Monday, January 19, 2015

5 Questions About Machine Foundations That Can Save Purchasing Managers Time & Money When Vetting Contractors & Sourcing Bids

Over the last 30 years we’ve seen a lot of changes in how parts manufacturers, metal stampers, metal forgers and other industrial companies and production facilities get bids for machine foundations and other construction jobs.

There was a time when the person we most often worked with was the operations or plant manager who knew quite a bit about what would be needed when installing a new machine foundation. Because he worked in the plant and knew the operations intimately he could ensure they got the most complete and accurate bids from vendors.

What we see today, more and more, are finance officers and purchasing managers handling the whole bidding process. They know the basics of what is needed and have a budget but don’t usually have nearly the level of operations knowledge they could have.

On the surface this may not seem like a big change, but in practice it can result in time and cost overruns or unnecessary delays in furnishing complete bids. There’s nothing worse than getting what you think is a “low” bid that didn’t include all the work that would be needed because the right questions weren’t asked or known.

We’ve found that to provide you with an accurate and competitive bid we need to help you understand your exact machine foundation installation needs.

It’s not just purchasing that needs to know these answers

Even if you’re the plant manager, the truth is, you’re not in the machine foundation installation business and don’t know all the construction requirements needed on every job you need done. You just know you want it done right and done fast.

Every job is different, every plant has its own constraints and as we say, installing a machine foundation “Isn’t just digging and pouring.”

That’s the reason for this article.

We know if we help you ask the right questions when requesting proposals or quotes we can give you a bid and timeline that gets your job done on time and on budget.

No matter if you’re in purchasing, finance, operations or engineering knowing the answers to these questions will go a long way in getting the right bid, the right vendor and the right job done.

Machine Foundation Installation Checklist Question #1:

What type of equipment are you installing?

  • A new stamping press?
  • A Milling or Boring Machine?
  • A Measuring Machine?

Machine Foundation Installation Checklist Question #2:

What type of application will the equipment be utilized for?

  • Stamping
    • Try-out press?
    • Heavy Stamping?
    • Production Stamping?
    • Forging?
  • Machining
    • Low Tolerance Fine Milling?
    • Rough Milling?

 Machine Foundation Installation Checklist Question #3:

Where will the equipment be located within your facility?

  • Will you have proper clearances to accommodate the equipment?
  • Will existing building column footings interfere with new install?
  • Will there be enough power and utilities in place to operate the new equipment?
  • How will you bring new utilities to the equipment?
    • Overhead?
    • Floor trenching with cover plates?
    • Underground conduit?

Machine Foundation Installation Checklist Question #4:

Do you have manufacturer drawings of the new equipment?

  • General assembly drawing
  • Recommended foundation drawing
  • Associated equipment drawings

Machine Foundation Installation Checklist Question #5:

Will a whole new foundation be required?

  • Can the new machine sit on top of the floor slab itself?
  • Will a simple thickened slab be sufficient?
  • Will a recessed pit foundation be needed?
  • Will there be material scrap that needs to be handled?
    • Can scrap be handled at floor level in hoppers? or
    • Will an underground conveyor system be needed?
These are just a few of dozens of questions we ask ourselves before we put together any proposal. They’re questions that if you know the answers can save you wasted time and money.

Some of them may seem obvious or like it shouldn’t matter for a simple job like a thickened slab, but the truth is not asking the obvious questions can cost time and money on even the “easiest” construction jobs.

Hopefully there are a few things you’d not thought about and will ask yourself before your next machine foundation installation.  We’re pretty confident that by knowing the answers your next RFP process will be that much smoother and accurate.

Ready to install a new machine foundation?

Our engineering team will help you ask all the right questions and work directly with the equipment manufacturer and your company to design and construct a foundation specifically tailored to your plant and the new equipment. You can always ask our engineering team a question about press pits or machine foundations or request a proposal for an upcoming construction job you’ve got planned.  Or feel free to call us at 586.598.3725.