Welcome new members
Cogent Industrial Technologies
Fosdick & Hilmer, Inc.
Ingautin de Colombia Ltda
IS International Services LLC
MBA Engineering, Inc.
Ham Lake, MN
A division of Proctek Inc.
A division of Superior Controls
Superior Control Systems Inc.
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Tell your colleagues about CSIA. Find member benefits and an application at www.controlsys.org.
SAVE THE DATE!
April 23-26, 2014
The go-to resource for control system integration.
All webinars will be at 11 a.m., Eastern Time US (New York), and are hosted on WebEx by Software Toolbox, a CSIA Partner member.
Oct. 23, 2013
24-month rolling plan
Aug. 28, 2013
Holistic overview of proactive management
View the archive on the webinar page
Sept. 25, 2013
Organizational culture: Methods for improving performance
View the archive on the webinar page
Nov. 20, 2013
Developing a professional project management team for systems integration
Jan. 29, 2014
People: hiring, leading, coaching and evaluating
Feb. 26, 2014
Performance management program for technical professionals
March 26, 2014
Organizational culture: The scoreboard
for your business
by Ken Edmundson
based on the webinar held Sept. 25 (see archives above)
In professional sports, a major focus of each year centers around the draft. The draft, and the typical free agency period that follows, is the time when a team can acquire new young talent and sign proven veterans. It forces each team to determine its strengths and weaknesses, to identify its most essential needs, and to determine which available players could best fit those needs to turn them to into a championship team.
For some teams, a few key acquisitions can lead to a championship. If a substantial player investment doesn't lead to on-the-field/court success, management has failed in many people's minds.
Much of the value of the draft process is that it forces leadership to evaluate team personnel and define a strategy for improvement. In business, success isn't always as clear, but we draw a lot of analogies from sports. Championship teams are often said to have great chemistry, a first-class organization, a culture of winning, or a dynasty. In business, we talk in terms of building great teams, building consistent organizations, and building growth companies.
The example of the draft illustrates what we should understand about our own business. While businesses don't have win/loss records to determine if they're a first-class organization or dynasty, the companies that achieve highest goals, win consistently, increase revenue, lower turnover and gain greater market share are the companies that build the most consistent organizational culture. Organizational culture is likely the single most dynamic factor in determining how your company is performing.
The four principles of organizational culture
One of the best business books on the market today was written by Dan Denison, Ph.D., a friend of mine and a dynamic leader of a world class organization. He is the lead author of Leading Culture Change in Global Organizations: Aligning Culture and Strategy, in which he walks us through the research he has completed with more than 900 companies, and the impact that the organizational culture had on their success and failure. He reveals how to measure that culture and how to make the changes required to create a high-performing company.
Denison's research reveals four basic principles of organizational culture:
- The Mission - successful organizations need a clear sense of purpose and direction
- Adaptability - the degree to which the organization is truly customer focused and responsive
- Involvement - the ability of the organization to give true autonomy to its key people (notice I don't use the word empowerment) to help build their own areas of responsibility and teams
- Consistency - how strongly rooted the organization is in a solid, well-articulated and definable set of core values
Evaluating your organizational culture
If your company is not winning consistently, gaining new market share, and having people grow in their knowledge and wealth, then you have to ask yourself why. If you wanted to measure your company's ability to compete and win against your five strongest competitors, or measure your ability to reach your goals, or even to know if you can sustain growth for the next five years, how would you do it?
Denison's organizational culture model can measure all of it for you. I described how I use his model to benchmark and improve organizational culture during the September webinar. You can view the archived webinar on www.controlsys.org.
Ken Edmundson is the founder, chairman and CEO of an international consulting firm and the creator and chairman of ShortTrack CEO, the first business management system designed by CEOs for leadership teams of mid-market companies.
ARC Strategies report now available
After a slow start with a decline in the automation index in the first half of 2013, ARC expects a return in the growth path in most regions in the second half of 2013, according to the most recent Automation Strategies report, available in the Connected Community.
The ARC Automation Index is a tool for tracking the economics of the worldwide automation marketplace. ARC developed the ongoing automation index to summarize the current state of the automation markets, to enable participants to learn from past developments, and to provide a forecast based on major variables such as investment, consumer spending, GDP, and other economic indicators.
