The history of contracts dates back to ancient civilisation. In the UK, we were heavily influenced by Ancient Greek and Roman thought. For instance, Roman law identified discrete categories of contractual transaction which needed to be fulfilled in order for promises to be enforced. Fast forward to the industrial revolution and a contract was seen as partly a sign of progress. Even in today’s business world, the signing of a contract is seen as a good thing and a positive step forward. Here, Chris Barlow, Technical Director at Astec IT Solutions explains why.
These positive aspects are even more relevant when it comes to Support and Maintenance Contracts for your industrial IT systems. As manufacturers move towards an integrated digital operating environment with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) placed firmly at the centre of this industrial transformation. Many plants have incrementally upgraded over the years in a bid to embrace digitalisation and gain a competitive edge.
This in itself brings with it certain issues. Plant Operators/Managers and Operational staff have to constantly upgrade their skills in order to keep pace with the advancing technology. This puts an increasing strain on businesses, which is only exacerbated more by staff turnover due to retirement, career progression, sickness etc. Not having the correct technical people available is a strategic risk for manufacturing businesses and can in the worst circumstances lead to a plant shutdown.
One solution is to have an outside Support and Maintenance contract with a company such as Astec IT Solutions. This will ensure that you always have ongoing technical support to safeguard your operation, regardless of whether you need to urgently resolve production issues, require general maintenance or ad-hoc system changes.
But peace of mind is not the only reason for having a good support and maintenance contract in place. If you don’t have a contract that covers your needs in place, you’ll end up paying for ad-hoc services; which is expensive This is because the pricing for ad-hoc support and maintenance can mount up above the monthly cost for an all-inclusive service. Furthermore, ad-hoc services are usually outside of any Service Level Agreement (SLA) so you could end up waiting an unacceptable length of time for a resolution.
Plus, it is in the support contract’s provider’s best interest to keep your system working as smoothly as possible. Your provider doesn’t earn any extra when they have to send an engineer on-site, so a good fixed price IT support and maintenance provider will be performing a lot of preventative maintenance and pro-active monitoring.
The logical outcome of all the preventative maintenance mentioned above, is that your systems should be more reliable. Astec IT Solutions also have an excellent continuous remote monitoring solution available to report on real-time equipment and system status, enabling them to provide an early warning of any issues that may affect your operation before they cascade and become a major problem, saving you from unplanned downtime and the associated financial losses.
To learn more about our range of flexible support plans which provide expert technical support and ongoing system maintenance click here.