So, your refinery or extraction plant project has been green lighted. Congratulations! What do you do next?

When choosing a technology partner, chances are you'll have a wide range of options - each one of them saying they are your best bet with me-too descriptors about their offerings. How then are you to pick the right technology partner for your specific project? Price should be your last consideration. Using my years of industry experience, I've developed a checklist to help you make an informed decision for your project.

Do they have demonstrable expertise in the oils and fats processing industry?

Give all the companies pitching for your project a questionnaire to illustrate how they will manage this project if selected. What is their project management methodology? How they will address unexpected challenges, so the project doesn't get delayed.

No company will tick all your boxes, but getting detailed information from each will help you ascertain which one of them is the best suited for your particular project. A good partner will not only be able to help you scope your current and future requirements accurately, but they will also be in a position to anticipate potential challenges.

Are they meticulous in their URS (User Requirement Specifications) scoping?

The right technology partner will take the pains to learn everything they need to about your project, your company and your goals. They will evaluate your unique onsite challenges and offer recommendations on how to address them. A big red flag is if they don't come back to you with any questions or do not even attempt to understand your current and future business goals.

How transparent are they with their concerns?

With any project, there are complications. Some can be anticipated, others not so much. Your technology partner should be open about the challenges they expect, especially challenges about your unique context. They should also have a plan to address these apparent challenges.

Are they really as good as they claim?

Evaluate your partner's credentials through the work they have done in the past. Have they handled projects of similar complexity in your geography? Who are their clients? What do they say about them? What is their percentage of repeat business and successful outcomes? What is their track record on delivery? Do they have a good after-sales service record? Do they make recommendations on what spares you should stock or what training your operators will need after installation is complete? Do they provide detailed documentation on how to maintain your plant? How quickly will they address a support request in case of a breakdown or fault?

Do they have a backup plan for unexpected scenarios or a methodology to tackle unexpected ones?

The goal of any project manager is to have their project delivered to budget and on time. Never happens. Not in the real world. Irrespective of industry or geography, a significant number of projects are executed late or over budget. And good technology partners will acknowledge this upfront. The great ones will use meticulous planning and execution to keep common project challenges to a bare minimum. The terrific ones will also have a transparent methodology to deal with unexpected challenges.

The right partner will come to you with a clear strategy for the usual and the unexpected. They will dig in when things aren't working out and support you until your project is completed.

Are they good puzzle solvers?

All projects are made up of several moving pieces and several internal and external stakeholders. The right technology partner will manage customer expectations while efficiently controlling the delivery side. In addition, they will have their own network of reliable suppliers and logistics providers to deliver all the micro elements.

All in all, you cannot switch out expertise and capability for short term savings. Pick a technology partner that offers you current and a future value greater than what you are seeking. You'll never go wrong with your choice.


You might find these interesting:

A simple guide to edible oil refining
Learn everything about batch refining of oils
Why it is imperative to innovate in the edible oils processing industry

For 82 years, Kumar has been delivering dependable process engineering solutions to the oils and fats industry. We're known for our robustly engineered, versatile and operationally profitable plant and machinery. It's why over 500 customers in 65 countries depend on us to solve their processing challenges, big or small. If you’d like to know more about our solutions please fill out the form below:

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