Machine builders that continue to labor under increasing levels of customer support will file this in the "Tell me something I don't know" folder: A combination of shrinking engineering staffs, dwindling capital expenditure budgets, and increased technology standardization are primary contributors to the escalating decision-making influence that industrial OEM machine builders and system integrators have with their customers, say industry analysts at ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com).
As manufacturing companies jettison in-house technical and engineering resources, the machine builder is being given, and sometimes taking, greater control over automation decision-making, as these manufacturers discover they have less to say about the technical elements of the machines they buy and install.
The result, says ARC, is many manufacturers relinquish more and more automation decision-making and system startup activities to technology providers, system integrators, and OEM machine builders. It appears that the acquiring company is losing control of the process.
ARC attempts to explain these company abdications of technical responsibility in a positive light. "Emerging Best Practices take these realities into account and focus manufacturers' acquisition management efforts on control, management, and realization of the ultimate goal of the acquisition process: execution of a plant floor system that meets the manufacturer's original requirements," says ARC vice president Chantal Polsonetti.