The question of how much “high tech” is really needed in a situation can be difficult to answer. As Thom mentions in his article, “new-to-you equipment” may meet your needs after it has stopped being enough for someone else’s plant. To make the right decisions, you should consider the question from more than one perspective.
Considering What You Can Achieve
Do you ever watch sci-fi movies from only a few years (okay, a few decades) ago and think—hey, those are some sad computers on that spaceship! Seriously, watch a classic movie like Aliens. Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, it has excellent special effects, witty dialogue…and computer screens that show the height of technology in 1986 not 2179. Those computer displays resemble lighted typewriter interfaces more than they do any of today’s smartphones. Could the movie makers have imagined better computers? Maybe, that doesn’t mean they could have produced them, and certainly not at a cost that made sense in their production budget. The computers are rudimentary, but fortunately the movie holds up just fine.
Considering What You Can Obtain
These days, there are countless choices when it comes to high tech. In fact, the real name of the game is software. Just check out the article by Vekta and the ads by Acer, Eagle, MiTek, Simpson, and others. Things may look similar but operate very differently, based on their programming. So, what does that mean to you? Research! And not simply researching what exists on the market but what is really happening in your plant right now. Don’t be afraid to take a closer look at everything—your cost and benefit analysis will only be as good as the data you enter.
Considering What You Need
At the end of the day, making a decision about how much high tech you need will involve a balancing act. You’ll weigh the shortfalls and potential of what you have, what you might desire, and what you think you can afford. Even inaction is a choice, so be sure to be honest with yourself.