My wife and I needed a project. We're not old – at least we don't feel it – and our children have grown up.
My golf handicap has improved and I love spending time on the course, but we wanted something to really sink our teeth into together.
So we've decided to roll back the years and do what we did when were newly married. We're buying and renovating a house.
We've already found a place we like the look of and just got to the all-important surveying stage.
While considering our options for this assessment, and remembering our first venture into the property market all those years ago, I was struck by an obvious professional parallel regarding industrial automation safety assessments.
Let me explain.
We've worked very hard at Rockwell Automation recently to really understand what our customers need in terms of the safety services we offer. We've been living our brand motto of Listen. Think. Solve®.
The listen phase made us look closely at the assessment services we offer and speak to a variety of our customers and those who attend our regular events and training sessions.
What we found is that, in the same way as my wife and I are in a different position to buy a house this time to when we first started out, our customers have very different needs when it comes to assessing the safety of their plants or equipment.
So that got my colleagues and me to the think phase of trying to understand how to offer the right kind of assessments to suit our customers' exact needs. And the solution is the vastly improved scalability of our assessment services.
There are several types of survey that you can do on a house when buying it and knowing which one is best is partly about what you need, partly about what you can afford, and partly about what your intentions with the property are.
Right at the basic level – and where we were as a bright young ambitious couple over twenty years ago, is the mortgage valuation.
That's the bare-minimum. It simply tells your lender that the house is worth lending against. Then there are three further levels of proper survey – a Condition Report, a Homebuyer's Report and a Buildings Survey.
The first is fine if it's a fairly new house and you need some reassurance, the second if it's newish or older and you have some minor concerns about its condition, while the third is important, if, like my wife and me this time, you are buying a very old or dilapidated property with a mind do doing some serious work to it. Getting the level of survey right is important.
And so it goes with safety assessment. There are various levels of safety assessment required for companies in different positions.
For some companies, reaching basic compliance for a single machine is all that is needed. For others, there can be competitive advantages to the bottom line from using market-leading solutions that improve uptime across a global business involving multiple plant sites.
Benefits of efficiency aside, the costs involved in the more in-depth assessments would be prohibitive for smaller businesses anyway. The needs of a local boutique sweet manufacturer, for example, are different to those of a global confectionery giant.
Similarly, the risk assessments needed for an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to validate a new machine are different from a complex multi-line factory or a power plant integrating tens or hundreds of pieces of equipment.
Whatever the risk assessment needs – from an initial discovery phase, to a single machine assessment, all the way through to a whole line, factory or multi-site organisation, it is important that they can get the best services from the most experienced service providers possible.
Making the right decisions for your future, whether you are buying a house or verifying the sustainability of your enterprise, often involves consideration for elements that are beyond your own expertise, so getting advice from people who can help you to understand how your ambition is best matched by the services available according to your budget is vital.
And that's exactly why we developed the scalability of our assessment services – so that we could offer everyone the right solution.
If you'd like to have a consultation with one of our skilled and experienced team, contact us.
Safety, like our mid-life crisis, doesn't need to be guesswork.