With all the system advancements, the engineers assigned to the project team – which can possibly include good consultants – should determine the challenges that comes with the decision process. The team composing of design engineers should start their planning early on if they would like to achieve a positive and accomplished result. In order to have the best strategy, the tools and methods should be planned by putting the subjective and emotional biases aside. These tools and methods are designed to give some clarity and objectivity on the types of projects to make more realistic decisions.
In order to start this process, the team should have a good birds eye view on what the company produces and how these products are produced.
The next step would be identifying the key elements or the critical quality (CTQ) parameters to have the biggest impact on the quality and efficiency of the product. The major key stakeholders in the company should be involved in the automation of any project to help the engineers to determine the right CTQ list. The key stakeholders are composed of: operator, process engineers, production management people, maintenance, operators and such. To make this effective as possible, the stakeholders should ask themselves if what makes a successful day in the operations successful and where PCS can fit? The CTQ list of elements must be arranged in order where it is categorized starting from the most important element. This method will help the users to easily gage the strengths and weakness of the PCS.
Once the previous step is done and the CTQ elements are already listed, the following step would be ranking the vendors on their ability to meet the requirements. The items listed should be greatly considered and ranked based on its performance from the time it is listed – for the very reason that the vendors should be adaptable to change especially with the emerging technology trends. With this in mind, some example would be systems transitioning from propriety platforms and they switch to Microsoft Windows. Another example would be switching from serial networks to Ethernet and this can be done more easily than others. These tracking records are very useful in giving out information on how a vendor will respond with the new developments in technology.
Very small number of people that works in a processing manufacturing facilities despite of the longevity of their work experience have experienced in participating in more than one PCS major installation or migration projects. For the very reason that these tasks happen very infrequently because of this is not an easy task at all. In addition to this, a PCS vendor there is a possibility that he lacks in overall experience in terms of some project’s site-specific elements.