It makes sense to use standard products for controlling the majority of automation functions, but increasingly it’s being recognised that by customising “critical” elements of a system, OEM’s can protect their IP and safeguard against copy products reaching the market, potentially damaging profitability, ruining the aftersales business and often producing inferior end products. At Parker, we are helping combat this with a host of solutions that can be tailored to specific needs.
Increasing choice for OEMs
There is no denying that many of today’s automation products are extremely similar in terms of their physical makeup, making a substitution for lower quality, inferior alternatives a challenge. Historically, Automation manufacturers have dealt with this by creating proprietary communication networks, or products that only work with other products from the same manufacturer. This, however, reduces choice for OEMs and in some cases has resulted in End-User lock-in, where the sheer volume of products on-site from a particular manufacturer, makes it impossible to change to another perhaps higher performance alternative.
Parker’s answer to this has been to offer the OEM additional functionality within the products in terms of software function blocks. These blocks can be protected by the OEM, through customised products that match exactly the specific needs of the OEM and by creating new products exclusively for a particular OEM. All of this adds up to massive savings in terms of engineering resources and costs, and time in bringing new machinery to market.
Working with Parker presents customers with a real opportunity to capitalise on some of the most advanced and highest performing products and solutions available in the marketplace, providing a significant competitive advantage against their competitors.
Today’s machine builders need to deliver value for money at many levels and every aspect of a machine is technically scrutinised, then once the specification is clear the whole project is subjected to the rigours of the purchasing department. Fortunately, we have also given considerable thought to these issues and it makes the decision to use Parker a relatively simple one because of lean principles and stocking levels.
Our entire design and manufacturing operations work on the principles of lean which means that from the outset our engineers are focused on achieving the best possible design at the best possible cost. All of our component suppliers are rigorously vetted to ensure that they are not only suitable from a quality and reliability standpoint, but also from their ability to offer the best possible products at the most competitive prices over the longer term.
Stocking levels are optimised to customer demand which means we don’t have vast warehouses full of products which inevitably carry an associated overhead which would negatively impact on the affordability of our products, but equally we maintain the ability to respond to customer needs.
By taking such a robust stance, we are able to include as standard, functionality in our products that many of our competitors charge extra for. This means that machine builders no longer have to compromise on performance and functionality due to cost.
Article contributed by EMEA Automation Group
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