Nathan Dube

By: Nathan Dube on August 22nd, 2019

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Packaging Machinery Buyer's Guide: Hiring Versus Contracting Technical Service

Equipment | Technical Service and Support | Plant Performance | Packaging Psychology

Sooo... You have just purchased a brand new collection of packaging machinery and you are ready to get your line pumping out products at top speed and high efficiency. But wait, did you remember to acquire some form of preventative maintenance or at least find a vendor for packaging machinery repair? If not, who should you choose?


Should you hire a full time maintenance technician or contract a 3rd party? Which is a better choice for your business? What are the related costs? In today's article we will reveal the answers to these questions and provide expert advice on packaging machinery service and repair options.


Hiring A Full Time Packaging Machinery Tech Versus Contracting A 3rd Party


Depending on the age of your equipment and the make and models of packaging machinery you are running, repair and maintenance services are an important dynamic to consider. When you first launch a brand new set of packaging machinery, it is easy to fall into the trap of letting repair and maintenance costs fall to the back burner of concerns.


However, without a solid plan in place for machinery service and repair, unexpected downtime can be at best a major headache and at worst, cause a catastrophic level of downtime. In today's world, more than ever, time is money. Lost hours are lost dollars and if you are the one responsible, can you really afford any unplanned downtime at all?


Image of woman holding electricity cable above head


This is where those who are in charge of your packaging line must focus on the "what if" questions. Armed with the appropriate preventative maintenance program or technical service provider, you can rest assured that when a machine does need service or repair, you will be ready in advance.


But how does one choose the right option for their business in regards to machinery repair and service? Should you hire a full time employee who is ready to jump into action when a machine goes down? Or would this person be sitting around for hours only engaged in work when the occasional issue occurs? Is a 3rd party service vendor a better choice for your company? How do you make the right decision?


When it comes down to these important questions, some due diligence and homework on these topics is required.  While considering service and maintenance for your packaging line and it's respective machines, you have two options...


Hiring A Full Time Service Technician


Downtime is the loathsome enemy of productivity. While there are many ways to combat this particular evil, there is perhaps no faster solution to this devious issue than an in-house, certified, maintenance technician. At the first moment of a machine halting production due to whatever unseen mechanical issue, an in-house tech can be working on the problem within minutes of it manifesting.


Indeed, with a highly trained, full time employee wielding the appropriate tools on-sight, you could be looking at record setting service calls that will make your competitors shake their fist in palpable jealousy!


Of course... all good things come with their own setbacks...


A full time maintenance and repair technician is a significant and costly asset. Depending on your company's budget, it may not even be an option for your particular packaging line. If you have mostly brand new packaging machinery, you may very well wind up with a highly trained employee who spends their days twirling their thumbs and watching YouTube videos between the occasional minor technical glitch or mechanical error.




My guess is, the CEO of your company will not be very enthused about a full time employee (cough, cough, expense, cough...) with little to no work to do. What is the return on investment of an employee who's responsibilities are few and far between?


If on the other hand, you have an older packaging line with equipment that works well but has regular mechanical issues and break-downs, an in-house tech could very well be a viable and necessary asset to have on hand. If you are not investing in new equipment, a full time technician may be a smart investment with a solid ROI.


Pros Of Hiring A Full Time Packaging Machinery Service Technician


  •  Low down time
  •  Fast turn around
  •  Can keep machines at peak performance
  •  No phone calls to service center
  •  Reduction in invoices and paperwork


Cons Of Hiring A Full Time Packaging Machinery Service Technician


  •  Expensive
  •  Hours may not be justified
  •  Not a good choice for low downtime applications


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Contracting A Third Party Packaging Machinery Technician


If your budget does not allow for the hiring of a full time packaging machinery technician, or if you are on the fence about the expense, contracting a third party for a preventive maintenance program and emergency repairs may be a better option for your business.


When choosing a potential vendor for a service and repair tech, you will want to compare at least three vendor's offerings. Also, be sure that the technician you choose has the proper certifications for the makes and models of the packaging machinery that you use on your line.


When a machine goes down, you will need to contact your vendor and submit a service request via web form, phone call, or email. Generally speaking, you will want to choose a vendor who can provide service in 48 hours or less.

Mechanics in boiler suits portrait on white background


While you may have to wait longer for a service call to be completed when using a 3rd party vendor, the cost of using a vendor rather than hiring a full time employee is significantly less.


Choosing to contract a third party tech or simply getting an invoice for each call in lieu of contract can be a good choice for some businesses.


Pros Of Contracting A Third Party Packaging Machinery Service Technician


  •  Less costly than hiring a full time tech
  •  Usually easy to implement a service call
  •  Can switch technicians easily if problems with service occur
  •  Easy to source online


Cons Of Contracting A Third Party Packaging Machinery Service Technician


  •  Downtime up to 48+ hours per service call
  •  Technician not located in a reasonable distance to location
  •  Requires retail invoicing or contract for service calls
  •  May require someone to place service calls when issues arise




As far as which of the above choice is best for your business, that entirely depends on your company's personal dynamics. After looking into the age of your machinery, your allotted budget and the other unique dynamics of your specific situation, you will be able to make a choice that is best for your needs and finances.


Don't know where to start? It would be a good idea to get aprofessional analysis of your packaging line done by a certified technician from a trusted local vendor. The process of analysis will provide you with the data set you need to make an educated decision on which option is best for your company.


At the end of the analysis you will know if a preventative maintenance program, a retail agreement, or the hiring of a full time in-house maintenance technician is the best choice for your particular needs.


By leveraging the wisdom inherent in the information culled from the analysis, you will come off looking like the rock-star you are. You will potentially save your business a ton of money while simultaneously ensuring best practices for your packaging line based upon proper research and data.


In the end, what is right for your business, may not be right for the next and vice versa.

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About Nathan Dube

As the Digital Marketing Specialist at Industrial Packaging, I am honored to create content for such a phenomenal company and work with one of the greatest teams in the Packaging Industry. Whether creating a video, writing blog posts or generating other pieces of content and multimedia, I am always excited to help educate and inspire our prospects and clients to reach their highest potential in regards to their packaging processes and needs.