Best Practices and Benchmarking of Control System Integrators

Jamie D. Jordan CEO Applied Industrial Automation, Inc. 7316-A Pepperdam Ave. North Charleston, SC 29418

KEYWORDS
Control Systems Integrator (CSI), Control System Integrators Association (CSIA), Benchmarking

Abstract
“Best Practices and Benchmarking of Control Systems Integrators”, will address the need to evaluate CSI (Control Systems Integration) firms in order to minimize project risk and ensure successful project implementation. The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) has recognized the need to evaluate CSI services and has developed tools that will assist in this process. In addition, the CSIA has also developed a system that will help the CSI to internally evaluate their company, provide a registration process that allows a third party audit firm to evaluate the CSI, and upon successful completion of the audit, become a CSIA registered firm. The following will provide the outline for the presentation and the CSIA registration process: á á á á á Overview and definition of the CSI Industry The Benchmark Requirement The CSIA Benchmarking Methodology The CSIA Registration Process Benefits to the Industry

Overview and Definition of the CSI Industry
The use of CSI’s has increased in recent years due to a reduction in the number of corporate engineers and the ever-increasing use of technology on the factory floor. The CSI is defined as an independent (or an independent profit/loss division) value-added engineering organization that focuses on industrial control systems, manufacturing execution systems (MES), and/or plant automation that requires application knowledge and technical expertise for sales, design, implementation, installation, commissioning and support. A CSI’s services focus on the delivery of:

The six areas with sub-categories for each area are listed below with a brief overview of each section and sub-section: 1. objectives and goals. and on going maintenance. which consist of over 100 pages focusing on the six major areas of the CSI business. The system started with the development of the Best Practices & Benchmarks document. The CSIA is the premier organization dedicated to the Control Systems Integration industry providing its members a unique forum for education and discussion of the business. site supervision. The CSIA Best Practices & Benchmarks provides the CSI’s a means to both evaluate and continuously improve their practices by providing sound CSI Industry "Benchmarks". . The CSIA Benchmarking Methodology The CSIA developed the most comprehensive system for establishing Best Practices & Benchmarks for the CSI industry. The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) was formed in 1994 to provide a means to help end-users understand and utilize the services of the CSI as well as to help the CSI to improve their level of service. marketing and technical issues they face. training. for example. the CSIA also officially "registers" CSI’s that have been audited and meet key criteria on items deemed important by the industry it serves to successfully run a CSI business and associated projects. thereby confusing the marketplace.á á á á á á Process/Technology Knowledge Consulting Integrated Solutions Design and Application Development Support Services Value-Add services such as staff augmentation. to be used in a selfdeterministic fashion for the markets they serve.0 General Management This section contains criteria (questions) associated with the control systems integrator's purpose. long-range plans. Most CSI’s evolve out of singular services to a full range of services and take on many different looks along the way. In addition.

0 Human Resources & Professional Development The management of human resources is a vital component of a successful control systems integrator. long-range plans.4 1. The H.2 Organizational Structure A) Organization Chart/Structure B) Office Procedures Manual Facilities and Equipment A) Necessary Office/Field Equipment Available/Maintained B) Technical/Historical Project Archive Computer Systems Management A) Documented Computer System Policy B) Unauthorized SW Copying Violation Understanding C) Software License Management D) Adequate Backup System for Information E) Maintain Software Support Library F) Software License Transfer Practice Guideline Loss Prevention A) Adequate Insurance/CSI & Client B) Key Man and/or Buyout Insurance of Key Individuals C) Work Contractually Authorized D) Errors and Omissions 1.1 Strategic Management This section contains criteria (questions) associated with the control systems integrator’s purpose. A) B) C) Defined/Clear Strategic Objectives Regularly Monitored Short Range Objectives Formulated Owner/Management Transition 1. management is concerned with four issues: • • • • Meeting Legal Requirements Recruitment Process Employee Development Retention Program .1. The most valuable asset any company has is the employees who perform the work.5 2. objectives and goals.3 1.R.

The purpose is not to judge the actual methodology. documentation.3 3.0 Project Management This section addresses issues that include clarity of scope. project execution methodologies. practices/ standards.3 2. but to ensure the methodologies are documented and followed as related to the project scope. quality procedures. project team structure.1 Administration A) Job Descriptions Established/Utilized B) Employee Turnover Rate .2 2.1 Project Planning and Methodologies A) Assignment of Qualified Team Personnel B) Project Information Review/Approval for Client Expectations C) Project Change Documentation with Client Approval D) Assigned Personnel Time Commitment/Project E) Key Personnel Briefed on Overall Scope of Project F) Project Management Via Plans and Schedules G) Risk Management Process/Involves Client Design Standards A) Software Standards Used Consistently and Improved B) Promote Development of Standard Design Techniques C) Project Execution Methodology Used and Improved Project Quality Procedures A) Verify/Document Deliverables Documentation A) Emphasize Accurate/Documented Communications B) Prepare Project Manuals for Project Execution C) Method to Track/Store Project Materials D) Documentation Standards Used on All Project/Docs E) Timely Close of Project with File Off-Site Storage 3. testing.2 3. thoroughness of work planning.4 3.Quantitatively Track C) Enforce a Drug-Free Workplace Recruiting A) Standard Policy for Recruiting Employee Development A) Career Path B) Skill Development Retention Programs A) Employee Benefits 2. 3.4 . and commissioning.2.

