Standardization of automation systems can lead to reduced validation effort and costs. Standardization is possible on company scale or on site scale. In an international company, standardization may give difficulties dues to regional and cultural differences, physical distances and different time zones, but if you can overcome these difficulties, the savings are increased. If standardization is done on a site only, keep in mind that systems have to interface to other company systems, like ERP systems.
Advantages of standardization on systems are:
- increased knowledge of the systems
- reduction on Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and Work Instructions (WI)
- reuse of application software (with limited validation)
- reduction on maintenance contracts and costs
Advantages of standardization on suppliers are:
- higher discounts
- mutual understanding of the working processes
- influence on roadmap of the system
- fast response for problem solving
Keep in mind that standardization on suppliers may lead to dependency of a supplier and may lead to higher prices.