Over the last 3 years or so after inception, we had invested heavily in installing the best tools and equipment, which helped us to create a very positive impression with our domestic customers and aided our fast growth inside China. But this was also the time when the economy was staring at a downturn. Just as we were about to foray into foreign markets, we began losing our orders. Not to competitors, but because our clients became wary of spending money on expenses that could be postponed a few more months or even years.
This didn’t deter us from continuing our investment in the machinery of the highest quality. In fact, around that time, the amount we spent on equipment purchase was the highest ever since inception. For instance, we invested in an automated fiber laser, which cut down cycle times drastically and made it possible for us to cut through thicker plates. We also added several OTC welding machines, Motoman welding robot, LVD Shearing machine etc.
While these investments shot up our capital expenses during those difficult years, they also ensured that we could go out and bid for international business more comfortably. We could now provide the same finished products as the mature markets of Asia and Europe were demanding. Also, these tools helped us reduce our reliance on manual work and helped us get orders completed on time.
That gave us the confidence to bid for and complete international orders, and also helped us to keep our wage costs low (we have just about 70 workmen now). The tools we have invested in also help us to complete complex orders in much lesser time.