Service, maintenance: The key to building controls integrators success
As dark economic clouds continue to linger across the world, how can building automation integrators guarantee future success?
As dark economic clouds continue to linger across the world, how can building automation integrators guarantee future success? A recent report from IMS Research (recently acquired by IHS Inc.), states if integrators focus on increasing service and maintenance revenue they can remain profitable despite the economic conditions.
The IMS Research report titled Integrating Smart Building Systems – A Quantitative Market Analysis, estimated the market for building automation service and maintenance was worth $2.6 billion and $2.7 billion in EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and the Americas, respectively in 2011.
William Rhodes, senior market analyst at IMS Research commented, “Maintenance is seen by most systems integrators as the area where they can make the most profit. Service contracts generate regular revenues, allow the integrators to develop their relationship with the customer, and provide an opportunity to win future business.”
A maintenance contact is not always the easiest service to sell. During the installation phase of a project the integrators could be working on behalf of a mechanical contractor. In these circumstances the integrator may not have direct contact with the end-customer, preventing early discussions on the maintenance of the new control system.
Rhodes continued, “If you can get in front of the end-customer, offering additional value-add services such as building analytics, remote monitoring and benchmarking will often help encourage a customer to sign a service and maintenance contract. Integrators can use value-add services to identify broken or faulty equipment and notify the customer, before they find it not working properly.”
One strategy taken by integrators to win a service contracts is to lower the installation margin they charge for the building automation equipment. Their aim is to take a short-term hit putting them in a better position to win the service and maintenance contract and return the desired profit on the project. In theory this strategy works well, but the installing integrator is not guaranteed the service and maintenance contract once the project is complete.
Whichever way the integrator secures the elusive service contract, once signed they can guarantee future recurring revenue, enabling the company to batten down the financial hatches no matter how bad the economic storm.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.