By Vice President of Sales and Marketing Greg Graves
Many products have a brand name that is synonymous with the product function so that no explanation is needed as to how it works. The point at which a company achieves such brand recognition is when differentiation has truly been created. When I worked for a large automation manufacturer, one of our distributors would always suggest that we talk about our products using language that is well-understood by our customers. We would occasionally lapse into the use of certain brand and product names as if those, alone, explained the functionality of our products and services.
For years, my current company has described itself as a systems integrator. But systems integration is only a subset of what we do on a day-to-day basis. Recently we have been thinking of the best way to describe what we do and I just can’t get that distributor’s wisdom out of my head. “Don’t invent new words to describe things people already know and understand.”
Now you could say that I am working for a system integrator/specialty engineering firm/technical services provider/specialized construction firm/specialty systems assembler. What do you even call a firm that does those things on a relatively large scale?
We are a System Integrator, but this is a subset of our function with customers and in the markets we serve. That function often includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- Electrical Control & Instrumentation Design Engineering & Software Development
- Professional Services & Consulting on various aspects of Electrical Systems, Control Systems, Safety System Specification & Project Development
- Manufacture & Assembly of standardize or custom control panels, consoles, E-houses, etc.
- Electrical & Instrument Construction Management & execution for jobs relating to control systems we design
- An array of life cycle support contracts, remote support services, & emergency call out
- OT (Operation Technologies) including – Network Design, Server Design & Configuration, along with any number of IT oriented services deployed for Industrial customers.
We often do business as a supplier to companies who are commonly referred to as, “EPC firms.” They are firms who have the engineering discipline and the management expertise to engineer, procure, and construct (EPC) entire plants. They take total responsibility for the outcomes of such projects.
I am beginning to think of our company as an Automation EPC firm. Yes, we do system integration but will take responsibility for every aspect of the electrical, control, and instrumentation portions of a project. Sure – there are some limits. But with respect to automation, an entire suite of integrated services is delivered turnkey. Does that describe our firm’s functions to our customers? “Automation” and “EPC” are not “new words” to our customers, by any means. They may, in fact, put us well on our way to describing how we have created our own differentiation.
View the video interview on this subject: