Variations can be a pain in the neck during a control system project delivery because they can cause delays, increase costs, and create uncertainty and confusion. They can also lead to disputes and disagreements between the company and the system integrator, which can negatively impact the overall relationship.

When variations occur, it can disrupt the project schedule and timeline, which can lead to delays in completing the project. This can also lead to additional costs and expenses, as the integrator may need to perform additional work or make changes to the project that were not initially included in the scope of work.

Variations can also create uncertainty and confusion for all parties involved, as it may not be clear how the changes will impact the final outcome of the project. This can also lead to disputes and disagreements between the company and the integrator, as each party may have different expectations and understanding of the changes.

To avoid variations when engaging a system integrator to deliver automation projects, it is important to clearly define and document Scope of work, Deliverables, Cost and Milestones in a detailed contract or agreement. This should include specific timelines, milestones, and payment terms. It is also important to go through and understand the conditions of the offer made by the system integrator company, for example, assumptions and exclusions. This helps not only have a better understanding of a system integrator’s proposal but also help yourself set a realistic budget for the project. I have seen in many cases that the buyer didn’t pay attention to the assumptions and exclusions in the proposal and had to be pay more on variations once the project is started.

For a large project, it is necessary to plan the project by undertaking a feasibility study. It is also important to establish clear lines of communication and regular progress updates. Additionally, it may be beneficial to have a third-party project manager or consultant to act as a liaison between the integrator and the company to ensure that the project stays on track and that any issues are addressed in a timely manner. Finally, it is important to be prepared to be flexible and willing to work with the integrator to address any unforeseen challenges that may arise.

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