Find a Control System Integrator Near You That Will Keep Your Project on Budget

Find a Control System Integrator Near You That Will Keep Your Project on Budget

The job of a controls engineer and system integrator requires a variety of skill sets. Not only do they have to be expert technicians, well-versed in current and emerging controls & automation technologies, but they also must be strong communicators and manage projects effectively to keep you on budget.

If you are searching for a control engineer near you, consider the experts at Pacific Blue Engineering for your next project. With deep experience creating customized automation solutions across various industries, the Pacific Blue Engineering team can help with systems engineering, legacy controls modernization and cutting-edge automation technology while working within your budget.

7 Keys to Keeping Control Projects on Budget

There are seven key steps involved in ensuring budgets stay under control. When evaluating controls engineers, you want to make sure they deploy these best practices.

1.  Scope Definition

Keeping projects on budget requires clearly defining the project requirements and getting stakeholders to sign off. An unclear or changing project scope is one of the biggest problems of cost overrun. You need a control engineering firm that has deep experience in analyzing, designing, and implementing control systems to make sure everything is addressed within your project plan.

The earlier you can lock down the scope of your plan, the more likely you are to keep costs under control.

2.  Control Plans and Timelines

As the plan develops, it should include detailed project planning, timelines, and key milestones. This can get complex as many tasks may overlap. Others may have to happen sequentially and impact subsequent steps, so you need an experienced controls engineering planner to plot timelines carefully and have contingencies in place in case things need to slide.

3.  Manage Procurement Closely

Costs can vary greatly based on the hardware and software you need. While your project scope and budget will detail costs, you get better deals working with a system integrator that has ties to major vendors and suppliers. Often, they get discounts for bulk buying. They may also get discounts for early commitments.

4.  Monitoring and Reporting

Project managers closely track actual costs vs. budgets and forecasts. They can explain any discrepancies and make mid-stream adjustments to overcome them and keep projects running smoothly. You should expect regular progress reports with cost accounting.

5.  Consistent Communication

One of the keys to project success is regular communication between the control engineering team and stakeholders. There should be a running dialogue about potential issues that may impact the budget with a formal process for approving any changes.

6.  Control Scope Creep

Scope creep can not only add to project budgets but can also create delays in implementation. Any additional requirements added after launch should be carefully evaluated.

For example, if the initial scope called for upgrading select PLC programmables within a system, but as the project developed, you decided you wanted to upgrade all of the PLCs, that could significantly impact costs and may lead to delays in meeting deadlines. In considering any scope change, you want to evaluate the ROI of adding requirements against any additional costs or delays.

7.  Contingency Planning

No matter how well the project scope is defined and the budget is managed, there may be unexpected or unforeseen challenges that arise. There may be delays in receiving critical components from suppliers, backorders, or supply chain disruptions. Regulatory or compliance requirements can change, forcing design modifications. Unexpected technical issues can arise during testing.

There are all sorts of things that can arise during a control systems project that impact budget and scheduling. Companies should budget for contingency funds upfront. Your project manager can discuss an appropriate amount that should be held in reserve to deal with unknowns. A risk analysis can help determine the right amount, but it is common for engineering projects to allocate 5% to 20% for contingency.

Talk to the Experts at Pacific Blue Engineering

With the right analysis, planning, and forecasting, you can keep projects on schedule and budget. It takes an experienced controls system integrator, like Pacific Blue Engineering, to make it happen.

When searching for a controls engineer near you, consider the experts at Pacific Blue Engineering for your next project. With proven experience in creating efficient and optimized industrial automation solutions, Pacific Blue Engineering can analyze, design and implement automation and control solutions using the PLC programmables you need to achieve your goals.

Contact the experts at Pacific Blue Engineering to request a consultation to discuss your needs.

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