Registration is now open for the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference,
May 1-4 in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Congratulations to these CSIA Certified members
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Welcome new members
Doddridge Controls, Inc.
Logical Automation Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Aurangabad Maharastra, India
Owner Resource Group
Power Engineering Services and Solutions
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
Zak Controls, Inc.
Refer a new member!
Tell your colleagues about CSIA. Find member benefits and an application at www.controlsys.org.
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Registration open now!
It's not too early to make plans to join us for the 2013 CSIA Executive Conference, held on St. Pete Beach in Florida.
For 20 years, the CSIA Executive Conference has offered programs tailored to the needs of integrator business owners and their key staff. We've gotten pretty good at it. See what's in store for 2013 . . .
From the welcome reception Wednesday night to the Industry Expo Thursday and the final cookout on Saturday, we guarantee you will value your participation in the Conference. Oh, and be sure to make time to dip your toes in the sand and surf too!
Award nominations now open
I hope this message finds you well. I want to first wish you a happy and successful New Year!
As an organization we have a lot of exciting projects that continue to keep the board and staff very busy. One area that takes some time to prepare for is the nominations, selection and award of the various accolades that make up part of our awards program at each conference.
You should have all seen the previous request for nominations for our three awards: Charlie Bergman "Remember Me," Rising Star, and Partner. The awards nomination form is available online.
We really want your input on this. The form is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have questions don't hesitate to ask. As always I am happy to help.
Chairman of the Board
Best Practices Manual now in Portuguese
The CSIA Best Practices Manual version 4 is now available in Portuguese! CSIA sincerely thanks Matrikon OPC for their generosity in having this important document translated.The Portuguese and English versions of the manual are located in the Member Resources for Managing Your Business library on the CSIA Connected Community. Watch for a Spanish version to be released soon!
Results of CSIA industry survey are in
by Robert Lowe, CSIA Executive Director
This survey was like none we've ever done! There were 215 respondents globally, some CSIA members and some not. The information learned about our industry is extensive. For example:
- Did you know that the top three markets served by control system integrators are food and beverage, water/wastewater, and power and energy?
- Did you know that the top three target markets for growth are oil and gas, power and energy and OEM/industrial equipment?
Check out the historical financial trends and projected trends for our industry and see the results in a spreadsheet located in the Connected Community Survey Results library.
We are grateful to our members who completed the survey. Your reward is a 39-page report prepared by JP Morgan from the survey data. We also are grateful to the staff at JP Morgan for their insight and cooperation. Although JPM owns the copyright to the survey report, we have permission to use the results, such as in press releases. JPM will even provide quotes for additional credibility.
Going forward, an abbreviated survey will be conducted quarterly and a full survey annually. If you didn't have the time to participate in the first survey, do yourself and CSIA a favor and invest the 10 minutes next time. You'll be glad you did!
Resource Management Survey results are in
One of the biggest challenges in managing a control systems integration company is managing personnel. Keeping your staff functioning effectively is like trying to hit a moving target. More than 60 integrator members shared how they face the challenge in a recent Resource Management Survey. The results are very insightful. For example, a majority of the respondents use Excel or systems developed internally to manage personnel resources. Of course, the tool used depends somewhat on staff size.
Two more surveys will be conducted in the near future. One will survey members about personnel safety programs; the other a general membership survey with questions on a variety of topics. Primary contact persons at our integrator members will want to watch for these surveys.
Sharing information for the benefit of all is one of the basic tenets of CSIA. Nearly all survey ideas originate from members so if you have an idea, send an email to Bob Lowe. Please include a preliminary list of questions that would help to serve your purpose.
Project quality plans now available
by Jeff Miller, Best Practices Committee Chair
To raise awareness of the CSIA Roadmap to Certification Template Program, the Best Practices Committee is spotlighting a template a month to give integrators an easy way to find and use the templates we are collecting and posting on the Connected Community. This month we are highlighting the project quality plan templates.
Project quality plans are referred to in section 5.11 of the CSIA Best Practices and are a key element to section 5.11.4, which is an audited section of the BP&B manual. Section 5.11 in BP&B states, "The purpose of quality management is to improve products and services (in terms of measurable quality attributes) while achieving cost reductions throughout the project."
The project quality plan (PQP) should contain all quality management activities related to quality planning, quality assurance, quality control, and quality improvement. Section 5.11.4 asks if the integrator requires their client to review and approve the project quality plan to ensure that client expectations are understood. The project quality plan is a key deliverable from the project management processes and will be referenced in the overall project plan.
There are currently three project quality plan templates that have been provided by integrators. The plans are stored on the Connected Community Project Quality Plan Templates. Whether you are a new member of CSIA, a member currently preparing for an audit, or a member who has been certified for a period of time, I encourage you to click through and check them out.
