This report analyses the Japanese market.
In the days before the internet, people who planned to open a shop were given the noodle-making machine in front of them anyway by the noodle-making machine manufacturer or dealer. As noodle-making machines are specialised machines, there was very little information on them in the selection process. Prospective purchasers of machines could only make their choices based on very limited information, such as brochures from specific manufacturers, or advertisements and workshops. As a result, there was no end to the number of people who regretted their purchase of a noodle-making machine with unexpected results.
Later, with the development of the internet, a variety of information on noodle-making machines became available. Nevertheless, due to a lack of accurate information, there is no end to the number of people who realise the problems after they have started making their own noodles and regret it. Noodle-making machines are not cheap pieces of kitchen equipment. Therefore, even if you select the wrong machine, you cannot simply replace it, and you have no choice but to persevere and continue using it, even if it is not easy to use, has safety problems or does not produce tasty noodles as expected.
In order to avoid such a situation, the following is a summary of the problems that are generally noticed after starting to make your own noodles.
Here, we would like to introduce some examples of actual failures that have occurred in the past so that you can understand and avoid the pitfalls that you are likely to fall into when selecting a noodle-making machine.
1.Generally, noodle machine manufacturers do not tell you how to make noodles
This is true not only in Japan, but also abroad: manufacturers of ordinary noodle-making machines know how to make machines, but not how to make good noodles. Therefore, even if they want to make a new recipe for noodles, they will not (or cannot) tell you the recipe.
For example, these days, new noodle-making knowledge is expanding rapidly, such as gluten-free, low-sugar noodles, or savoury noodles made from burnt wholemeal flour. But few noodle-making machine manufacturers are able to keep up. In addition, noodles need to go well with soups, but there is no knowledge of soups at all, so it is difficult to know which type of noodle goes with which type of soup.
Therefore, the trouble for many people who have started making their own noodles is that they do not know how to make delicious noodles. Even if they want to make new noodles one after another after introducing the machine, they are not taught. Even if a noodle-making machine is handed to them, there is no way they can make good noodles.
In extreme cases, the best noodle quality cannot be achieved using any noodle-making machine unless the correct usage of the machine is based on know-how about noodle quality. There are too many cases where a machine is bought only to be bought and then the purchaser is left scratching his or her head as to how to produce good quality noodles.
Generally, for manufacturers of noodle-making machines, their job is to sell the machine, and once the machine is sold, their job is done. For customers who have started their own noodle-making business, however, the real relationship with the noodle-making machine begins after the machine is bought.
Not only at the time of installation, but also after the machine has been sold, and even if they want to make new noodles after installation, they are not taught how to do so. This has left them in a bind, and there is no end to the number of people who don’t even know where (or who) to ask.
New customers who start making their own noodles often do not know how to choose flour. In particular, most do not know the meaning and role of protein, amylo value, ash content, etc.
Manufacturers of regular noodle-making machines are professionals in making them, but they do not know how to make noodles. In the case of our company, we hold noodle-making schools in Japan and abroad, and also constantly manufacture and sell noodles at our affiliated company, Sansho, which manufactures and sells noodles. As well as being professionals in the manufacture of noodle-making machines, we are also professionals in the manufacture of noodles. In Japan, the company constantly holds noodle-making workshops at its eight Dream Studios nationwide and teaches various noodle-making methods at udon, soba and ramen schools.
2. cases where the selection was based solely on the fact that the price was low
Another common pattern is that “the lack of funds and the fact that they spent as little as possible on a noodle-making machine resulted in the machine costing too much.”
Many people have chosen a cheap noodle-making machine based on price alone, failed to produce tasty noodles, and had to buy a new, high-performance, high-priced noodle-making machine, wasting the first machine.
All noodle-making machines are the same, so they bought the cheapest one because they thought it was better, but in fact the structure, know-how and service are completely different from one manufacturer to another. It is commonplace to find that the machine is not designed to produce tasty noodles, or that the cheap machine is not easy to use.
It is not uncommon for a company to buy inexpensive second-hand equipment, thinking that it would be cheaper for the time being, only to find that it is not easy to use and the noodle-making process is very time-consuming and unusable. This is a problem before taste. Even if you are not particular about the taste, the production capacity cannot keep up and you are forced to replace the equipment.
3. cases where the selection has been made without taking after-sales service into account
As a result of having decided to purchase a noodle-making machine based on the name and image of the manufacturer, there is no end to the number of people who come to me for advice after purchase without any kind of after-sales service.
Generally, for manufacturers, it is important to make a successful sale, and once the sale is made, maintenance afterwards is not very profitable.
There are many customers in the industry who have problems because there is no maintenance on holidays or because there is not an adequate routine maintenance system, and they have problems with maintenance and have difficulty in getting someone to come even if they call.
For about 20 years, our company had a company-wide commitment to 24/7/365 maintenance. However, although it is easy to say ’24/7/365 maintenance’, it is extremely costly.
Trying to carry out maintenance 365 days a year is not only costly, but also requires an internal structure and the cooperation of employees. In our case, it is even more difficult because we do maintenance from New Year’s Day to New Year’s Eve without a single day off.
4. the machine was unsafe and an employee was injured
For noodle machine manufacturers, the more safety devices they add, the higher the cost of the machine. Considering only the sale of the machine, the price will be higher, which is detrimental to selling the machine. Considering only the sale of the machine, it is not a device that you want to add very often.
In addition, safety devices are not functionally useful in everyday noodle-making, but are intended for emergencies. They are like the automatic brakes that have recently started to be fitted in cars.
With increasing safety awareness, even light cars have recently been fitted with safety brakes, because cars are mass-produced and costs are very easily reduced.
Noodle-making machines, however, are not mass-produced. Therefore, the more safety devices are installed, the higher the cost and the harder it becomes to sell them.
At the same time, it is generally less user-friendly, but the more safety devices that are added that do not make it less user-friendly, the more costs are incurred.
In addition, even if you think you have installed sufficient safety equipment, sometimes customers will perform tasks that are not expected. Therefore, there is no point unless the device is multi-layered and safe. Safety devices are like playing a game with the customer’s usage. It is our policy as a machine manufacturer to install sufficient safety devices, because ‘customer safety is our top priority’.
5. if you thought it would have a longer lifespan but it breaks down quickly
The design philosophy also determines whether the mechanism of the machine is robust and long-lasting.
The design of a long-lasting noodle-making machine is greatly influenced by the high design ability of the designer and the quality of the parts and materials used.
The same factors that go into making a good dish are also essential for making a good dish: high technology and good materials are essential and inevitably cost a certain amount of money.
The same is exactly the case with noodle-making machines. A customer who bought one of our machines shortly after the company was founded has been using it for nearly 40 years and takes very good care of it. We also have customers who are still maintaining their machines, for example by arranging parts.
In addition to the way the product is made, the way the customer uses it also determines its lifespan. Cleaning, inspections and normal usage are important and make a big difference to the life of the machine.