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2 min read

Consider a Team approach for your Automation Support

The need for a temporary or full-time automation support resource at manufacturing, utility, and municipal sites to handle the day-to-day control system needs is not new, and with the ‘Great Resignation’ the number of requests that we get for long-term onsite assistance has noticeably increased. If your site is in need of automation system support you may want to consider the advantages in contracting a team of engineers from your system integrator, who are all cross-trained in maintenance of your systems, over that of a single individual.

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With a team of engineers providing rotating support for your control systems the breaks in your coverage will be greatly reduced. A two-week vacation is easy to work around when you have other engineers that are trained in your system and familiar with your staff. Even unexpected life events, illness, and family emergencies can usually be mitigated with other engineers from your team stepping up when needed.

SurGE Support

For the most part you may only need one engineer to handle the day-to-day issues or feature requests needed to keep your facility running smoothly and efficiently. On the occasions when you need additional support to handle efforts, such as an I/O checkout, the commissioning of a new control system feature, or leading an electrical or instrumentation contractor, it is helpful to bring in additional personnel rather than rely on the onsite engineer who could be pulled away to manage an immediate operational need in a different area of your facility.

dEpth of support

Your automation team will likely be made of diverse set of engineers, each with their own skills and unique backgrounds. When you have a problem that needs to be solved your team will be able to bring their collective experience to bear to diagnose and resolve the situation. Your team will also have the bandwidth to investigate recurring problems and help eliminate them permanently, reducing future downtime.

Emergency COVERAGE

Control system problems always seem to happen after hours. Coupling your support team with an emergency contract will allow you to sleep better at night knowing that you have a skilled team providing a safety net for your control system that will help limit downtime events when they occur.

project Execution

While supporting your site your support team will get to know your operations personnel, your processes, and the procedures involved in the day-to-day running of your systems. As your site develops new capital investments, be it greenfield, brownfield, or a system modernization, members of your support team will work as part of the implementation team and be able to apply the knowledge and insight that they have gained from their experiences in your new control system thereby ensuring that the end result meets the needs of your site. With a fully-staffed support team, capital projects can be given the necessary attention without sacrificing day-to-day support - a sacrifice which can lead to lengthened unplanned downtimes.

The team approach does cost a bit more than hiring an individual due to the effort involved in cross-training each of the members. However, it is not difficult to see how the benefits listed above could result in greater control system uptime, making an investment like this worth considering if you are trying to staff a full-time, part-time, or temporary automation position.

Learn more about how ACE’s approach to support and training can help improve your uptime and secure your systems.