0 Financial Management The financial and accounting aspects of the control systems integrator should focus on the specific means required to manage.6 4. Measurable Improvements A) Verify Client Satisfaction and Document Customer Service A) Complaint Procedure & Verify Resolution 4.2 4.1 Measures of Financial Performance A) GAAP Financial System in Operation B) Timely Accounting Methods/Reports Financial Planning A) Cash Flow Forecast Requirements via Credit/Cash 5.4 5.3 4.5 Testing and Implementation A) Panel Assembly Standards & Testing/Docs B) Factory Acceptance Test with Documented Results C) Prior Negotiate/Document before Field Modifications Safety Training on Projects A) Provide Safety Training B) Conduct Accident Reports C) Perform Safety Audits 3.3. 5. and plan the company’s financial resources.2 .1 Leadership A) Documented Goals and Policy that is Communicated B) Management Commitment to Implement Quality Systems Effective Communication A) Conduct Meetings on Quality Continuous.0 Quality Management While quality very likely permeates all aspects of a successful business. control. this section deals with quality management as a distinct dimension of an organization. report. 4.

4 5.5 6.3 . overly zealous promotion can disrupt other aspects of a control systems integrator’s practice.2 6. New opportunities must be forthcoming at a reasonably steady rate and on terms that will provide the control systems integrator with financial stability.0 Business Development An effective business development program is required for the survival of every control systems integrator. At the same time.1 Business Development Practices A) Marketing Materials Present Accurate Information B) Maintain Accurate Resumes of Individual's Expertise C) Disclose/Define Relationship with Other Parties Development of Proposals A) Define When/Why Say "NO" to Proposal B) Guidelines of Defining Scope of Work/Supply C) Basis of Scope/Proposal Clearly Written D) Standards for Estimating/Pricing E) Administrative Review and Approval Policy Negotiating and Contracting A) Standard Commercial Documents Used/Reviewed B) Proposals/Contracts Reviewed for Liability Issues C) Contracts Straightforward/Easily Understood D) Software Ownership E) Intellectual Property Ownership 6.3 Billing Procedures A) Change Procedures in Place for Proper Billing B) Invoices Checked for Accuracy/Compliance C) Monitoring Method for % Completion/WIP D) A/R Monitored with Overdue Accounts Pursued Project Financial Reporting A) Project Control Job Cost System B) Timely Review Job Cost System Reports C) Does Job Cost Require Forecast-to-Complete? Tax Policy A) Sales/Use Taxes Collected/Paid with Records B) Payroll Taxes Paid in Timely and Proper Manner C) Federal Taxes Estimated/Paid as Required 5. 6.5.

. Training and documentation and/or records are minimal and incomplete. practice. and documentation doesn’t exist or is minimal. but not demonstrated. and no evidence of any work being initiated in this area. practice or standards "elements" implemented with good supporting documentation. but with opportunities for improvement. and continual improvement is strived for. Effectiveness is good.The CSIA Best Practices & Benchmarks document contains specific questions in each category and sub-sections of each category. Basic policy. Basic policy. practice. practice or standards "systems" in place. training. The questions are then answered using a numeric score based on the following table: SCORE 0 1 2 DESCRIPTION No evidence of policy. or standards "elements" partially implemented. but not always evident. documented and implemented to the point where they can be called outstanding. practice or standards "elements" initiated. "Systems" can be considered minimally adequate. This self-evaluation process assists the CSI in preparing for the third party auditor that is required for the CSIA registration process. Effectiveness is evident and continual improvement is being demonstrated. 3 4 5 The CSI then evaluates each category and provides a rating based on the provided table. Higher policy. practice or standards mostly implemented with supporting documentation. Areas that are identified as areas requiring improvement are corrected then reassessed. Basic policy. Effectiveness is not being satisfactorily demonstrated. or standards are considered well thought out. Higher policy. Implementation. Knowledge of the "system" is good and is uniformly applied.

org). Provides a means for CSI evaluation. Registration criteria addresses General Management. Minimizes the potential risk when selecting a CSI. The criteria are as follows: • • • An independent third party organization conducts the CSIA registration audit of a CSI based on the CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks criteria. Financial Management and Business Development. The registration criteria were jointly developed by CSIs. . CSIA registration reduces the client’s efforts. Quality Management. Educates users to the requirements for a good CSI.The CSIA Registration Process The CSIA registration provides the client with an effective method for immediate evaluation of a CSI. clients and manufacturers to ensure that the criteria reflect the requirements of the parties involved relative to the implementation of control systems. Established an industry standard benchmark. The benefits are as follows: • • • • • Provides a mechanism by which the CSI can continuously improve. Members who have successfully achieved registration are identified on the CSIA website (www.controlsys. Human Resources & Professional Development. costs and risks associated with the selection of a CSI by identifying those CSI’s that have met an established industry metric. Project Management. • Benefits To The Industry The benefits of Best Practices & Benchmarking to industry are numerous to the CSI and the end user.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful