less down time and lost productivity.
2. How long does it take to get a technician to my plant?
A broken stretch wrapper is not the same as a broken engine on a truck. There are plenty of garages and mechanics around town that you can easily get help within a few hours. But a stretch wrapper is a specialized piece of equipment. Your supplier either needs to be able to send a technician from headquarters, or they need an area dealer who can fix your problem. A larger company will have company technicians who can help you out, whether it's over the phone or onsite, including during emergencies.
Make sure your stretch wrapper supplier can provide you with information, training, and service on machine operations, operator training, installing upgrades, preventative maintenance, and even machine optimization.
3. How long has the company been in business?
Longevity is a good sign of stability. It means a few important things:
- They know what they're doing, which means past customers are probably satisfied.
- They have a lot of experience wrapping different kinds of loads.
- They know a lot about different types of applications and can probably help you improve your operation.
- If they've been around for a while, they expect their machines to also be around a while.
- They've amassed a lot of industry knowledge, which they can put to use for you.
When you visit your next trade show, take several minutes and ask some of the important detail questions to make sure your next stretch wrapper purchase is the best possible one you can make.
Going to Pack Expo International 2013 in Las Vegas? Stop by our booth C-1314 and say hello. We'll be showcasing our stretch wrappers, case erectors, and shrink tunnels.
Looking for other ways to improve? Check out our 10-Step Process for Damage Reduction Through More Effective Stretch Wrapping. Our process will show you:
- How to reduce your shipping damage by 50%!
- The key elements of a stretch wrapping standard!
- How to manage containment force - stretch wrapping's most critical component!
Click here to read a related blog: How to Plan To Attend a Trade Show
This post was published on September 4, 2013 and updated on September 13, 2017.