Buying a meat slicer, or any equipment really, for your meat shop or food processing facility can be costly. Getting the features you want in the time frame you want it and making it integrate easily with your current processes adds up — and sometimes you don’t know the full cost until you’ve paid it.
Saving money when buying a meat slicer starts with knowing the full cost of the machine. Until you know the associated costs of the meat slicer you want to buy, you won’t have a clear idea of how well it fits within your budget.
The Real Cost of Buying a Meat Slicer
Consider these associated costs when buying a meat slicer:
- Delivery / Shipping
- Set-Up Fees and Training
- Supporting Equipment for Integration — think tables, loading and unloading conveyors, dumpers, and more.
- Modifications to the Machine to Fit Your Operation — does the slicer itself require any modifications to fit your current process?
- Ongoing Maintenance Costs — how much time and money will go into regular upkeep and maintenance on your slicer?
- Ongoing Cleaning Costs — how much time and money will go into cleaning your slicer?
- Upgrading the Machine for More Output Later — will you need to upgrade to a larger model down the line to accommodate an increase in product output goals?
Money Saving Tips for Buying a Meat Slicer
Knowing the associated costs of buying a meat slicer will give you a better idea of the full investment you are making in the machine. When you know those costs, it’s easier to find ways to save money. These tips will help!
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Before you launch into buying a meat slicer, consider how you want to integrate it into your current operation. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will you manually load and unload the machine?
- Do you want to feed product into and out of the machine automatically?
- Do you want mechanical assistance in loading product into the machine, via a dumper or lifter?
- Do you need any supporting equipment for using the slicer, such as tables, trays, or carts to help load and unload the machine?
Answering these questions will give you a starting point in your search for buying a meat slicer — and help you determine what other equipment you will need to purchase with the slicer.
Once you know how you want to integrate the slicer, start looking for meat slicers that offer easy integration, and for companies who not only sell meat slicers, but also the supporting equipment to go with it. You can often get a deal on bundling a meat slicer with the equipment needed to integrate when you purchase it all from the same company.
Employee safety is a big concern in the meat processing industry. According to the California Department of Labor Statistics and Research, workers in food-processing plants have a higher likelihood of being hurt on the job than workers in many other industries.1 One injury while using a meat slicer could end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially when you think about the damage that a meat slicer could do to the human body.
When looking at buying a meat slicer, it’s important to think about employee safety. Ask yourself these questions:
- What safety features are required on the meat slicer to comply with your company’s safety policies?
- What safety features come standard on the meat slicer, and what features are optional?
- Will you need to purchase other safety equipment, such as ergonomic stands, dumpers / vacuum lifts, and guarding?
Shelling out the money for additional safety options is always a good idea, as it saves you from the high cost of employee injuries. Or, better yet, find a meat slicer that comes standard with all the safety features to keep employee hands out of the machine.
Regular cleaning of your meat slicer comes with its own costs — and usually those costs are associated with the time needed to clean the machine. A meat slicer that requires a lot of dismantling and special tools to access the slicing blades will cost you a lot in down time and employee pay.
Look for these easy-cleaning features when buying a meat slicer to save you cleaning costs:
- Tool-less removal of guarding
- Easy open for cleaning
- Wash-down motor
- Stainless steel construction
Buying a meat slicer that is easy to clean will save you BIG.
Similar to cleaning, regular maintenance of your meat slicer will cost you in down time and employee pay. A meat slicer that requires a lot of regular maintenance will require a lot of down time — costing you in loss of product and greater payroll expenses.
When buying a meat slicer, look for one that does not require a lot of maintenance. Tool-less removal of guarding, stainless steel construction, minimal parts all will save you in down time.
Also, look for a meat slicer supplier who offers replacement parts and purchase one of each upfront. This will save you delivery time of replacement parts should your machine break down at any point.
Think Long Term
When buying a meat slicer, think long term. While right now you might not need a meat slicer capable of handling more than 2,000 pounds of meat per hour, if your business grows (who doesn’t want that?!) you might need a bigger meat slicer in the future.
Thinking through your long-term goals before buying a meat slicer will end up saving you money in the long run. Buying a meat slicer for your current needs is great, but if you outgrow your machine in a year, you’ll be right back at square one of needing to buy a new meat slicer.
Ask yourself these questions to help think long term:
- Do you plan on increasing the amount of sliced meat product in the future?
- Do you want to grow your business bigger than it is now?
- Do you foresee your sliced meat products being a big hit with customers?
- Will you be heavily marketing your sliced meat products?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it might be worth investing in the next meat slicer model up from what you currently need. Doing so will give you the room to grow your business without the need to invest in another meat slicer soon.
Invest in the Best
Focusing on the five tips above will help you invest in a slicer that will be easy and safe to use, easy to maintain, and easy to clean. Take some time and figure out what you need from your slicer, what your non-negotiables are, to make searching for and comparing slicer models a lot easier.