Successfully Integrate Your New Systems!

5 June, 2019 | Blog

MARIO CÔTÉ, P.Eng.

Electrical Engineer

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At BBA, we sometimes work on systems that operate erratically and, as a result, don’t offer the expected performance. Low throughput, frequent shutdowns, premature failure, high electrical or raw materials consumption: the issues can vary.

When discussions ensue, the system’s supplier is often blamed for not meeting the request. But the question that must be asked is: was the request clear? Were the design criteria properly defined to ensure the system would be optimally integrated? In short, did the supplier have everything required to properly meet the client’s needs?

Before even speaking with a supplier, it’s essential to establish project details. This stage is often neglected simply to save money. However, this exercise should be seen as an investment that will lower short-term integration costs and medium-term operating costs.

To avoid pitfalls, we recommend developing an integration plan that complies with the following steps:

  • Clearly define the problem that needs to be corrected. Whether it’s increasing capacity, reducing production time or waste, or summarizing the problem itself to improve planning, doing this will better meet your needs.
  • Hold brainstorming sessions with managers who will be affected by the system integration (operations, maintenance, engineering, OHS, etc.).
  • Establish key performance indicators for the system and integrate measurement tools into the solutions.
  • Develop a summary business plan for each of the selected solutions. Remember to estimate costs over the lifetime of the equipment and to assess business and OHS risks for each solution.
  • Choose a solution with options, where required.
  • Draft technical specifications that will establish design criteria and expected performance, and prepare your guides and standards (equipment, software, programming, etc.). This will ensure compatibility of the technology that will be integrated into the plant’s system while reducing your parts inventory.
  • Prepare a realistic work schedule.
  • Draft a summary description of expected system operations.
  • Establish the scope of work that will include business clauses, in addition to technical specifications. Also include a detailed cost schedule to highlight how much the system’s main elements will cost. Indicate unit costs to make it easier to add or remove certain elements, where necessary.
  • Establish a communication plan to regularly inform stakeholders throughout the entire project lifecycle.

It’s good practice to develop a master integration plan that can be used as a foundational document when you start your next project.

BBA holds recognized experience in developing integration plans and can help you with this key process. Give us a call!

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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