We encourage you to take advantage of this CSIA membership benefit to help you make important business decisions.
JP Morgan and CSIA collaborate on survey
J.P. Morgan and CSIA are collaborating for the third time to survey the control systems integration industry. The survey results will be used to help J.P. Morgan industry analysts forecast business trends, while also helping CSIA better understand our industry. CSIA is uniquely positioned to advance the industry of system integration and thereby work to bring industries everywhere access to low-risk, safe and successful applications of automation technology. This survey supports that position.
The survey was sent to the primary contact person at our members and to all of our prospective members, along with system integration companies recruited by JPM to participate. It was sent on Wednesday, Sept. 25. The survey closes on Friday, Oct. 4. All those who received the survey are encouraged to complete it. Please reserve responses to one per company.
Adding value for our members is a constant effort by CSIA. This survey is an example of that effort. Raw data results will be placed in a spreadsheet in the CSIA Survey Results library in Connected Community for easy access by all CSIA members. However, those who participate in the survey will receive a professionally written summary report from JPM. That report is superb and is a compelling reason to participate.
CSIA members make headlines
Members that have been featured in industry magazines recently include:
If you're interested in learning how CSIA can help you get your story in the news, please contact Ann Nelson.
Partner Committee recommends new initiatives
by Mark Moriarty, Partner Committee
The CSIA Partner Committee met in Detroit last month to work on further enhancing the value of being a partner in CSIA, especially for the smaller partners who are looking for system integrators to be their main channel to market.
The key highlights and action items from the meeting were:
- Continue holding the Thursday evening exhibition at the same time, but work to encourage system integrators to attend for the duration of the event. Action: Continue to have the Partner Committee communicate (through our annual WebEx prior to the event) the value of the exhibition and the importance of knowing our audience. Look at communicating a similar message to the system integrators so they participate for the entire exhibition.
- Help conference attendees identify new partner members. Action: CSIA team to look at banners for the new exhibitions and potentially an identifier for name badges.
- Encourage partners to stay longer and not leave on Friday before the Awards Banquet to get home. Action: Look at moving the entire event up one day, so that not everyone is giving up weekend family time to attend.
- Find a venue to bring system integrator and partners together with some large end-user customers to learn more about delivery expectations. Action: Candice Ducharme, Mark Werthman, David Mordell and Bob Lowe will team together to investigate the feasibility.
- Engage more frequently with all of the partners. Action: Mark Moriarty, BJ Seif and David Mordell to develop a short survey of the partners to get feedback on progress with this committee and how we are expanding the value of being a partner.
Many thanks to Sam Hoff for sponsoring the meeting and to the following people who took time out of their schedule to come and participate:
- Rob Cotner - Anixter
- Candice Ducharme - MatrikonOPC
- Joe Flaviani - Schneider
- Adam Kennedy - Kepware Technologies
- Scott Kiser - Invensys
- David Mordell - Harting
- Mark Moriarty - Rockwell Automation
- Steve Newcomer - Phoenix Contact
- BJ Seif - Pepperl+Fuchs
- John Weber - Software Toolbox
- Mark Werthman - Mitsubishi
- Sam Hoff - Patti Engineering
- Bob Lowe - CSIA
- Brittany Olson - CSIA
- Lynda Patterson - CSIA
Mark Moriarty, manager of system integrator programs at Rockwell Automation, is a member of the Partner Committee.
Best Practices Committee reviews standard terms and conditions
by Eric Schaefer, Best Practices & Benchmarks Chair
For our September Best Practices & Benchmarks Committee meeting, we conducted the meeting while previewing some of the golf courses in San Diego for the upcoming Executive conference, sorry - wrong committee...
The committee has been reviewing and updating CSIA's Standards Terms and Conditions and will be doing a final review with legal before publishing for all members. Once complete, we will be sending out a notification in the newsletter. Thanks to Jeff Miller for leading the update effort with input from many others.
In addition, we are now moving into development of another reference document for Support Contract Terms and Conditions. As discussed in several of the past Executive Conferences, support work has many different issues and risks that demand its own set of terms. This document will follow the same development, committee review, legal review and publishing process.
