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Choosing an industrial automation integrator part-I

| written by twg

Selecting the right industrial automation systems integrator is among the most challenging processes a modern manufacturer can undertake. For that reason, we’ve decided to put forward a two-part blog that can help walk you through the process and the things you need to research and know before you make your decision.

Every project is different, so your needs will evolve. But here are the things you should know when seeking out an industrial automation system integrator.

Strong product and application knowledge

Every project should begin with you doing your due diligence. That means phone interviews and an onsite visit. Qualify candidates on the basis of their acumen. A good one should be able to educate you on the options that are available to you, and even more precisely – what isn’t available to you.

That includes things like space confinement, facility communications, IT structure, system requirements and the like. At the end of the day – you should hear a lot of what you know, a lot of what you don’t know, and a few things you never thought you would have to know.

Actual development experience

One of the biggest mistakes that manufacturers make is that they only deal with sales representatives at a company and never ask to meet the actual development team that’ll be working on their project. Ask to meet these folks. Not only will you get a better overall feel for how that particular organization works, but it’ll also allow you ask them specific questions related to your development needs. Most importantly – you’ll get a strong grasp on what kinds of things they’re comfortable with, what they’re not comfortable with – and how that fits with the needs of your particular project.

What products do they use?

If you want a general sense for the actual capabilities of a company, you can do some research on the hardware and software that they use. In some cases – certain integrators can create their own proprietary software to fit into your needs, but most will largely be limited by the tools they have at their own disposal. If you’re unfamiliar with a particular companies’ capabilities or software, just ask. But at the end of the day – it’s vital that you have as strong a grasp on their capabilities as possible.

Part-2 will be along next month!