Congratulations to these CSIA Certified members
Matrix Technologies, Inc.
Northwind Technical Services, Inc.
Optimation Industrial Services, LLC
Optimation Philadelphia - TSD
Optimation Technology, Inc.
Welcome new members
Refer a new member!
Tell your colleagues about CSIA. Find member benefits and an application at www.controlsys.org.
The go-to resource for control system integration.
ARC sees positive outlook for system integrators
by Bob Lowe, Executive Director
At a quarterly ARC/CSIA meeting, Craig Resnick explained ARC's view of manufacturing. Here is a brief summary:
The CSIA conference, where Craig was a presenter, was more upbeat then other industry conferences because there is a demand for integration services. Since 80% of attendees are from North America and North America is a good place to be for integrators, the mood was positive. Why is North America doing well? Energy, oil and gas, and automotive.
There are few new auto plants being built but current ones are being automated to maximize capacity. An exception is non-American based auto companies, some are building facilities. There are 24/7 operations in many plants and with fewer in-plant personnel, the demand for service and support contracts with integrators is strong. Additionally, the food and beverage industry, which is mostly local, shows slight growth. Nearly 50% of integrators are involved in food and beverage.
Flexibility in manufacturing is key. Quick response to market demand is essential. The latest technology is required for flexibility so retrofits are abundant for integrators.
Automation vendors and independent integrators are playing better together - they need each other - a change from the past. Plants are not monolithic but vendors are, so integrators bring a broader knowledge of products, which sets up collaboration opportunities. Additionally, integrators are better at risk identification (uncertainty) and management of it.
Benchmarking program, salary survey updates
by Jim Campbell, Statistics Committee
Here's an overview of activities in the Statistics Committee, with more detail following.
We strongly believe these changes make these products a great tool for you to help run your business!
- A restructured KPICs report enhances meaningful data calculations and presentations.
- The 2013 Salary Survey report is out.
- You can get a Salary Survey report any time you enter your data.
Enhanced KPICs reports
We had an excellent turnout for the April 4 webinar! Just about 70 people joined in to learn about updates to the KPICs reports and to gain more understanding about using these statistics to help run their business better.
The changes to the report access and presentation that our program administrator, iLumen, has made are based on feedback from participants. Two important changes in the report are:
Now, for example, you can compare your accounts receivable as a percentage of total assets. These data are on the "Common Sized" tab. This normalization, or common sizing, makes comparison of averages, median, and top quartiles much more meaningful when peer companies vary significantly in size. And, the data in the summary graphs can be changed to show quarterly trending for your favorites.
- Additional columns to show statistics on percentages, not only the absolute values.
- A tab containing five summary graphs to give you a quick review of your business conditions.
There are several other changes that we think make the reports a whole lot more effective in communicating the data you need to see. Also, we are in the process of soliciting thoughts of existing participants on suggestions for improvement. But, we'd welcome feedback from any member about how to make the KPICs program better for you.
Please let me know if there are questions or comments! If you are interested in joining KPICs, please contact CSIA to sign up for your financial comparisons!
Salary Survey is out
Speaking of reports, the report for 2013 Salary Survey is out! A very important change is that policy has been changed to allow entry of salary data at any time of the year. So, when you need the latest salary statistics and salary trend information, all you need to do is join the program, enter your own data, and get the report. Since we started the program at the May 2012 Conference, we have had just under 70 companies submit salary data.
Remember, the submissions are tailored to the employee roles we defined specifically for our industries as system integrators, such as control engineer level 1/2/3, branch manager, and service technician, all roles that most salary surveys don't include specifically.
For further information, contact CSIA and we would be happy to renew your enrollment or get you started!
CSIA members make headlines
Members that have been featured in industry magazines recently include:
Thank you, Tracy Chavarria, Concept Systems, Jim Campbell, Viewpoint Systems, Tom Sulda, Sage Automation, and Jennifer Palumbo, Optimation, for helping us raise awareness of CSIA and the expertise of control system integrators. If you're interested in learning how CSIA can help you get your story in the news, please contact Ann Nelson.
Tap the knowledge bank - the Connected Community Open Forum
by Ann Massie Nelson, CSIA Staff
One of the primary benefits of CSIA membership is access to the knowledge and experience of other integrators. You can tap this knowledge any time, from any location, by posting your questions in the Open Forum on the Connected Community.