I also want to take this opportunity to get you involved in helping to build this template program. We are now collecting templates that you may use to develop standard operating procedures (SOPs). Do you have a standard format that you require an SOP to follow to ensure that they are easy for team members to follow? If so, please consider emailing the BP&B committee your SOP format template to email@example.com. If possible, please remove any company specific identifying information, however, don't let that stop you from sending your template in. If you don't have time to make it more generic the committee will take care of it for you.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or comments. I look forward to receiving your template!
Submit your ideas for Partner Commitee
by Sam Hoff, Partner Committee Chair
The Partner Committee focuses on finding ways that the partner members can deliver more value to the integrator members. One of the avenues for partners to get information on their products to integrators is the Application Showcase.
This library is a forum where partners can post product information and case studies. Integrators should find the postings most interesting. The committee is currently exploring ideas to improve the Application Showcase. If you have suggestions, please e-mail your ideas to me.
In addition to the Executive Conference, the Partner Committee has a two-day, face-to-face meeting in the fall. Last fall, we were hosted by Jim Bercik at M/R Systems in Atlanta, Ga. In addition to some great discussions on adding value for integrators and partners, the committee took in a Braves ballgame. What a game it was, as Freddie Freeman, the Braves first baseman, hit a walk-off, two-run homerun in the bottom of the ninth to clinch a Brave's playoff spot! In the fall of 2013, Patti Engineering will host the committee in Detroit. Rumor is there may even be a Tiger game in the evening schedule.
Consider service on the CSIA Board of Directors
Our organization has grown thanks to the dedicated leadership of our Board of Directors, volunteers and staff. It is important to continue this leadership through an election of two individuals to serve as at-large directors of CSIA beginning with the 2013 Executive Conference. What we're looking for now are members to pick up the tasks and run with them.
We all know that the best way to get engaged is through volunteering. Make the most of your CSIA membership and gain a wealth of knowledge from your peers by volunteering to be part of the Board.
Contact Ed Diehl to learn more.
This year's Integrators of the Year: Sam Hoff, Patti Engineering; Jerry Smith, Integrity Integration Resources; Todd Williams, SAIC Energy
CSIA members sweep Integrator of the Year awards
Two CSIA Certified members - Patti Engineering and Integrity Integration Resources - and one new member - SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure - were named Integrators of the Year by Control Engineering.
Patti Engineering, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., was founded by Sam Hoff, a CSIA director, in 1991. The company provides turnkey control systems integration services for design/build, upgrade/retrofit and asset/energy management projects.
"Although Patti Engineering is the smallest of the 2013 System Integrators of the Year, the company has worked on an unusually wide variety of applications in manufacturing facilities, retail distribution, municipalities, food industry, libraries, law enforcement, the military, ice arenas, colleges, and universities," according to the magazine.
Integrity Integration Resources (I2R), Plano, Texas, has experience is in motion control, dashboard, and SCADA systems supported by a staff of more than 30 engineers and project management professionals. Its employee/expertise matrix covers all major PLC and HMI systems and a broad range of industries.
Like Patti Engineering, I2R impressed judges with the variety of success stories the company can tell about automation projects as diverse as package handling, food processing, tank farm automation, and motor controls. General Manager Jerry Smith accepted the award on behalf of I2R, which won the award in the $10 million to $15 annual revenue million category.
SAIC Energy, Environment & Infrastructure, formerly the Benham Companies and now a subsidiary of Science Applications International Corporation, was honored in the category of system integrators reporting more than $15 million in annual revenue. Todd Williams, program manager with SAIC, accepted the award on behalf the McLean, Va., company.
According to Control Engineering, the SAIC's Systems Integration Business Unit provides turnkey hardware and software development and integration services to many industries. The company's technical specialties include process controls, factory information/quality control, and HVAC optimization and control systems.
Manufacturing Revival Radio interview
by Todd Youngblood, Manufacturing Revival Radio
Manufacturing Revival Radio's latest interview of a CSIA member occurred during the December webinar called "Radio to sell System Integration?" Software Toolbox President John Weber, sponsor and host of CSIA's monthly webinars, described how his experience working in an automation firm helped him recognize a need in the industry. Listen to the interview .
Mentor of the Month:
Ray Bachelor, Bachelor Controls
by Joe Martin, Ambassadors Committee Chair
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am the founder and president of Bachelor Controls, headquartered in Sabetha, Kansas, with offices in Lenexa, Kansas, and Memphis, Tenn. My wife, Jeannie, and I started BCI in 1983. We have one son, Michael, who is also an owner and works with us in the business and many of you know.
I started into the control business in 1968 as a field engineer with General Electric. We did power generation and marine propulsion work with the steam divisions (900 MW to 15KW) and then gas turbine work for both peaking plants and compressor work.
