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In order to start or grow a business, some regions of the world find it necessary to import raw materials and/or machinery to establish or expand a functioning enterprise. When dealing with a foreign supplier there are differences in time, language and culture. For example, if you live in South America and need a piece of equipment from North America, you need to determine the best time of day to contact the supplier and if they have someone that speaks your language.
Multilingualism can often be an underrated skill in the workplace because we often don’t realize how difficult language barriers can make business transactions. Emails can only express what is written and can be a source of misinterpretation. Even the best translation tools can produce translations that don’t fully express what you intend to say. Sometimes the best way to get your message across is to pick up the phone and talk to the supplier directly. Not only will this help clarify any questions the two parties have regarding a certain transaction, but also makes the transaction more personal. The salesperson will be more likely to remember you and you will feel more comfortable contacting them in the future for spare parts, service and additional equipment or raw material needs.
Many exporting providers today realize the importance of having a multilingual staff. It is a win-win situation for both the seller and buyer and leads to a more seamless and comfortable business environment. As a buyer communicating with a foreign supplier, you should check right away to see if the company has someone that speaks your language. The receptionist might not understand you, but your region’s representative will most likely speak your language. If not, calling with an interpreter is always a good option. At Insta-Pro Intl, between the office staff and regional sales team, we speak English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Russian, German, Italian, Arabic, Tagalog, Meru, Swahili and Igala. We also have individuals located in other regions with independent representative support for local languages.
Do not be afraid to pick up the phone and call your supplier, regardless where they are located or what language they speak. The benefits of a back and forth conversation to clarify any doubts greatly outweigh the fear of not understanding or not being understood by the initial contact of the supplier. After the first time, it only becomes easier and you will be on your way to a better relationship with your supplier, which will only help your business grow.
Housekeeping is valuable for many reasons.
• It is much easier to repair clean equipment
• A dirty machine has to be cleaned prior to working on it or at least before it is put back together
• You may be able to notice certain problems, like oil leaks, quicker on a clean machine
• A dirty motor runs at a hotter temperature
• Every part retains heat when dirty
I could go on but the point is all of the reasons listed above cost money. Money that could be saved by keeping the plant clean while it is running. We all get behind or distracted by other responsibilities but the fact of the matter is if you do not clean your equipment, something will brake. It will therefore take longer than necessary to repair it due to the fact that the machine will need to be cleaned first.
The first step in keeping a clean environment, is to have the proper steam exhaust system enigneered in your plants. A good vendor can help you with this solution. At Insta-Pro Intl, the engineering team have various solutions given the size and needs of the customers. However, this is not enough. A regularly scheduled cleaning program is required.
Plants that are cleaned daily tend to have a lower overhead and lower capital expenditures. For example motors run at a cooler temperature extending motor life and operators can detect oil leaks sooner minimizing equipment failures. Extruders produce heat and product builds up inside the barrel. This buildup causes the motors to work harder and makes it more difficult to maintain the equipment. Clean barrels are easier and quicker to remove than barrels with extreme build up on them. If you have to clean a clamp bolt just so the wrench will fit on it, you have a problem. If you get dirty every time you touch any surface in you plant, you have a problem.
There is no reason that someone should get filthy just because they brush up against a surface in the plant. It only takes a few minutes per shift to run a rag over the top of the extruders or to blow off a dusty motor. Take a few minutes and implement a cleaning program your operator is responsible for. Hold them accountable and see how much difference it makes in your equipment performance and the appearance of your facility over the next six months. For more advice on how to better maintain your equipment, you can email me or call my office at +184.108.40.2067.