What to look for in an automation partner?
Written by: APL
Choosing the right automation solution partner is critical to the long-term success of your business. It can make a big difference in your plant’s productivity, as well as the opportunities and potential for the future development. But what are the main objectives for having an automation partner? Does it just need to complement a single project? Or a complete system build? A need for semi-automated assembly line, or an overall production line transformation? That is why it’s important to identify your objectives and needs in advance. When looking at your potential automation partners, figuring out if their Expertise and Capabilities meet those needs, if their resource availability meet delivery time required, and if their Quality and Support commitment meet your expectations. Let’s take a look at some of must-haves for you seeking for in an automation partner.
The automation and engineering capabilities of your automation partner should provide a solution which is tailor made for your needs. Depending on project complexity, a good partner should have the flexibility in depth and breadth of capabilities. Capabilities like project management, mechanical and electrical design, machine building skills, software, work tracking services, commissioning and installation are all worth considering.
Some of the above information can be achieved by asking the right questions, as well as listening to questions asked by potential partner.
Technical expertise & Industry experience
‘Can do’ and ‘have done’ differ a lot. When looking for automation partners, of course, it is essential to select those who have technical expertise, preferably those who have experience in the same or similar projects, ideally those who have both technical expertise and industry-specific experience. For such industries as pharmaceuticals, food, and biotechnology, it is crucial to know the plant environment, restrictions and challenges of automation systems development. An industry experienced partner who understands the specific needs of the manufacturer’s industry could bring in peace of mind.
Quality has always been of central importance to any manufacturers. A good automation partner must provide high quality equipment and high standard of service for manufacturers to achieve long term success. ISO9001 certification is used as the international benchmark on quality systems. Companies awarded the ISO9001 approve their commitment to quality. In addition, many automation companies have their own world class Quality Assurance Programs in place.
Do your automation partners offer training services? Do they have local offices? Do they have the knowledge and experience to solve difficult questions? How quickly can they response? Can they provide further support when you consider upgrading and expending in the future? A good automation partner should deliver long term sustainable support to your business.
One size does not fit all. To select a best automation partner of yours, most importantly, identify your project needs first, and then make sure your potential partner has the right capabilities, resources, expertise, experience and support.
Remember, A true partnership is based on real understanding, commitment and trust.