I recently attended the CSIA (Control Systems Integrators Association) Conference in Asheville, NC. The event had special meaning this year as it was the 25th anniversary of CSIA which is a not-for-profit global trade association that seeks to advance the industry of control systems integration. CSIA is an organization of peers, partners, and vendors that get together and share best practices and industry expertise to help system integrators be successful. It is rare to find an organization (sister/brotherhood) of “competitors” sharing best practices to help one another. Not only do they share “best practices”, but they share tragic examples of things that have happened to them in a session called “Lessons learned from touching a hot stove”, in hopes that others do not have to experience the same thing and can learn from their misfortune or mistakes. This year’s theme was Reaching the Next Peak.
When you stop and think about it, what control system integrators are brought in to deliver is some specific capability with our expertise and experience that ensures the safe and efficient accomplishment of the mission. If the client’s own internal experts, or certified integrators, are not able to do the job, then other resources (uncredentialled, unverified) might be asked to do the work, jeopardizing the processes, procedures and qualitative metrics.
What’s hiding inside your mountains of shop floor data, quality lab data, and maintenance data? There’s likely valuable information hiding in your plant’s data warehouse. There are different tools you can use to analyze data, but none offer the same cost-efficient and quick identification and quantification of process variability like Process Monitor.
You may have heard the old adage, “Real men don’t read the instructions.” This is often followed by disastrous results – furniture put together incorrectly, hours spent on equipment repairs that could have been solved in minutes, or a family taken wildly off-course on a road trip. As funny as these examples are, manufacturers are susceptible to similar outcomes when it comes to projects like equipment moves.
There are both direct and subtle ways to “manage” your suppliers. Some companies have elaborate supplier programs with score cards, audits, cost reduction goals, targets, etc. It is great if you have the infrastructure to support this type of program, but not everyone can.
Every year Deloitte carries out surveys. One of the surveys and trends addresses the state of mergers and acquisition trends. Recently they published their comprehensive look at M&A activity for 2019. Their survey looked at deal trends and predicted deal strength will remain strong in 2019. Some of the reasons cited were tax reform, a more relaxed regulatory climate, and growing cash reserves among corporations and investors.
As I woke up this morning and realized that today was International Woman’s Day I felt the need to share an awesome experience that I had yesterday.
When our customers need help keep their drawings up-to-date, they give us a call. And we tend to be casual observers of how our varied clients maintain their technical data. We look over the shoulders of our technical contacts and observe the state of how they maintain and archive mechanical and electrical equipment data. Some are diligent, but many do not attend to or have procedures in place to guarantee that their drawings reflect the design state of their current manufacturing platform.
Unemployment is down, manufacturing is up, and the demand for skilled trades hasn’t been this high for a long time. There is a gap between demand and the available skilled workforce. This is true in many trades. One example is electricians. According to numbers from the National Electrical Contractors Association, 7,000 electricians join the field each year, while at the same time 10,000 retire.
During the past decade, the Internet of Things has been steadily advancing and becoming a part of our lives. We get texts from our cars when the tire pressure is low or suggesting we should stop and buy another gallon of windshield washer fluid. We can turn on the oven or close the garage door at home from our office. These opportunities are supported by small amounts of data and provide simple solutions.