Building Your Electrical Switchboards In-house – Does It Make Sense?

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There’s a few equipment manufacturers and system builders out there that build their electrical control panels and switchboards in-house. They often say it saves them money and hassle – but is this really the case?
Here’s some of the factors they might not be taking into account.

Buying Power

A dedicated switchboard builder is placing orders almost every day with the major switchgear component manufacturers. Rather than buying from the local electrical wholesaler, they’re buying from the wholesaler’s suppliers – at the same or even better pricing.

You may be buying components at a great price; but a switchboard builder can probably supply the parts even cheaper.

Utilisation Factor

As we all know, projects aren’t normally a steady, consistent flow. There’s always quiet times and busy times – your in-house electricians may be flat out one day and sitting around the next. This can be enormously costly over time.

Outsourcing your control panel building can be far more scalable and cost-effective in this case.

Efficiency & Quality

Often your in-house electrician will be doing everything from designing boards to building them, metalwork to PLC programming. This can be a chronically inefficient process and can contribute to quality defects.

A good switchboard builder will have an efficient production line, with dedicated staff on each stage of the project – ensuring a timely, efficient and quality result.

Administrative Overhead

When comparing cost with outsourced solutions, a lot of system builders don’t take into account the administrative overhead and time taken in project managing in-house board building. You can easily spend countless hours in procurement, chasing up component suppliers, discussing quality issues and ‘learning on the job’.

The bottom line may indicate a small cost saving to build in-house; but the practical reality is often the opposite: without economy of scale, expertise and efficiency, in-house controls can be far more expensive in the long run