Helpful or Hype: How to Evaluate High-Tech Equipment
Every year, automakers introduce new lines. Sometimes the differences in models are minor, but every few years the cars are totally reimagined with all the latest bells and whistles. Janitorial equipment manufacturers also release souped-up versions of their machines on a regular basis.
With new products frequently flooding the crowded marketplace, buyers can feel overwhelmed. Which of the latest and greatest technology features are truly helpful and which are just hype?
Let’s Take a Look
In recent years, floor-care equipment has been upgraded with technology that promises to make cleaning more effective, efficient, or environmentally friendly.
Just a few examples include:
- Lightweight and long-lasting lithium-ion batteries that reduce labor costs.
- Onboard recycling systems that conserve water and limit waste.
- Intuitive touchscreen control panels that reduce training and errors.
- Onboard chemical metering
- Oxygenated water that reduces or eliminates chemical usage.
- Wifi-enabled reporting that allows a manager to track a machine’s usage and maintenance to boost productivity.
So when is the right time to level up fancy new features?
“When you have a specific need, the technology adequately addresses those needs, and the machine is offered at a price that fits your budget,”
says Sean Martschinke,
Marketing Manager for Tornado Industries.
“You have to take a serious look at your goals and also determine your real budget,” Martschinke says. “There are a lot of variables involved in purchasing new equipment, and you need to know that any new technology you invest in will deliver the ROI you want, whether that’s better results, higher productivity, less consumption, etc.”
Tornado uses this same three-pronged evaluation process to determine which technologies should be added to the equipment it manufactures.
“We don’t add every new technology that comes along,” “We’re careful in our evaluation of new technology,” Martschinke says. “We ask ourselves whether it’s something our customers need, whether it will actually make them more efficient,and productive, and whether it is something they can afford, and if the technology is ready.”
“We keep a very careful eyes on the trends, but you have to be careful not to end up offering new technology simply for new technology’s sake,” he continues. “Our goal is provide solutions that truly meet market needs.”
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Batteries are a perfect example of technology that meets the needs-vs.-budget criteria. When certain types of smaller battery-operated floor-care machines were first introduced, they were expensive, heavy, and often fell short on power and run times. The need was there, but the technology fell short both on features and price point.
“Over time, the technology advanced to the point where it began to makes sense on all levels,” Martschinke says. “The consumer wants it, it meets their needs, and it’s affordable. Now, batteries are having a big impact on the industry.”
When it comes to equipment shopping, Martschinke says, it’s less “buyer beware” and more “buyer be prepared.” Be clear about your needs and which features address them, and set a spending cap. Then, simply don’t buy a machine until it fits all parameters.
“Know what you want and then look for equipment that appropriately marries the best technology at the right cost,” Martschinke says. “The consumer has the power today.”
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