1. When maintaining internal capabilities is challenged, and limited only to the ability to find and retain personnel with expertise on process, engineering and technology.
2. When internal resources, no matter how good, become limited in that they do not get broad exposure to valuable lessons already learned by other companies/industries.
3. When maintaining cross shift 24/7 coverage in multishift environments is cost prohibitive, resulting in lower end-shift production.
4. When your best internal people are spending all of their time just keeping the plant running instead of looking for ways to make you more productive and competitive.
5. When capital projects for the implementation of technology begin to become the business rather than be an operational enabler that supports the business.
6. When the dynamics of your business are continually in flux and you need the benefit of multiple independent skill sets at different times.
7. When the plant operations group spends more time collecting and compiling operational data than they do finding ways to improve the operational elements that drive production, quality and profitability.
8. When your operations and/or engineering group tells you that the plant is operating at the maximum effectiveness possible... and you know that there is always room for improvement.
9. When you are still trying to determine what your business gain was from the last systems you put in two years after the project was completed.
10. When your plant creates so many paper forms that you can wallpaper the plant manager's office with new ones every day.
Source: Martin Michael, Advanced Automation