Whether you are at engineering capacity and simply ready to offload work or looking for process controls expertise, outsourcing your control panel design and manufacturing can be the right option. On one hand, giving up control is nerve-racking. On the other, it allows you to focus on your core competency while the respective experts in controls handle a smaller portion of your operations.

Choosing the right partner for controls is often the difference between great, mutually beneficial relationships and headaches or lost opportunities. Here are the top 5 things to look for when you are choosing your industrial controls partner:

  1. True Partnership

Everyone looks good when the relationship goes well. The true test of a business relationship happens when issues arise. At the end of the day, are you dealing with someone who is going to point fingers or roll up their sleeves, get the job done, and figure out how to make it right? A true partner will never leave you hanging, be there with you every step of the way, and build long term relationships. The ultimate measure of a partner is not how they act in moments of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in moments of challenge and controversy

  1. Broad Engineering and Manufacturing Expertise

Whether it is your own design or you need one created, a company that has both engineering and manufacturing expertise is a huge asset to building great products for the real world.

The engineering arm of a panel shop enhances your design through suggestions to improve manufacturability, utilize new technologies, and navigate certification requirements.  Additionally, high volumes of controls work in a variety of industries will give the top controls manufactures experience and insights into creative ways a problem can be solved.

  1. Documented Quality Process

You put a lot of time and effort into making sure your customers are satisfied; the controls you outsourced should not be a concern when the project is finished. For the best controls manufacturers quality is not an afterthought but a vital part of the overall process. Ask to see the quality control process that the controls manufacturer has in place. It should be standardized and documented. Further proof of high quality standards will be apparent in any 3rd party certifications held. Should something go wrong, the true controls partner will stand behind their product 100%.

  1. Track Record of On-Time Delivery

While quality is paramount, on-time delivery is also significant to overall project planning. If a control panel manufacturer cannot show you their on-time delivery percentage, do not expect your order to show up when you expect it.

Staying on schedule, being on the same page when changes arise, receiving bad news early enough to adjust, it’s all part of great project management. Regardless of the source of a schedule change, a great manufacturer will be able to crunch the schedule through flexible manufacturing processes and working with suppliers.

  1. Reputation with Customers and Suppliers

Anybody can “buy” work for a limited amount of time. The firms that have gained the trust of their clients will have many stories of repeat business. Ask your prospective partner for references from their clients, or better yet find some unbiased 3rd party opinions yourself. If a company performs great work, their reputation will precede them.

The decision to outsource any part of your business is not to be taken lightly. If you do find partnering to outsource your controls the best way to grow, make sure to follow these guidelines to ensure it goes smoothly.