If you are like most decision-makers regarding your plant improvement needs, your thoughts should start with those words. What are your pain points? Can we stretch resources through the busy time in order to better weather the slim times? Why do we need it? Is there another way, a better way? Should we hire that extra help? Can we run more shifts? Can increased capacity reduce our hours and workload? Will the equipment make it through the season? What if it breaks down at our most critical time? Can we fix it up to limp through? Can we do it ourselves? Can it be installed on time? Is there a safety issue? Does new equipment have features and benefits that fix a current problem? Will it bring new business? Do we need to completely re-engineer the facility to make it fit?

Do we have to borrow, or can we do it with cash flow? What is the payback, and how long does it take? The bank is always there to ask if you need to borrow more money. I personally am kind of debt-averse and founded my business with grandma and grandpa’s philosophy that if you don’t have the money, you can’t afford it. I said “kind of averse” because I’ve since borrowed regularly, it can preserve cash flow.

My company has to make spending decisions the same as yours. My thoughts lean towards Creativity before Capital. Will you stick to the status quo because it is easier or less expensive, or will you accept the expense and challenge of going forward? Explore the options. Ignoring a problem is a little like turning up the radio to drown out the engine knock.

Engage a trusted and reliable resource that has the expertise and knowledge to help you do the right thing. There can be comfort in learning the success stories of others. Make the decision, celebrate the win of the battle over whatever was between you and the right decision. The decision is off your plate and off your worry list. Oh, and don’t forget to make the payments. The bank wants their money back.

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