For decades, local and regional systems integrator (SI) firms have played an important role within the industrial automation marketplace. Traditionally, this involved helping small-to-midsize organizations implement basic electrical infrastructures and instrument and control systems. Typically, the latter involved standalone or networked PLCs with a PC-based HMI/SCADA system running basic monitoring, control, and data acquisition applications.
While many SIs still operate successfully along this line, increasing competitive pressures and regulatory requirements for clients, combined with an increasingly global industrial marketplace and increasingly sophisticated, IT-based automation technology, create opportunities for a new breed of independent systems integrator firms with extended technical and domain expertise coupled with a global capability to deliver large-scale, enterprise-wide solutions. Paul Galeski, CEO of MAVERICK Technologies, the largest independent systems integrator firm in North America, recently briefed ARC on the challenges and opportunities this marketplace presents.
Manufacturing Technology Value Stack
While most systems integrator firms have a relatively narrow focus, MA-VERICK Technologies engages with its clients across the entire value stack. According to the company's own model, this includes:
In many respects, this resembles the model used by several global, full-line automation suppliers that, in addition to providing automation-related technology and support services, have now also established higher-level enterprise integration and business process consulting practices. However, unlike automation suppliers, MAVERICK is supplier-agnostic, and has partnership relationships with most major process and discrete automation suppliers, industrial software suppliers, and equipment suppliers. "Many companies provide manufacturing technology services to support the products they wish to sell. In contrast, at MAVERICK, our 'product' is our collective skill set, delivered in a consistent way using time-proven business processes, to provide the highest possible value to our clients anywhere in the world," said Mr. Galeski.
According to Galeski, at the top of the list of the company's differentiators, is its capability to provide its local, regional, and global clients with one-stop shopping in manufacturing technology, including automation, business solutions, sustaining services, and reliability technology and staffing.
MAVERICK Industrial Application Portfolio
MAVERICK coined the term, "main enterprise partner," or "MEP," to describe its emerging role within the industrial automation hierarchy. This implies assuming full responsibility for ensuring the success of its global clients' manufacturing technology projects anywhere in the world, including contracting and supervision of third-party contractors and suppliers.
Size Has Its Advantages
With more than 500 professionals (70 percent engineers) and 30 locations in North America, Europe, and Asia, MAVERICK Technologies operates on a different scale than does the conventional SI firm. According to Mr. Galeski, size has its advantages. "Our team represents over 12,000 man-years of collective experience, with a portfolio that includes more than 7,000 successful projects in 45 countries." Mr. Galeski believes this robust offering provides clients with tremendous value, while at the same time, reducing business risk through the company's broad and deep technical resources and domain knowledge, financial strength, global coverage, world-class infrastructure, and excellent safety record.
According to Mr. Galeski, "All our competitors have technical talent. We simply have more talented people and support them better. We also work very hard to retain them by keeping them happy."
MAVERICK's size and global presence enables it to engage successfully with large global clients, including major energy, chemical, food & beverage, pulp & paper, consumer packaged goods, life sciences, semiconductor, and utility companies. According to Galeski, the company's "sweet spot" are the global, manufacturing-focused companies headquartered in the US.
Today's competitive global environment requires development of new best practices and work processes that utilize the latest in technology advances (such as virtualization) that permeate throughout the plant, enterprise, and extended enterprise domains. Increasingly, operating companies are looking beyond the traditional local or regional SI to larger, more financially stable, well-staffed, global service providers that can also serve as trusted advisors on a long-term basis. MAVERICK's long track record for profitable growth and a long list of satisfied clients puts it in a unique category of system integrators. ARC believes that it is the first integrator with a truly global delivery system.
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