System integration survey results show increase in spending for next year

Think Again: Control Engineering research report shows most survey respondents are involved in system integration, and they’ll be spending more next year. Survey respondents provide advice about system integration, below.

09/05/2013


The system integration business is looking up, according to a new Control Engineering original research study, with most survey respondents (87%) likely to be involved in system integration projects in the coming year, and spending on system integration projects was expected to increase next year. Three main groups of Control Engineering subscribers are system integrators (SIs), end users, and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Even those who don’t consider themselves system integrators or system integration firms often do system integration and/or hire system integrators to design, assemble, simulate or test, start up, optimize, maintain, and retire their increasingly interconnected control systems.

Two thirds of respondents expect the same or increased spending. Those who expect more will be spending on average 36% more. Courtesy: Control Engineering System Integration Report 2013

Respondents valued half of all system integration projects this year at more than $50,000; 27% were more than $250,000; and 16% were over $750,000. And almost all agreed that the work system integrators do is effective. See advice from respondents below.

Advice from survey respondents: Communicate more clearly

Based on your experience, the survey asked, what could system integrators do to work better with clients? Analysis of 76 write-in responses shows that communications and technology related areas are the most in need of improvement. Categorized groupings and percentages follow, along with a sampling of advice in each area.

28% of comments had to do with communication, documentation, relationship, and courtesy:

  • Always need better and more complete communication. All past problems encountered could have been prevented with better and more frequent communication.
  • Those doing system integration need better scoping definitions, better and timely communication, avoidance of the "last second" stress, candid but factual “change order” and “scope creep” conversations, to avoid creating proprietary programming, always annotate PLC code, avoid the "nickel, dime, arm, then leg" approach when inevitable delays come in time and material (T&M) projects.
  • Develop a relationship to understand how that plant works.
  • Stay in contact so that design input opportunities can be discussed in the early stage.

24% Experience and technology details:

  • Design systems with maintaining them in mind instead of using the latest gadget to meet the spec.
  • Become immersed in the customer's day-day life, understand the existing process, and find ineffective systems before designing new ones.
  • Have successful experience portfolio to show.
  • Keep up to date on the latest advances in technology.

19% Lifecycle, project management, flexibility, and standards:

  • Do a follow-up on what was installed after it has been in use for a time. Look at the problems that developed.
  • Ensure strong skills in project management, accurate tracking (cost and schedule), expertise and effectiveness with startup procedures.
  • Work hand-in-hand with clients and be flexible to understand their requirements.

13% Schedule and scope:

  • Be flexible with project scope and demands. Not every project is a repeat of a previous project.
  • Meet project schedule.
  • Do their own scheduling and project milestones.
  • More time up front defining scope, cost, schedule.
  • Spend time to understand the customer concerns and future plans.

9% Price:

  • Finish the work before running out of contract money.
  • Charge less.
  • Ongoing support after installation is difficult to quote but is required.

7% Education:

  • Simple design is best. Train the client in operations and maintenance.
  • Customer training/awareness.
  • Do more marketing.

The 2013 Control Engineering System Integration report provides analysis and data points on who does system integration, projects for next year, integrated devices, skills needed for system integration, when system integrators join projects, effectiveness, project costs, change in spending, integrator selection, and preferred sources for system integration services, among other topics.

Access the full 2013 Control Engineering System Integration report.

- Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

Online extra 

System Integrator Giants - The 100 firms on the System Integrator Giants list represent the largest system integrators, from among the companies listed in the Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide. In the survey, system integrator revenue is defined as automation integration services minus the cost of all off-the-shelf products: hardware, software, and equipment. The System Integrators who responded to this survey provided information about engineering specialties, industries served, products integrated, associations/affiliations, and challenges from their industry.

www.controleng.com/events-and-awards/system-integrator-giants.html 

Control Engineering Automation Integrator Guide

www.controleng.com/integrators



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me