Want to have a "say" in the next revision of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual? Look for a survey coming out next month. We are looking for input on the existing sections, as well as new topics that we should consider incorporating into the manual. In the meantime, take some time to review the BP&B manual and make some notes on your thoughts on each section as well as your "wish list" for processes not covered.
If you have an interest in joining us on the committee or any comments on what we can be doing to make your experiences with CSIA better, please contact Eric Schaefer at email@example.com.
Seven reasons why the Best Practices Manual should be on your desktop
Even when business is good and time is short, we still need to pay attention to the fundamentals of operating a successful system integration business. The Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual and other documents in the CSIA library provide the foundation for the business component of a system integration company. No, the manual doesn't describe how to design or program a control system, test test or information system, but does describe the infrastructure required to be in the business of delivering those systems.
Is there a copy of Best Practices Rev. 4 at the fingertips of your top managers, human resource manager, business development and marketing people, financial manager, project managers and quality assurance manager? If not, here are the top seven reasons why they should be.
- They are unique to our industry, so they are concise and to the point.
- They are comprehensive, covering nearly all aspects of running a system integration business.
- They serve as a guide, identifying what practices companies should be incorporating and allowing managers to decide how to implement each one.
- No "reinventing the wheel." Business owners and managers don't have to search for all the right things to do in managing a system integration company. The BP manual lays it all out.
- Most system integration companies are started and run by people who excel at technical know-how, but who may not necessarily be business savvy. The CSIA Best Practices help fill that gap. Both technical and business skills are required to have a sustainable company.
- Best practices minimize trial-and-error learning.
- They are a basis for most processes and procedures in a system integration business, so the time to develop these is reduced. Processes and procedures lead to increased efficiency and profits.
Get back to the basics by downloading this members-only manual from the library here. Nonmembers can go here for a sample of the manual's table of contents and more.
|Mentor of the Month:
Sam Hoff, Patti Engineering
Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up near Baltimore, Md., and graduated in electrical engineering from GMI (now called Kettering University) in Flint, Mich. While in Flint, I met Patti, whom I married in 1991. We have a daughter, Payton, who is a freshman at Hope College in Holland, Mich., and a son, Sammy, who is in fifth grade.
Tell us about Patti Engineering.
I co-oped, then later worked at General Motors. After a brief stint with another company, Patti and I started Patti Engineering in 1991. She was completing her business degree at Oakland University, and I owned a laptop. In the 22-plus years since then, we have built our company to its present level by satisfying like-minded customers and becoming their trusted advisor. We have engineering offices in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Austin, Texas. Patti is our president, while I am vice president of sales and marketing. We have three long-time team members, Ken Kutchek, Dave Foster, and Steve Palmgren, who do an excellent job of managing the operational end of our business.
What has CSIA done for you and your company?
We first joined the CSIA in 1996 and have missed only one conference since then. The knowledge we have learned through the conferences has been invaluable to our growth as a company and to the quality of the systems we engineer. We are big proponents of the CSIA Certification program, first obtaining our certification in 2002. Patti Engineering is viewed as one of the premier integrators by Siemens and Mitsubishi because of the practices we have learned through our CSIA membership.
What can you offer as a mentor?
I am available to answer any questions a new member may have about CSIA. In order for new members to get the most out of their membership, they must attend the conference and should attend all of the sessions that they can. In addition, they should hang out and network at the conference. I have learned a lot about running an integration business by hanging out with my peers and sharing war stories over a ginger ale!
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 Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for a member mentor? In the Connected Community go to Directory > Find a Member. Check Mentor search box, then Find Members.
|Design specifications vs. performance specifications:
Changing one word means a world of difference
by Brian P. Clifford, CSIA Attorney
Before undertaking any new project, a control system integrator should ask "What does the contract define as 'success' for my deliverables?" Whether you are providing hardware, software, services or some combination of all, the contract needs to be revised if you can't answer that question - without hesitation - based on the language of your agreement.
