Anyone with a PC will be familiar with the term ‘upgrade’. It seems like there’s a new version of Windows almost every year, and unless we do constantly upgrade our computers it’s likely their operating systems will rapidly become inadequate to the demands of new software and hardware.
To remain competitive, businesses need to upgrade everything from their computer setups to their motor vehicles. There are ways to approach upgrading that will help keep costs down and increase the value received.
Compare new vs. used
Before committing to a purchase, be sure to compare the costs of new against used items. It’s usually not a good idea to buy second hand high tech items like computers and photocopiers unless you’re sure they’re suitable for your requirements and you get an ironclad guarantee. Even then, the pace of change means you’re probably buying something that’s already outdated.
For items that aren’t as affected by technological developments, like office furniture and delivery vehicles, something that’s ‘pre-loved’ means that someone else has taken the hit of depreciation and that’s what you’ll be saving.
Upgrade to meet a need
Upgrade only if you’re certain you have a need for it. This means looking carefully at what you want to achieve and ascertaining that upgrading is really the best way to go. An example of this would be when a factory gets an order for a production run that will require extra capacity for two or three months. Rather than invest in the machinery to meet the extra demand, the best way to cope with the situation could be to subcontract out a portion of the work.
Don’t upgrade for the short term
Upgrades should do more than just bring you up-to-date; they should place you in a better position for the future. Study the options for upgrading and be sure to consider which ones won’t be quickly outdated by advances in technology or changes to the marketplace you service. It’s not good value to upgrade ‘on the cheap’ if it only means you’ll have to upgrade again in the near future.
Look for offsets when you upgrade
Do a comprehensive cost benefit analysis of every upgrade being considered. Acquiring new technology should quantifiably improve productivity or lead to greater sales. Adopt a strategy of spending money only to reduce costs or to increase revenues and make that part of every upgrading consideration.
People can be upgraded too
Sometimes the acquisition of upgraded equipment also requires upgrading the skills of your employees. The costs of this should be taken into account when calculating the total costs of upgrading. It’s also worthwhile to consider regularly upgrading your team members’ skills to keep them current and to develop any potential they may have for future utilisation.
Promote your upgrades
Your current customers will certainly appreciate being advised of any upgrades you make, and it can help to justify future price increases. Upgrading is also a good ‘hook’ to promote your business to prospective customers - having the latest equipment has positive connotations about your technological awareness and willingness to invest to achieve high quality output.