Anonymous postings are not possible, however, if you need advice and you're concerned that others might think less of you for asking, please feel free to email your questions to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will post your questions under my name. That way, you get the benefit of others' expertise, without revealing that you don't know it all. (No one does, by the way!)
I will post questions received Monday - Thursday within 24 hours. I'll be looking for your "Dear Ann" notes in my inbox soon.
Insurance Program news
by Paul Barnard, CSIA Insurance
First we welcome Enterprise Automation of Irvine, Cal., as the latest member of our insurance programs.
Many of you will have seen the listing in Control Engineering magazine of the 100 largest control system integrators. Of the top six, three are participants in the CSIA insurance program. Our program includes integrators of all sizes, with annual revenues ranging from $300,000 to $80 million.
Since the inception of our program, the aim has been to provide unique and appropriate coverage for all integrator members of your association. With 86 insureds in the United States, Canada and the European Union obtaining their coverage via the program, you can see that we continue to achieve this goal.
Our combined general, completed operations, and professional errors and omissions policy provides the widest coverage available in the market and enables our insureds to bring the CSIA "best practices" ethos to their insurance coverage.
We are happy to provide a comparison of your current policies and what our program can offer you. For more information please contact me, Paul Barnard at email@example.com or (44)1-610-507-6595.
|Mentor of the Month:
Jeff Miller, Interstates Control Systems, Inc.
by Joe Martin, Ambassadors Committee
Tell us a little about yourself:
I was born in Arkansas and lived there until my parents moved us to small town in South Dakota when I was in middle school. My father was an electrical engineer and his whole career was dedicated to designing power transformers for the utility industry. I attended college at South Dakota State University in their power engineering program. After graduating, I moved all the way back to Arkansas and took my first engineering job with Arkansas Power & Light. I later moved back to South Dakota to work with the transformer service group of the same company my father worked for, and that is where I got interested in control systems. We had some very expensive transformer oil service equipment that was somewhat automated, although mostly with hardwired interlocking and relays. I was constantly tinkering with it to attempt to build more automation into it to take some of the variables out so the operators had more time to focus on quality. I spent 10 years there and then joined Interstates Control Systems (ICSI) in 1999. I have spent my last 13 years developing and improving project delivery processes and attempting to keep them right sized for our organization as we continue to grow. I have found the CSIA Best Practices to be very valuable in this pursuit.Tell us about Interstates Control Systems, Inc.:
ICSI got its beginning from our large industrial electrical construction group that started dabbling in control system in the early 1980s. We quickly moved from a few automation programmers to needing to add more space onto the building and then incorporating as a separate business unit in 1996. We now have 110 employees with offices in Iowa, South Dakota and Ohio. We are discrete control and process control experts and work in many different industries. We grew up in the value-added agriculture industry and still do a tremendous amount of work in that area, but we have branched out into many other process control industries as well. We provide turnkey automation solutions, including control panels from our UL-508A panel shop, control engineering, automation programming in PLC and DCS, system checkout, commissioning and startup services, and project management. The Interstates group of companies can provide the turnkey services of electrical construction, power engineering, instrumentation, and control systems though our Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) teams.What has CSIA done for you and your company?
ICSI joined CSIA in 1999. I joined the firm shortly after that and started digging in to the CSIA Best Practices to see how they might be able to help us in our business. I used the best practices to build many of our current processes and began preparing for our first certification audit in 2003. We have now gone through three recertification audits and continue to look for ways to continuously improve. After the firm became certified, I decided to join the Best Practices Committee and have been involved with it ever since. There is no doubt in my mind that ICSI became a better company from business performance, to employee satisfaction and client satisfaction, by working to become a certified systems integrator. I would strongly recommend it to any and all systems integrators!What can you offer as a Mentor?
I have learned a lot in the preparation for four certification audits over the years and have certainly learned smarter ways to build and implement best practices as well as prepare for audits. This is very much a continuous improvement thing so I continue to learn through each and every audit. I can help organizations better understand what the intentions of the best practices are, as well as help them figure out how to explore all the benefits of CSIA membership.What one piece of advice would you give to a new member?
You will get out of CSIA what you put into it! I guarantee, the more involved you are with annual conferences, peer groups, Connected Community and networking, the more it will help you with bottom line performance of your company.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 contact Jeff via e-mail.
Looking for a member mentor? In the Connected Community go to Directory > Find a Member. Check Mentor search box, then Find Members.