One way to examine this key issue is to split the world of obligations into two categories:
Design specifications: These are the less risky of the categories. You are provided with a design for a system created by someone else - usually drawings or written specifications prepared by the end user or another project participant such as an engineer for the facility. Your job is (comparatively) simple: Use your expertise and skilled workforce to procure and install the system in accordance with those plans. So long as you do so, you have met your contractual obligations and should be paid in full for your work. This is true even if the design proves to be defective and the system does not operate as intended. If you are asked by the client to try to solve a performance problem after you properly followed the installation plans, you certainly can do so - for additional money.
Performance specifications: These obligations require you to guarantee that the system will operate in accordance with the defined performance criteria - e.g., "scan and log X number of Y items in each Z period." Obviously, this involves more risk. If you are designing the system, you have responsibility both to ensure that the plans will result in a system that can perform the required task and that the system itself will operate as-designed. If you are relying on someone else's design for the system - BEWARE! You are essentially warranting work that you didn't perform, an especially risky type of performance specification.
Although many projects will require you to undertake the liability for performance specifications, you should be careful to set out clear acceptance criteria in your agreement, including "carving out" input and output risks that your system can't control.
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.
Guidance on cybersecurity improvement
Given the increasing concerns about cyberwarfare and the serious damage cyberattack can cause to industry and national infrastructure, the International Society of Automation (ISA) announced that an educational track at ISA Automation Week 2013 will provide practical guidance on how to improve cybersecurity of industrial automation and control systems (IACS).
will be featured at ISA Automation Week 2013
Experts agree that America's industrial production settings and infrastructure environments are woefully under-prepared to address cyberwarfare. If industrial control systems and critical infrastructure-such as a power plant, water treatment facility, or transportation grid-are attacked, the result could be significant equipment impairment, production loss, regulatory violations, environmental damage, and public endangerment.
Industrial Network Security is one of six educational tracks offered at ISA Automation Week 2013, to be held Nov. 5-7 in Nashville, Tenn. U.S. Leading automation and control experts, authors, innovators and thought leaders across the globe will come together at the conference to demonstrate how to fully leverage the power and potential of automation solutions.
Visit www.isaautomationweek.org to gain more details about ISA Automation Week 2013, including the full technical program, author resources, solutions providers, attendee resources, the complete conference schedule, hotel arrangements and registration. For more information, call +1 919-549-8411.
CSIA at ISA Automation Week 2013
Some of the core competencies of ISA are standards, certifications, and education and training. The good news is that all can be experienced at ISA Automation Week, Nov. 5-7, at the Nashville Renaissance and Convention Center.
The education chairman is Paul Galeski, CEO of Maverick Technologies, a CSIA Certified member. Paul and his committee have designed the education program with six tracks, all applicable to CSIs. Each track offers well-rounded content by considering people, technology, business and safety.
- Industrial Network Security
- Creating Business Value Through Automation
- The Connected Enterprise
- Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategies
- Industrial Automation and Control
- Wireless Applications
ISA Automation Week benefits both technical and management personnel so bring a team. Consider getting your subject matter experts involved in standards work, too. Save the date and watch your inbox for more information.
Bob Lowe, CSIA executive director, will make two presentations in the theater; CSIA Best Practices for Project Management and CSIA Best Practices for System Development Lifecycle.
Seeking gas industry experts for conference in Qatar
Discount for CSIA members
The Qatar Gas Distribution Projects conference offers several opportunities for CSIA integrator members with gas distribution experience to become involved. Members are invited to:
- Make a presentation at the event
- Organize and conduct a half-day workshop on control system integration for smart gas distribution
- Sponsor the event to have exclusive and unique branding
- Exhibit to showcase your technology/services
The 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 has set the stage to discuss the various challenges and possible solutions related to natural gas distribution in the ME with its event "Qatar Gas Distribution Projects," Dec. 8-10, 2013, in Doha, Qatar. This event is co-organized by Marafeq Qatar, 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 that is expected to spend approximately $50 million USD in the next five years on innovative control systems. The event will provide multiple networking opportunities to meet key representatives from the industry and present business cases.
Note that CSIA members may receive a 20 percent discount to this event as a special offer from IQPC. For more information related to the event and your participation, please contact: Aditya Chopra, project director, Oil and Gas, IQPC Middle East, Aditya.email@example.com; mobile: +971507745247