The hidden costs of “cheap” Conveyor Systems

Apr 10, 2024

A warning to eCommerce, 3PL, factories, and warehousing companies

 We understand that installing a new automation and conveyor system is a huge investment and one that should not be taken lightly. The decision to partner with an Integrator or supplier of equipment is one that is so important to get right. It is impossible to get away though from the fact that cost is one of the key factors that needs to be considered when installing a new system. However, it is important to not to make it the only determining factor when choosing your integrator.

For eCommerce, 3PL (Third Party Logistics) providers, factories, and warehousing companies, conveyor systems play a crucial role in streamlining operations. However, the allure of cost-saving measures often leads some businesses to opt for the cheaper option for their conveyor systems without fully considering the long-term consequences. In this blog, we delve into the true cost of purchasing cheap conveyor systems and the potential pitfalls that can arise.

Conveyor system and racking

A system bespoke to your requirements

Firstly, one of the most important factors to consider is the design element to your system and to make sure you are working with an integrator who understands the precise requirements and challenges your business needs to address. A good integrator will work closely with you to understand your business and where improvements can be made with specific processes that you currently use and how automation can help. They will create a design that is bespoke he unique to your situation rather than an ‘off the shelf’ approach taken by integrators looking to reduce costs and their design time. By taking the time to design a dedicated system it will reduce the need for additions or modifications later in the design process, which will ensure you have full sight of the actual costs before committing to the design. Quite often those offering a cheaper solution will add on those initially hidden costs when you are already in the design / install phase of development. It is vital that your integrator is transparent in their costs and what is included in the design and just as importantly what is not included.

It is possible to reduce initial costs by looking at a phased approach to the design and again a good integrator can design your system with growth and future proofing your automation system.

 

Reliability: A critical factor

One of the most significant drawbacks of cheap conveyor systems can be their reliability—or lack thereof. While they may seem like a bargain initially, these systems often fall short in terms of durability and performance something which is a key factor in the success of the system and ultimately helping you keep your operations up and running and ensuring you continue to deliver on your promises to your customers.

With an unreliable systems breakdowns and disruptions become all too common, grinding operations to a halt and causing costly delays. In the fast-paced world of logistics, every minute counts, and downtime can translate into lost revenue and damaged reputations.

 

Costly disruptions: Counting the true expense

When a conveyor system breaks down, the financial impact goes beyond just repair costs or replacement of equipment. It is important to consider the effect on your productivity, employee morale, and customer satisfaction. Workers idle as they wait for repairs, orders pile up, and deadlines are missed. In the world of e-commerce, where customer expectations for speedy delivery are sky-high, even minor disruptions can have major consequences. Suddenly, that initial cost-saving measure does not seem so cost-effective after all.

 

Safety concerns: A risk not worth taking

Beyond the financial implications, cheaper conveyor systems that are not manufactured to the latest UK/EU regulations can pose significant safety risks. Inferior materials, poor designs and construction compromises structural integrity, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries. A single safety incident can result in legal liabilities, hefty fines, and irreparable damage to your company’s reputation. Investing in a reliable, high-quality conveyor system is not just about protecting your bottom line—it is about safeguarding the well-being of your employees and stakeholders. Make sure you ask your integrator about their suppliers and their relationships with them. 

Repairing roller on conveyor

Safety concerns: A risk not worth taking

Beyond the financial implications, cheaper conveyor systems that are not manufactured to the latest UK/EU regulations can pose significant safety risks. Inferior materials, poor designs and construction compromises structural integrity, increasing the likelihood of accidents and injuries. A single safety incident can result in legal liabilities, hefty fines, and irreparable damage to your company’s reputation. Investing in a reliable, high-quality conveyor system is not just about protecting your bottom line—it is about safeguarding the well-being of your employees and stakeholders. Make sure you ask your integrator about their suppliers and their relationships with them.

 

The true cost of replacement

Perhaps the most sobering reality of purchasing a cheap conveyor system is the inevitable need for premature replacement. While the upfront savings may seem enticing, these systems often lack the longevity of their higher-quality counterparts. As breakdowns become more frequent and repairs more costly, the prospect of investing in a new system becomes unavoidable. Suddenly, you find yourself faced with the daunting task of designing and installing a replacement—a process that comes with its own set of expenses and logistical challenges. Keeping spare parts is essential with any system bur more significantly more challenging with some of the lower cost imported hardware. It is equally important to have a team of expert engineers with the knowledge of how to fit them and maintain the system. Having a team local to your premises is also a huge benefit as repairs can be made quickly, minimising disruption or downtime.

 

Investing in quality: The smart choice

In an industry where reliability, efficiency, and safety are non-negotiable, cutting corners is simply not an option. While cheap conveyor systems may offer short-term savings, the long-term costs can far outweigh any initial benefits. By investing in a quality conveyor system from the outset, you can avoid costly disruptions, safeguard your employees, and protect your company’s reputation. Remember, when it comes to conveyor systems, the true cost of cheap is anything but cheap. It is also essential that you ensure that the system is compliant with UK regulations, making sure it has the appropriate UK certification, features CE/UKCA marking, is accompanied by the up-to-date and correct documentation, and includes manuals/control panels in English.

Two Sparck CVP Impack machines at CEF

Choose quality, choose reliability, choose the right integrator

 In the competitive world of logistics, every decision matters. When it comes to conveyor systems, the choice between cheap and quality is clear. Do not let the allure of upfront savings blind you to the hidden costs that cheap conveyor systems entail. Invest in reliability, invest in safety, and invest in the long-term success of your business. Review all the financial options that are available to you and can make purchasing conveyor systems more manageable. For example, asset financing can be option to allow you to spread the cost of your purchase over a period of time. Find out more here https://bit.ly/4cmuaXz

 

Choose Conveyor Systems Ltd for  durable, high-performance solutions that are specific to your needs and keep your operations running smoothly, efficiently, and safely.

 For more information on our solutions or to find out how CSL can help you visit: https://bit.ly/3TA9Jhc

 Conveyor Systems Ltd have a wealth of experience in designing systems with automated sortation and can offer advice on what systems you may need to improve operational efficiencies. For more information contact CSL on:  sales@conveyorsystemsltd.co.uk or call us on 01283 55 22 55.

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