Automation System Integration
Create value with re-use
When you finish a project, begin working to catalog what was built, the standards used (and improved), and where and how that work could be applied in future. Not-invented-here syndrome is a common challenge in system integration and with engineering in general. See chart and table.
How much re-use are you getting out of your projects? In other words, when you finish one project what parts can you directly apply to the next? As a specific example we often ask the question:
How many projects can a great Functional Design Specification (FDS) affect before the start of a project:
How many projects can a great FDS effect after the project if time is taken to complete the as-built document, add screen-shots with callouts, and file with an appropriate version number in a public space for sharing?
- 10? 20? Many.
Why then do so many projects drop the ball after the project is complete and walk away without working to catalog what was built, the standards used (and improved) and where and how that work could be applied in future. Not-invented-here syndrome is a common challenge in system integration (and engineering in general) but if we can get move past this the potential for both individual project success as well as long term growth of the integration industry is huge. As a summary, the chart details the integration project costs (both as dollar and percentage values) for a two-plant install between continents. The Plant 1 design and implementation contributed directly to Plant 2. All efforts listed represent direct integration costs only.
Further to the direct integration benefits of re-use, client-centric benefits include:
Lower project risk – Components identified as new/different are noted as risk factors and engineering effort is spent up front mitigating that risk. As an example, a set of pre-built VM servers that can be re-used from project to project will lower the risk of incorrect software install order, unsupported patch installations, or other configuration errors, which can result in longer setup and commissioning time.
· Lower support cost – If the same standards are used across multiple sites or lines, the net training effort required for the organization drops significantly. As an example, a video-recorded training presentation which outlines application navigation and troubleshooting can be created and viewed in multiple plants and multiple languages with only one investment in content development.
· Lower threshold for improvement – as an improvement is identified it can be quickly copied from one plant to another. As an example, a recipe improvement in one plant could be electronically submitted to another for next-day business return on investment (ROI).
· Lower per-project design cost – Re-using software from one project to another has a direct, positive impact on business project management costs such as the total time required by H.B. Fuller employees in software reviews (43 vs. 2 as outlined in previous graph)
In summary: change your focus. What you do after commissioning should be held in as high regard as what you do before.
- Anthony Baker strikes again: Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration. This blog provides integration advice in plant-floor controls, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and manufacturing consulting, from the factory floor through to the enterprise. Andrew Barker, P.Eng., Callisto Integration, compiled the advice. www.callistointegration.com
Callisto Integration is a CSIA member as of 3/1/2015