How long do I have to worry about
A Primer on Statutes of Limitation and Statutes of Repose
this potential claim?
by Brian P. Clifford, CSIA Attorney
Control system integrators often ask me how long after completion of their services they need to worry about a claim on a project. In other words, they want to quantify their "tail liability." A related question I often hear: "When is the cut-off for filing a claim for unpaid invoices?" These questions can be answered by understanding the statute of limitation and statute of repose applicable to the claim.
1. A statute of limitation sets the time period during which you may file a lawsuit once your claim "accrues." For example, Wisconsin's statute of limitation for contract claims states that the lawsuit "shall be commenced within six years after the cause of action accrues or...[it will] be barred." Just to the south in Illinois, the time period for filing a claim on a written contract is "10 years...after the cause of action accrued." Each state has its own set of statutes of limitations that apply in various circumstances (e.g., claims over written contracts, oral contracts, bodily injuries, negligence of a licensed professional such as an engineer, etc.) Generally, the time periods are set somewhere between two years and 10 years, depending on the type of claim, but a few states have even shorter time limits for filing certain injury claims, and some claims are not subject to any statute of limitation.
Most statutes of limitation "start the clock ticking" on the date the claim "accrues," i.e., the first day in which the plaintiff "knew, or should have known," that the relevant lawsuit could be filed. For example, for a lawsuit over an unpaid invoice, the rule in most states is that the "cause of action accrues" on the day following the missed deadline for payment. However, for a personal injury claim, the claim may not "accrue" for several years after the event that caused the injury if the injured party's diagnosis is not promptly available. For example, asbestos litigation continues throughout the country, even though use of that product has been heavily regulated for more than 20 years.
2. Statutes of limitation can be modified by contract. Although state law sets the "default" statutes of limitation for each type of claim, parties to a contract may agree to a different cut-off date for the filing of a lawsuit. For example, many insurance contracts state that a lawsuit against the insurance company must be filed within one year from the date a claim is denied. Similarly, some services contracts require that claims for allegedly defective work be commenced no later than one year after the completion of the project.
3. Statutes of repose are similar to statutes of limitation, but they generally apply even if you don't yet know about the claim. Stated another way, statutes of repose generally operate as an absolute bar on a claim after a defined date, even if the claim had not yet "accrued" because the plaintiff didn't know about its damages on the cut-off date. For example, many states have a 10-year statute of repose applicable to claims against engineers, architects, contractors and other construction professionals that is calculated from the date of completion of the building. Even if the building owner finds out for the first time today that the project was designed or built in violation of applicable building codes, the claim would be barred if the project was completed prior to the summer of 2003.
Because every state has different statutes of limitation and statutes of repose, it is important to consult with your legal advisers to understand the deadline for filing any claims you may have and to understand how long the risk of a project follows your company after completion.
Brian Clifford is a member of the automation practice at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP. He can be reached at +1-260-460-1687 or Brian.Clifford@FaegreBD.com.
Integrators distribute knowledge
by Bob Lowe, Executive Director
A recent article by ARC Advisory Group included statements from a presentation by John Carey of BP Castrol at the 2013 ARC Forum. An excerpt: "The future is here, it's just unevenly distributed," he said. It's important for manufacturers to look outside their own industries for solutions. As an example, he cited Virgin Galactic, which designed its commercial spacecraft using technologies and materials already in use, just not in the aerospace industry. ARC believes that another example of this would be Tesla Motors, which designed and built its new Tesla S zero emission electric car (Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year) largely using technology borrowed from other industries.
Control system integration immediately came to mind. It's what our members do every day - take the knowledge gained in one industry and transport it to another. It's one of the key values our members bring to the marketplace. All CSIA constituents must grasp this reality and use it to their advantage. System integrators, promote the concept and keep doing it. End users, take advantage of it, it's in your best interest. Vendors and distributors, collaborate with system integrators for mutual benefit.
With that said, an equally compelling reality is intellectual property (IP) and ownership. An important question must be asked: "Who owns the rights to IP upon conclusion of a project?" Can you see where I'm headed with this? How can an integrator reuse designs and code in multiple industries - to the advantage of their clients, of course - if they don't have the legal rights to it? Workable contracts, involving ownership and licensing between integrators, end users (clients) and vendors, enable leveraging of knowledge by integrators yet protect the proprietary nature of the end user (client). When done properly, everyone is a winner!
Discount available for RIA Certified Robot
by Jeff Burnstein, president of the Robotics Industries Association
The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) Certified Robot Integrator Program, officially launched in January 2012, has already certified 13 leading robotic system integrators. In order to become certified, integrators go through a rigorous process that includes an onsite audit and hands-on testing of key personnel among other important criteria.
