When things get more challenging - STEMMER IMAGING Project Services
14 Jun 2022 | Reading time: 2 min
4 questions to
Project Services, STEMMER IMAGING
When your neighbour asks you what you do for a living, what do you answer?
As head of project management, I work with my team to ensure that challenging, customer-specific machine vision development projects for software and hardware run successfully all the way from planning and implementation to possible series production.
Close coordination between customers, suppliers, our development department, our own production and our own strategic ideas is the key to making this happen.
Can you briefly outline how STEMMER IMAGING defines a project? What requirements have to be met before a customer request becomes a project and ends up in your team?
In fact, our work in the project management team already begins before a customer request even exists. Our colleagues in sales actively search for potential candidates and discuss them with us at an early stage.
For us, a project is always a customer-specific solution, and its implementation typically requires several extensive services in addition to machine vision components, involving close coordination between various stakeholders.
The services include, for example, requirements analyses, solution design, feasibility studies, software or hardware development, and production planning.
With our project business, we internally set ourselves apart from traditional component distribution, for which we only provide a limited and quite often standardised range of additional services.
What are the benefits for the customers and what are the biggest challenges?
Our customers receive tailor-made solutions that have been developed or modified to meet their specific needs. The benefits vary depending on the type of customer. Some customers are machine vision newcomers and need our expertise to be able to implement a specific solution. Other customers use our resources and experience to get their own products and solutions to market as quickly as possible. And others want to focus strategically on their own core competencies and outsource the development or production of partial solutions accordingly.
In this way, we ensure that all our customers receive the best possible solution from a single source while still keeping control over those parts that are essential for them.
As an example, we can point out a development project for a customer with expertise in the field of artificial intelligence. In this case, we develop a highly sophisticated image acquisition system, including system design, hardware setup, synchronisation, calibration and image pre-processing. Based on this system, the customer can apply his own know-how and evaluate the prepared images accordingly.
One of the main challenges, in my view, is the issue of resources. Our projects are typically new developments or modifications, which makes it impossible to accurately forecast the expected development effort when the project is launched. In addition, the availability and delivery times of components as well as the necessary feedback from customers can quickly lead to delays.
Project runtimes of up to one year are not uncommon. Multiple development projects running at the same time can therefore lead to workload peaks, which must be clearly communicated internally and externally. For this reason, we are currently expanding our network of external and specialised service providers and suppliers who can work with us during peak times.
Some things remain invisible – like our machine vision solutions, which are often well "hidden" in the systems and production facilities of well-known manufacturers. Can you tell us about some applications using solutions developed by your team?
Unfortunately, we cannot talk about many exciting applications because they are often confidential projects.
Let's just say that our solutions are used in many standard industrial manufacturing machines, in large logistics halls, in cars, ships and trains. More and more, however, they can be found in rather new areas, such as on golf courses, in football stadiums or leisure and entertainment facilities.
This huge variety of topics is particularly fun and I can't predict today for which application we will develop a solution with the next customer.