The proliferation of Internet-based technology has had a significant impact on industry, and water utilities are no exception. But while utilities stand to benefit greatly from the Internet of Things, current procurement practices could limit future opportunities for improvement – and cost savings.
Historically, municipal water utilities have procured control systems and equipment on a project-by-project basis through a public open bidding process. The municipality or an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm generates a set of project specifications, and the qualified bidder with the lowest cost generally secures the project.
This method, sometimes called “Design-Bid-Build,” focuses on current needs and initial capital equipment costs. On the surface, it appears clear-cut.
However, repeated over the 20-year or more lifecycle of a water system, this method can result in a patchwork of disparate control systems. One control platform may offer the best price point one year; another two years later.
Resulting integration challenges often lead to compromised access to system information, cyber security issues, and the inability to easily enhance or expand the system.
There’s a better way.
Increasingly, municipalities are following the lead of many industries and taking a Quality Based Selection (QBS) approach to procurement.
The QBS model is a pre-selection procurement system that focuses on the long-term lifecycle costs and overall sustainability of competing solutions – not only upfront capital costs. It supports a process that many utilities are adopting called “Design-Build.”
This process evaluates solutions based on defined, weighted and comprehensive criteria that encompass a supplier’s technology portfolio and expertise, solution delivery method, local service model, and of course, pricing.
A Design-Build procurement process based on QBS methodology meets immediate needs – and also sets a technology direction for the future. With a commitment to a technology approach, water utilities can better ensure migration paths – and minimize integration and security issues.
Rockwell Automation solutions delivered under the Design-Build model help water utilities achieve a secure, seamlessly integrated solution built for maintainability and a lower cost of ownership. Take a look at the results this customer achieved.
Learn how Rockwell Automation can help your water utility create a control infrastructure designed to leverage the power of the Internet – and emerging technologies – for years to come.