There was a military leave of absence from 1969 to 1972, after which I rejoined G.E. I left G.E. to work as a manufacturer's rep for seven years where you live 100% on commission - that's an eye opener the first time you do that. I later joined Mac Equipment as a National Sales Manager. Then from Mac we started BCI.
Tell us about Bachelor Controls.
We've been Certified CSIA members since 2000 (number 15 to be audited). We work primarily in the United States, but have applications spread all over the world through our OEM relationships. We have 34 employees in three locations. We received the Control Engineering System Integrator of the Year award in 2008.
What has CSIA done for you and your company?
I've grown personally and professionally as a result of the relationships I've formed with owners of SI firms like mine. I've learned that sharing one thing results in multiple returns. CSIA has been an important part of our (Jeannie and I) professional lives since our first conference in 2000, which was in Williamsburg. The annual Executive Conference provides me an opportunity to work with the best collection of professionals that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I get to be a part of it.
What can you offer as a CSIA Mentor?
Having founded and grown my SI firm from a two-man office, I can offer encouragement to those just starting out. Also, having been through four certification audits (and preparing for the fifth), I can offer advice for those seeking to become Certified. With current business conditions, I don't have a lot of time to chit-chat, but I return phone calls as soon as I have time. As a huge supporter of the CSIA philosophies, I feel that I need to give back to the community what I've received, and the Mentor program helps me do that.
What one piece of advice would you give to a new member?
Attend the annual Executive Conference. It's more than worth the price of membership!
If you're a new member or just want to find out how you can get more benefit from your CSIA membership, please feel free to e-mail Ray.
A bonds mini-primer
by Mark A. Voigtmann, CSIA Attorney
Bonds are a remedy in which a third company called a "surety" guarantees the payment or performance of a contractor. Unlike liens, bonds do not provide a second "pot of money"-bonds instead represent a substitute pot of money that is only available if the prime source is not there. In fact, it would not be an exaggeration to observe that bonds typically are not relevant unless a project truly has gone south and the party that promised payment is either out of business or on its way to insolvency.
Payment bonds, which deal exclusively with payment obligations of the party paying the money (think of this party as the "have," as opposed to the "have not"), do not appear by magic. They are purchased on the open market because either a contract or law requires it. It is a purchase with consequences. Not only must the "have" pay a premium for the bond, it must also make a promise. The promise by the "have" is essentially that the bond will never be called upon-and that if by some weird chance it is, the "have" will reimburse the surety.
That's why bonds are nothing like insurance. To quickly see the distinction, imagine an insurance policy where the insurance company pays for rebuilding your home after a fire, then has the ability to file a lawsuit against you to recover the money that was paid. Sureties are not the buddies of those who purchase the bonds-they are an unforgiving uncle of last resort.
In automation projects, payment bonds are typically purchased by the larger contractors who hold the contract directly with the owner, but the protection is really for others. One protected party, in a sense, is the owner, which naturally has an interest in making sure all of the "downstream" subcontractors and suppliers are paid. But the owner cannot make a claim on a payment bond. That is for those "downstream" subcontractors and suppliers themselves. If the "have" (the general contractor) does not pay, subcontractors and suppliers can seek to be paid by the bond company.
Performance bonds are similar, but also a bit more complicated. Here, the guarantee being purchased is the ability of a company to follow through on what it committed to do on a project. If the "principal" (the company that purchased the bond) fails to live up to what it promised, the "obligee" (the company, person or agency to which the guarantee was given) can, in certain circumstances, call upon the surety to take its place
Mark Voigtmann is a partner in the automation practice at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. He can be reached at Mark.Voigtmann@faegrebd.com or at (317) 237.1265. Follow Mark @automationlaw
|Financial decision-making tool uses plain English
Do you and your executives truly understand all the numerical information provided by your accountant? In my experience, most don't.
Having a background in accounting, I'm lucky enough to understand double-entry bookkeeping. Traditional accounting methods such as this are handy for reporting business data to agencies like the tax authorities. But the way the information is presented to reporting agencies is not always the most useful format for business leaders.
One of the issues I see everywhere is that business people who rely on financial data for decision-making have no prior exposure to these kinds of reports. Or if they have, they don't understand them. Accountants provide reports such as profit and loss statements (P&L) and balance sheets. The P&L doesn't require a lot of training to understand it. That said, most managers tend to rely on the two numbers at the top and bottom of the report being revenue and profit. The balance sheet, containing asset, liability and equity figures, is harder to decipher for managers who aren't trained in accounting.
