Back from CSIA 2010

I’m back in the office after attending the Control Systems Integrators Association (CSIA) conference. I always enjoy attending the conference to connect  people who are dedicated to the betterment of system integration by sharing best practices and promoting the recognition and importance of excellence.

Familiar Faces

Despite the fact that most of the constituents focus exclusively on industrial automation, the challenges of managing a system integration business are much the same. Several NI Alliance Partners there including:

  • VI Engineering
  • Viewpoint Systems
  • Bloomy Controls
  • Optimation
  • Data Science Automation
  • DMC

It was rewarding to see them there. In many cases, I likely introduced them to CSIA. But, it is a testament to their commitment to run a quality system integration business that they they invest the time and energy to participate in the conference.

Direct from the Horses Mouth

As always, I enjoy (and get the most out of) the presentations given by managers of an SI company. Speaking from their own experiences, they offer the best insight and practical advice on how to be successful as well as how to avoid failure. So, the best 3 sessions in my opinion were:

  1. Applying Lean Manufacturing Principles to the System Integrator’s World
    Jeff Miller, Director of Automation Services, Interstates Control Systems, Inc., Sioux Center, IA
    During tough economic times clients expect to see price cuts. So how does a systems integrator survive and remain poised for tremendous growth? One way is to apply lean manufacturing principals to our everyday work.

  2. Are You Selecting Your Customers or Are They Selecting You?
    Dean Streck, CEO, VI Engineering, Farmington Hills, MI
    Not all customers are equal. This talk examines the importance of selecting your customers wisely and the far reaching impacts on your future. Dean will review various customer selection techniques and measurement methods including project margin, account margin, total lifetime value and the impact on your culture. Actual examples include the impacts of both wise and poor choices in changing industries.

  3. The Top Ten Concrete Business Tips Learned Over 25 Years as a Systems Integrator
    Rick Pierro, President, Superior Controls, Seabrook, NH
    Rick will share valuable, easy to implement, and proven ideas which will produce more profit and add more value to your business. From marketing, hiring, contracts, structure and additional services, this talk will leave you with practical ideas to improve both your customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to pass along some of the ideas from these presentations. But, if you really want to get the most value consider joining CSIA and attending the conference for yourself.

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