Why Use A Specialist

Experience

  • Experience is what determines if your project is a success or not
    • We have analyzed more than $100 million in custom automation projects run through Mark’s prior company. The single most predictive element for project success is mechanical engineering experience.
    • Experience permits a more accurate assessment of risk, reducing the likelihood of schedule slips and under-performance
    • Experience lets us anticipate likely additional requirements you or your customer may impose, reducing the cost and schedule impact of late-project changes
    • We have operated with success in many industries: Automotive, consumer goods, medical, defense, aerospace, solar, electronics, food and dozens of others. We have worked with everyone from fortune 100 companies to Silicon Valley start-ups.  This diversity of experience lets us pull good ideas and techniques from one industry and apply them to other industries.
  • All of the influencers on our team are industry vets:
    • Mark, the owner and lead engineer has 37 years of custom automation experience
    • Steve, the VP Sales/Project Manager has 22 years of machine design and 16 years of project management experience
    • Joe, the lead programmer has 32 years of machine programming experience
  • Having grown one automation company already, we have installed the control and management systems of a much larger company. You will not be a victim of “growing pains”
  • Our plan is to grow commensurate with the available talent. We will not grow at the expense of diluting our technical talent.
    • We have worked in this region and this industry for decades. We know almost everyone in the community, and can hire selectively

Integrity

  • Commitment to schedule
    • We quote achievable schedules
      • As we combine applications engineering and project management, the person making the commitment is also the one who is responsible for achieving it
    • Our experience permits us to accurately access debug effort
      • The most common justification automation vendors use to shrink delivery times is to assume that debug will be short and easy. It never is.
  •  Transparency
    • Clear scope of work definition in the proposal
      • We will clearly state what the machine will and won’t do
      • We will clearly state customer requirements
      • We will clearly state assumptions we have made in generating the proposal
  • Regular, dedicated project management
    • We report all problems as early as possible
      • We will note if customer action is required, or if the report is informational in nature
      • We will resist the natural urge to assume that things will get better, that problems will disappear. They never do.
    • We provide weekly reports, with open items, bill of material and manufacturing status and decision history

 

Quality

  • Over the years we’ve used components from a number of vendors. We know who is reliable, who supports their products, and what is the best fit for each application
  • We will use your house standards if provided
  • Our house standards are biased to reliability and performance, not lowest cost

 

Continuity

  • You will not start over- the sales engineer is the project manager
    • It is often the case that you develop a relationship with the sales team, and impart a lot of background information about your product and how it must be handled. After the sale, you have to start over with the operations team, wasting your time and risking vital context being lost.
    • At Automation Specialist Services, the sales lead will manage your project throughout.
  • Lead engineer is the owner-fully involved
    • Mark Pfeifer will take the design lead on all systems
      • Turn-over package to each engineer includes a detailed station design, with each move or motion developed
    • As Mark owns the company, the ultimate decision maker is intimately involved on all technical issues
  • Full service
    • We can work as prime contractor, coordinating your vendors, or we can work as part of a team.
    • We perform all major functions in-house, including design, programming, vision, robot programming, assembly, panel build and debug.
      • Although we retain a machine shop, the majority of manufacturing is out-sourced.
      • Base fabrication (welding and Blanchard grinding) is typically out-sourced
    • We provide both on site and internet based troubleshooting and service.

 

Flexibility

  • We handle changes with grace
    • Customers do not request changes because the want to complicate our job, we understand you have a customer as well.
    • Change orders are not an expected profit center for us.  We will cover our costs but will not use change orders to salvage an under-bid job.
  • Anticipate future needs
    • Our experience allows us to anticipate requirements that pop up during a project. By leaving space for an additional QC check, having a fall-back assembly method or recognizing when a customer’s part tolerances are unlikely to be achievable we can build risk reduction into the project from the start.
    • We will take the likely evolution of the product into consideration
      • To the degree practical, we will not blindly assume that print tolerances will be achieved
    • We work with customer
      • We are an agile company. If you can contribute specific process expertise we will use it.  We will work with other automation vendors if requested.
      • Although it requires careful scope definition, we can integrate your team members to reduce cost
        • Customer manufacturing can be used
        • Customer personnel can assist or even perform the majority of installations

Humility

  • Our job is not only to deliver a quality machine, but to make you look good
    • Buying expensive capital equipment risks more than your schedule. Your personal reputation and hundreds of hours of your time are committed as well.
  • We will never lose sight of the fact that the customer is the reason we are in business.
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