When you are approached with an idea for an automation project presenting challenges too great for your business to tackle with internal resources alone, how do you implement your plan in a way that successfully grows your business? Whether the challenges lie in lack of budget, internal expertise or both, a partnership with an automation systems integrator creates an opportunity for you to successfully grow your business.
This article focuses on three points of consideration for anyone on the market for a partnership with an automation systems integrator. It adds context to different ways an adept integrator can, and should add value to your business and also gives you baseline criteria to help assess if you’ve found the right match to help you execute.
Technical Product Support
Although it offers enormous value in the long run, technical product support is often overlooked in favor of lower upfront costs, many times to the detriment of a project. For industrial clients in particular, expertise in things like electrical theory and practice, or specific and relevant product knowledge are vital elements to look for in an automation systems integrator.
Considering that technical specifications are not always straight forward, having an unbiased partner with a network of competing vendors who is able to help find a solution and organize a plan for implementation is incredibly valuable. In addition, a partner who can help streamline a project by offering strong technical product support through a single point of contact for both pre-sale and post-sale can increase margins by saving you time and money.
Specific Product Group Focus
Rather than partnering with a generalist, seek out an automation systems integrator with a breadth of experience in the specific product group the project needs. Their focus and expertise adds value to your project by:
- Offering support as an extension of the manufacturer throughout the entire engineering/technical sales cycle and long-term
- Adopting a non-proprietary applications approach helping to mitigate expenses from software bullying or recurring service fees
- Providing access to a team of knowledgeable staff who are able to troubleshoot varying issues at different levels of complexity when needed
Another point of consideration when looking at an automation systems integrator is the amount of supporting product inventory they have available. In addition to having a deeper understanding of the manufacturer’s products and technology, an integrator that stocks related inventory allows for easier service or repair, as well as more seamless systems upgrades if the scope of your project changes.
Also consider the integrators’ geographic location(s). In the event of equipment failure, a local presence with relevant automation product knowledge can make a huge difference in the amount of downtime and cost, greatly impacting project timelines.
Last, consider who the automation systems integrator partners with. Seek out an integrator with a diversified supporting network who will utilize the best and newest technology for your need. Leveraging market relationships will drive the most efficient solution and eliminate unnecessary equipment upgrades.