OEM Pitfalls

Five OEM Pitfalls

Would you consider hiring an OEM like Rockwell Automation, GE, ABB, or AVEVA to execute an automation project? Already working with them? Read on.

Everybody thinks the safe option is to just hire the OEM. That is rarely, if ever, the right idea. 

A lot of people call Rockwell because that is who they’ve heard of. As with all OEMs, they have some great products but they also have some that don’t fit. 

Here are the top 5 pitfalls of hiring an OEM to execute your next automation project.

  • Limited OEMs are naturally tied to their own products and services and they simply aren’t allowed to stray into other areas. They certainly won’t touch other critical components and tasks associated with projects such as transmitters, motors, valves, vision systems, etc.. You’ll have to hire someone else to do that.
  • Dedication They only support the product because they have an obligation to. It’s usually a big company, you are just a number, and the person you are dealing with cares more about his commission than the success of your project.
  • Availability They are rarely located close to your organization and stay booked up for months out. This means you have to schedule services way in advance to get them onsite…impacting your project timeline, budget, and agility. Forget having them rush onsite for emergency support when you need them most.
  • Pricing OEMS are by far the most expensive route. You pay a premium for them to do the project, another premium to buy their software to support your project, and now they make you buy their ongoing phone/email support plans – whether you need it or not. Then, you might actually have to pay again if you do need their support!
  • Locking you in They are doing everything in their power to lock you in! Just look at the new business practices of some of the major OEMs. Their software is a subscription now so you rely on them year in and year out for your needs. Why do you have so many needs every year? If they were doing what they were supposed to be doing – you wouldn’t need them over and over again!

As a Systems Integrator (SI) who works with many OEMs every day, we know which products are solid (…and which ones to stay away from). 

We also know which ones are better for certain applications. We also support everything that connects to the control system to make sure it all works and works together. 

You don’t need multiple different companies supporting your automation. You just need one solid systems integrator. Read more about the Benefits of a Systems Integrator. 

So, should you hire an OEM for your next automation project?

Your automation project is a large project with many different types of devices and software. OEM’s will only support their products of your project. 

With an OEM, if any part of the project doesn’t belong to the OEM, you have three options: 

  1. Find someone else to handle the various other portions of your project.
  2. Try to handle the other portions yourself. The problem is, you won’t find out if it was handled correctly until startup time. The worst time.
  3. Hire a systems integrator to only handle the portions of the project the OEM won’t.

So, what should you do?

As a project manager, plant engineer, operator, or end-user you need to explore your options. Don’t just take the OEM price quote as the end all be all for your needs. They are experts in their products not in your application. Ask questions and know what your goal is for your automation project. Any quality partner is going to help you build towards your end goal.

Talk to System Integrators, like our team at XAutomation. Working with an SI gives you a single point of contact that is dealing with all the details of your entire project – the end devices, control system, software, communication network, server architecture, and cloud computing. 

You will be surprised at the expertise of service, quality and speed of execution. This is what we do.

Fill out the form below to get the process rolling. Or, just shoot us a message or email. We look forward to working with you.