RIA created this program at the request of the integrator and the user community who felt that certification could lead to more successful applications of robotics and widespread awareness of best practices that would benefit everyone involved in the robotics industry.
We're gratified to report that thousands of potential robot users annually visit our Robotics Online website to find system integrators. Many certified integrators have reported that users have told them that they are starting their search for an integrator by contacting RIA Certified Robot Integrators first.
Robotics customers, of course, still need to conduct their own due diligence on the suppliers they select since RIA cannot guarantee the work of any integrator or recommend which integrators to choose. We have more than 50 system integrator members and look forward to having more of them go through the certification process in the near future. Many have told us that they plan to apply for certification once they have implemented the best practices called for in order to satisfy the criteria.
Here is a list of the current RIA Certified Robot Integrators:
* Ellison Technologies Automation
* Factory Automation Systems
* JR Automation Technologies
* Motion Controls Robotics
* Q-Comp Technologies
* Schneider Packaging Equipment
* Tennessee Rand
* Wolf Robotics
We believe it's likely that several CSIA members, especially those of whom are involved in robotics and certified by CSIA, could be interested in learning more about the RIA program.
RIA has agreed to offer CSIA members a $250 discount off the nonmember price of applying to be certified. (This discount can also be used on RIA membership, which offers lower prices for applying to be certified.)
To learn more about the details of this offer, which is good through the rest of 2013, contact Jeff Burnstein at +1-734-994-6088.
|Mutil-million dollar gas industry: Seeking control system integration solutions
CSIA members receive 20 percent discount to oil and gas event
In many countries, the general population has become more and more concerned about the safety of nuclear power plants, and the air pollution caused by power plants that use coal as a power source. Since natural gas is considered clean and economic, it is becoming a preferred choice for providing both household and business energy needs. Although it is transported via underground pipelines, the safety of natural gas distribution and transportation is still a key concern. As a result, building a control system that is able to effectively monitor the status of distributed support equipment and gas pipeline systems is a critical issue for companies that distribute and supply natural gas.
Oil and Gas IQ Division of IQPC has been working closely with the oil and gas industry in understanding their key challenges, market trends and behaviors and in connecting them with the innovative technology solutions to combat their challenges. Continuing this trend, IQPC once again has set the stage to discuss the various challenges and possible solutions related to natural gas distribution in the Middle East with its event "Qatar Gas Distribution Projects", Dec. 8-10, 2013 in Doha, Qatar. This event is co-organized by Marafeq Qatar which is the national gas distribution utility company in Qatar.
In association with CSIA, the event would like to promote control system integration systems/services to the oil and gas distribution industry in the region which is expected to spend approximately $50 Million USD in the next five years on innovative control systems. This would be an incredible opportunity for CSIA members to be a part of this multi-million dollar Middle East gas industry. The event would be interactive and informative and there would be immense networking opportunities to meet key representatives from the industry and present business cases.
A sea of opportunities for CSIA integrator members with gas distribution experience!
* Make a presentation at the event and leave a mark
* Sponsor the event to have exclusive and unique branding
* Exhibit to showcase your technology/services
* Organize and conduct a half-day workshop on control system integration for smart gas distribution
Note that CSIA members may receive a 20 percent discount to this event as a special offer from IQPC.
Potential is immense, but opportunities are few.
For more information related to the event and your participation, please contact: Aditya Chopra, project director, Oil and Gas, IQPC Middle East, Aditya.firstname.lastname@example.org; mobile: +971507745247.
ISA Marketing & Sales Summit
Regardless of how the world's economies shift and sway, connecting with the customer is what it's all about. But customer engagement has changed. Whether you need to get your message out or get your foot in the door, the ISA Marketing & Sales Summit provides you with answers to your questions about the new rules of customer engagement. At the Summit, you will find useful research, lessons learned, and outside-the-box thinking to spark your creativity and help you keep pace with the winds of change.
When: September 11 - 13, 2013
Where: W New Orleans, New Orleans, LA
As a part of our promotional exchange agreement with ISA, employees of CSIA members receive the ISA member discount rate!
"Dispelling the Myths around Big Data" - a panel presentation opportunity is available for you if you can help our industry understand where it fits and how sales and marketing teams can position their offerings as they relate/intersect with big data initiatives. Contact Juliann Grant if interested.