Technocracy - when is a guarantee not a guarantee?
You would think that, in these difficult times, there would be an increasing demand for the supplier and the customer to work together to make business flow... but you would think wrong.
Should you embark on a project and commission a number of contractors of various skills, to complete the project work, and for whatever reason one of the contractor/s goes out of business, you will find yourself holding the problem of warranties - guarantees usually not worth the paper they are written on.
More importantly, the supplier/ manufacturer of the product may refuse to talk to the end-user - i.e. you. Also, to add insult to injury, the contractor may have factored his (your) account, and you will be chased for payment.
Spend time from the outset not just agreeing what's required from the contractor, but visiting his supplier as well (see MTJ October 2008). Check the contractor's payment terms to his suppliers: has the contractor factored his account? The contractor's insurance details are also important. All the way down the line there are hidden issues, so ensure that you check the details from the outset and the project will run according to plan.
You may consider help from a federation (BMPA/AIMS) to help you get through this minefield.
John Roberts has worked in the food industry for over 30 years, latterly with Anglo Beef Processors for over 13 years, heading up group engineering in the UK & Ireland
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