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Innovative Thinking

Simple Tips to Reduce Risk on Automation Projects


Some projects seem straightforward and simple in the beginning; more often than not, problems arise that were never considered and end up costing a big chunk of precious time and money. Delays can be avoided by just taking a few steps to minimize risk and increase productivity. In this article we are going to take a look at how uncertainties can derail a project and how to reduce damage to your company’s timeline and budget.

3 Tips to Avoid Risk from Suppliers

Everyone has run into an instance where your shipment was late and/or the products were just wrong entirely. Even a small hiccup in an order of parts could set you back days at a time. There is always going to be some risk involved in working with another company but how can we minimize that potential risk?

  • Never Assume — Communicate directly with vendors familiar with your business and describe precisely what you need them to deliver. The more detail the better to avoid any confusion.
  • Timeline — Create a timeline for each event that needs to be completed. This timeline needs to be communicated clearly to all parties involved.
  • Define "Done" — Done can be seen as a subjective word if not clearly conveyed to your suppliers. Make done an objective word by setting clear guidelines for what the finished product should have.

Addressing Complex Business Needs

There are business risks in any company, the key is whether you can identify where the risks are and if the risks can be accounted for and included in the company’s overall budget. How can we plan for risk in a company automation project? Well there are a few crucial things to keep an eye out for.

  • When altering an old system, existing problems within that system will jump to your attention. Plan for time to fix issues that are going to come to the surface. Depending on your unique situation, it's a good idea to contact an automation team if you're not familiar with every element of your old system, or you're not sure how to transition to the new one.
  • Be careful to avoid integrating components that don’t have compatible systems or that you have little experience working with. Some manufacturers can provide guidance either with customer support or start-up troubleshooting, but if you're mixing manufacturers or new tech with older parts of the system, there probably isn't going to be an immediate, obvious solution.
  • Keep the number of components to a minimum. The risk of breakdowns or delays is greatly increased with more modules added to a system. If you are inexperienced working with automation modules or modernizing a system, consult an engineer experienced in your industry and your unique process.

Five Precautionary Questions

Before you start any automation project, it's important to ask you self a few simple questions before green-lighting the plan:

  1. How important is this feature to the success of our company?
  2. What will we do if the project fails?
  3. How long will the facility be closed for this project?
  4. When is the best time to implement this upgrade?
  5. What kind of impact will this have on productivity?

Carefully considering all of the risk and planning ahead to minimize delay allows your company to accurately budget and avoid costly interruptions in production.

Partnering with an Automation Solutions Team to Minimize Risk

Premier Automation offers a wide variety of simple and effective solutions for automation projects. Our System Integrators can help you appraise your plant's productivity and find automation solutions for your unique applications. Premier Automation was ranked #19 nationally as a System Integrator Giant on a list of the most innovative system integrators in the United States.

Our team of 30 engineers works relentlessly to create a fully integrated automation environment for our customers to ensure better reliability, higher quality, and total production visibility. If you're seeking a partner for your next automation or controls project, contact one of our experienced engineers to schedule a free on-site visit:

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