When your company has worked with a controls system integrator multi-times on past projects, you know that integrator’s business practices and corporate culture. But when you have never worked with an integrator before, how are you supposed to know what kind of integrator your getting?
Advertisements can be unreliable. References are great, but often finding references for CSIs takes time and doesn’t produce any results. Many times contractors or manufacturing companies make the decision on who does their controls work by who bids the project the lowest. But going with the lowest bidder doesn’t always produce the best results for your project. A great way to make sure that you select the best integrator for the job is to make control system integrator meet statement of qualifications before they are allowed to submit a bid. We want to make sure that you avoid making a bad choice when asking for bids. Here are some criteria you should ask control system integrators to provide before they are allowed to bid your project:
- Firm size based on annual revenue
Ask all the bidders on your project to provide you with their annual revenue for the past five years so you can be sure the firm has the resources necessary to sustain a major projects.
Certifications are similar to getting references. Certification in hardware and software show that an integrator has been trained by a leading industry software provider. Other certifications to look for are CSIA, ISA, UL, TῠV, etc.
- Firm Location
Make sure you take a look at how far away a system integrator is before you give them the bid. Location isn’t everything because you want the best firm to handle your job , but you don’t want an integrator who’s over four hours away from you.
A control system integrator’s experience is everything. There is no degree in control system integration, there is only experience. Ask integrators to provide you with a list of similar projects that they have completed and their familiarity with certain PLC hardware. Look at the resumes of the project managers and engineers who will work on project. See how the company has been in business.
- System Testing
Make sure that the integrator you pick will adequately test the entire system before it is installed. When systems aren’t tested before installation, you typically see a long installation process and cost.
- Follow Up History
Ask each integrator to give examples of their follow up protocol. Many times you won’t notice a problem with a system for months or even years. Some integrators won’t come back to fix the problem they made because it’s not in their contract.