Gray Solutions' Walker Mattox discussed the challenge of successfully implementing SI.
As food processors around the globe modernize their facilities in response to growing demand, the challenge of developing an SI strategy can loom large. A recent Food Engineering article featuring top SI experts, including Walker Mattox, CEO of Gray Solutions, helps clarify this process.
According to Mattox, the best choice lies with the SI that provides not only the technology, but also the partnership tools necessary to refine an operation’s strengths, shore up its weaknesses, and prepare it for a long and profitable future. This extends beyond common automation trends such as palletization and into the integrator’s ability to understand your specific operation, demonstrate measurable improvements from past projects, and prepare teams to take ownership of new systems once in place.
“Full-service SI providers should provide a specific innovation focus that looks ahead 5-10 years to build capabilities for tomorrow’s solutions and keep manufacturers ahead of the curve”, says Mattox.
Prior to now, most system integration was reserved for giant corporate processors with large budgets and the resources to field their own engineering staffs. But recent advances in technology and business infrastructure have made it more practical for small- and medium-sized operators to consider their automation strategy.
Such a shift toward fully integrated facilities impacts the entire operation. Considering the complexity of merging IT and OT networks, collaborating with multiple vendors, and ensuring network security, it’s important for leaders to delineate roles and responsibilities. Involving the right teams begins in the planning phase and continues throughout the project, even up to handoff and new systems training.
“A great plan involves all team members, including safety, quality, operations, maintenance, finance—and a best-in-class integration partner,” says Mattox.
For more information on how Gray Solutions can help maximize your operational efficiency with a fully integrated facility, check out our Services page.