After moving into management, I realized that executives were highly capable of their particular tasks but often didn't understand the wider ramifications of their actions. This resulted in people acting as silos with all the problems that entails. By introducing a plain English measurement, which could be understood by managers without a financial background, I was able to demonstrate the impact of my team's actions on the entire performance of the business.
This morphed into "Fiscal Focus," a plain English set of numbers that will help any business, of any size, anywhere in the world, in any industry, to understand its true performance as well as actions impacting the business's performance.
The Fiscal Focus process can be depicted as a pyramid. At the top are two main indicators of the health of the business. These indicators are born from two fundamental questions that all entrepreneurs should ask:
- Is the return on investment commensurate with risk?
- Have we generated enough cash flow to continue being an entrepreneur?
Underneath are four mathematical equations that enable us to determine the strengths and weaknesses of any size or kind of business.
On the next level we have eight fiscal focus levers - things that executives can change to influence the performance of the business.
Not only does Fiscal Focus provide a clear insight into the strengths and weaknesses of a business, it also uses a mathematical process called sensitivity analysis. This enables you to determine which 1% change to any of those levers will have the most profound impact on the business's strengths and weaknesses. Moreover, it will clearly show what is most effective at creating value and improving the cash flow performance of the business.
How much easier would it be to make business decisions if you knew how effective the changes would be before you made the decision? Fiscal Focus can be used to validate decisions such as "Should we?' and "Can we?"
I will be presenting Fiscal Focus and other decision-making tools at the CSIA 2013 Annual Executive Conference.
Nick Setchell, firstname.lastname@example.org, director and founder of Practices Strategies Pty Ltd, advocates the use of powerful financial modeling software and tools that give mid-market CEOs the information they need to make better business decisions in real time.
Manufacturing trends are impacting system integrators' roles
by Matthew Douglas, manager, system integrator market, Schneider Electric
Key industry trends are accelerating and will significantly reshape and redefine the manufacturing environment. Not long ago, the focus of facility managers was downtime and productivity. Today, repatriation of American manufacturing, sustainability and energy management, and cybersecurity are all creating new demands on how manufacturing resources are allocated, and how the manufacturing environment is managed and protected. Many small- to mid-sized companies are beginning to realize that they cannot do it all internally; they will need outside help from trusted and proven partners that have a record of addressing these challenges.
From an energy perspective, the focus is shifting from energy as just an accepted manufacturing cost, to energy management, sustainability, carbon footprint and waste reduction. The conversation is now about finding hidden costs in manufacturing operations to help become more productive. The first step in managing energy is creating awareness of how, when and where energy is used, which can be achieved with software and monitoring systems. With this visibility, you can begin to understand and improve operational efficiency.
The most efficient way to monitor, diagnose and improve the manufacturing process and energy management is by embracing and enabling technology. Remote access, mobile apps and tablet technology can un-tether operators and engineers from HMIs and desktops. But a key issue that must be resolved to unleash the power of technology is cybersecurity. Without network security, companies will continue to resist allowing access through their firewalls.
As these trends grow, system integrators will be increasingly challenged to review and possibly rethink their current business models. Remote access capabilities, data analysis versus data collection, onsite repair, support, installation, and cybersecurity may well define and differentiate the integrators of tomorrow from those of today.
Schneider Electric™ is well prepared to provide solutions to solve today's growing problems. From energy management and factory automation to cybersecurity, we offer integrated solutions across multiple market segments. Let us help you.
CSIA and The Automation Conference team up
CSIA will be one of four content partners for The Automation Conference (TAC), scheduled for May 14-15 in Chicago. This educational forum is produced for engineering and management professionals within discrete manufacturing, packaging, and continuous and batch processing.
CSIA will also be a presenter at the conference, discussing the topic of "Selecting a System Integrator and Managing the Relationship." Speakers participating in the panel presentation will be CSIA's Executive Director Robert Lowe and four directors: Steve Goldberg, Matrix Technologies, Joe Martin, Martin Control Systems, Eduardo Acosta, Omnicon, and Ed Diehl, Concept Systems.
CSIA members will receive a $100 discount on registration for the conference. Learn more about the conference and registration at The Automation Conference.
CSIA is sponsor of 2013 ARC Process Management Academy
ARC Advisory Group's 9th annual Process Management Academy (PMA) will be held March 4-5, 2013, at the Radisson BLU Astrid Hotel in Antwerp, Belgium. With an emphasis on practical strategies, best practices, and maximizing the business benefits of safe and sustainable manufacturing, ARC's PMA takes the theme "Boosting Profitability & Efficiency" to the next level.
CSIA is an Industry Association Sponsor of this event.
For more information about ARC's 9th Process Management Academy, please sign in on our website: www.arcweb.com, then select the "Events" section and click on "ARC Process Management Academy".
|CSIA members receive a 10% discount off the registration fee. Contact Kim Coffman to register.