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Never Automate Without a Single Source Guarantee 

Posted on January 12, 2024
Never Automate Without A Single Source Guarantee 

 

At DEVELOP LLC, we guarantee that every stage of the development of your automation integration is drafted, staged, planned, and executed in house. We never outsource to 3rd parties for machine design, schematics, hardware, software, assembly, testing, or integration. We know that the best way to integrate a custom automated machine or robotic solution is with a single source vertically integrated team of engineers, project managers, and automation specialists. And when you are looking to invest months or years of your time, six or seven figures of capital investment, and an average expectation of 20 years of machine life, you gamble with your business when you don’t choose the best option available. Guarantee your control over cost quality, and timeline. Let us help you understand why in the world of automation integration, a single source guarantee is a minimum requirement for your project. 

 

Single Source Saves you Money 

 

The number one myth that causes manufacturers to turn away from single source automation is price. A first year Microeconomics mindset slices the different stages of what should be a uniform machine development into pieces and auctions them to the lowest bidder. Maybe machine design happens on Fivver. The schematic design comes through a small company in Silicon Valley. The software writer is based in India and a Chinese factory assembles the final product. The assumption that if every company acts in good faith in ideal conditions, you can get a machine done for much lower cost than a single source integrator that invests in a vertically integrated understanding of your technology. Here’s where the costs start to fall apart: 

 

Complication Cost

 

What happens if an issue is discovered past the prototyping stage of the project? Maybe an error or issue was missed in the schematic. Maybe a critical part got discontinued by the only supplier while the Bill of Materials was being written up. Maybe a sudden change in product demand means you have to pay for a change order. All of the costs associated with complications are magnified if you have to call five different companies with five different contracts. A single source integrator has the agency to reach back, aggressively tackle concerns, and authentically present options based on a comprehensive understanding of the project. A single source integrator can plan back up suppliers and options into their design that mitigates the premiums of a purely reactive response. 

 

Management Cost

 

With a single source automation integrator you can depend on a commitment to a single scope of work, ownership of the stages of development, and accountability for issues. Your company has one point of contact for every question, meeting, and follow up. When there are five different voices in the project development, some of which may have different time zones, cultural business norms, and languages, you are increasing the amount of management that your company must absorb fivefold. You have to stop between each stage and restart the bidding, evaluation, and contract negotiations for the next stage of your machine. The cost in employee management hours starts eating into those margins and your ability to assign those employees to opportunity and revenue seeking tasks. If you have an option to tackle problems with a course of action from a minuteman gathering of the entire team, why would you even validate a clumsy logistical headache of emails, zoom meetings, and miscommunicated retellings? 

 

Ambiguity Costs

 

A custom automated machine can take months or years to complete. With a single source scope of work, estimations and costs of change orders are outlined at the start of the project. With multiple sources, you are gambling that the software designer is still going to be available when the schematics are done. You are gambling that the supply chain is going to be just as fluid six months to a year down the road and you won’t have to pay to cover shortages caused by a ‘black swan’ crisis. You are gambling that the early stage project lead made a decision based on conveniencing the project as a whole rather than making a design choice that makes things complicated for the later stages. 

 

Single Source Saves you Time 

 

A single source integrator plans the stages of development in gates. These gates define when certain plans go into place, definitions of what is on time and what is late, provisions for changes, and outlines when and how the stages are approved and executed. Supplies, parts, and components can be ordered long before assembly with a vetted network of suppliers to cut down on lead times. The Return on Investment starts when the integration is finished. Taking advantage of the increased production capacity your custom machine provides happens once the custom machine is integrated to your production and not one second earlier. Every stage of the design, programming, testing, build and integration has been planned from the start. 

With multiple sources: 

  • You waste time having to negotiate and sign new contracts.  
  • You waste time getting an entirely new set of contractors up to speed on project progress.  
  • You waste time adapting to a completely new communication architecture. 
  • You waste time trying to order parts with varying lead times all at once. 
  • You waste time closing each stage of the development process. 
  • You waste time anytime there is a complication in a project stage. 

 

Single Source Manages your Communication 

 

The best form of communication comes from a single source. 

 

Designated Roles

 

A single source provider has the control to assign designated leads for each stage of the project. No rotating roles, no revolving door of different project leads, no lost institutional memory. The electrical engineer you talked to at the beginning of the project remains the same though the whole project. 

 

Defined Responsibilities

 

The minimum expectation is that your integrator should take ownership of technical decisions and leave the high concept design requests to the customer. When you swap out contractors for a different stage of project development the customer assumes the responsibility of delivering those technical details to the next contractor. That opens your project up to a level of liability that doesn’t exist in a single source integrator. 

 

Scheduled Communication

 

The schedule outlined with a single source integrator remains the same from the start. Standards for how often meetings take place, the etiquette for emails and calls, and the protocols for emergencies can be laid out from the start. Every company is different, every company has different standards for how they communicate. The most expensive problems in any project arise from poor communication. This is a variable you can’t afford to allow.

 

Single Source Means Accountability

 

If your custom machine or piece of technology gets to the prototype stage with an issue and you have outsourced every stage of the planning, design, and assembly to a different company, who is responsible for fixing that problem? Do you go back to the schematic designer you hired on Fivver five months ago? Do you call the job shop and ask them how it got through testing? Will the prototyping factory floor make those changes without demanding new costs? Do you think the prototyper will pause their production while you solve this expensive puzzle, or move your project further down the queue?  

A single source automation systems integrator is just as financially committed to the project as the customer. They commit their engineers, automation experts, and project manager hours. They purchase the materials, and every team member bears the responsibility for a completed machine. A responsible single source integrator will gate the funds in stages for release after mutual approval. 

Do you think it’s more likely that a machine designer is invested in a finished working prototype if they are a member of a vertical single source process from the beginning to end or if they are job for hire for their stage?  

 

Single Source Protects your Intellectual Property 

 

A single source integrator provides best case protection of your copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets. You can have patents, you can have contracts, and you can claim legal protections, but the best protection is to limit your exposure. A single source integrator prevents your intellectual property from leaking by virtue of keeping all your project details in house and under one roof. The lowest price offshore contractors often take place in countries that have the least intellectual property protection. 

 

Your Project is More than a Product  

 

When people see six or seven figures and one to four years until return on investment, we understand why a customer prioritizes price. If this were just a case of buying goods, of course shopping for the lowest cost would be the smartest decision. At DEVELOP LLC, we understand a custom automated machine integration isn’t buying a robot. Your integration is about capital investment. You’re investing in your business the same way you would if you were buying equipment, vehicles, or property. We are committed to our single source guarantee because it creates the best outcomes for our customer’s capital investment. Single source gets it right the first time, on time, within the budget, and with maximum support for our customers. Tell us more about your project, schedule a virtual meeting, or call (262)-622-6104 to learn more about how our experts can guide you through your project.  

 

 

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