Industrial Automation Companies

Automation Report with CSIA

Posted on June 16, 2021 by

Clayton & Mckervey

Clayton & McKervey

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The Sound of Automation

In this episode of The Sound of Automation podcast, we talk to CSIA CEO Jose Rivera. This Control System Integrators Association leader shares some of the biggest trends impacting industrial automation right now. Learn how automation can help businesses increase efficiency, save costs, and stay competitive.

Podcast Transcript

Announcer:

Welcome to the Sound of Automation brought to you by Clayton & McKervey, CPAs for growth driven businesses.

Denise Asker, Director of Mkt. & Practice Growth:

Hey Brian, how are you?

Bryan Powrozek, Sr. Manager Industrial Automation:

I’m good, Denise, how are you doing?

Denise Asker:

Good. It was nice to have lunch and see you live.

Bryan Powrozek:

Exactly. It’s almost like normal again.

Denise Asker:

Yeah. We need to do that more often.

Bryan Powrozek:

Exactly.

Denise Asker:

Well, I’m excited that you’re going to talk to our friend Jose Rivera today.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yes, yes, Jose is a good friend of the firm, CEO of the Control System Integrator Association. So, really looking forward to having a good conversation with him.

Denise Asker:

So remind me how we got to know him and make him a part of our network?

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah. So when Tim first started getting involved in looking into the industrial automation space and companies, he was connected to CSIA, the group that Jose heads. And in attending some of their events, meeting with the members, we just saw a lot of alignment between the types of companies we can help and we like to work with and the members that participated there. So at that point we started getting more involved and I’ll say one thing about the system integration industry, is they’re a very tight knit close group.

Denise Asker:

Yeah.

Bryan Powrozek:

And so when they see that you’re putting in the time to learn about their businesses and their industries and stuff like that, they welcomed me with open arms.

Denise Asker:

Sure.

Bryan Powrozek:

And we’ve had a lot of great opportunities to help and work with companies through CSIA.

Denise Asker:

Good. I know we’re tight on time, but one question, I know that they talk about being a resource to help build better businesses.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yep.

Denise Asker:

And that feels synergistic to what we might be trying to do. Do you see that connection in your day to day?

Bryan Powrozek:

Oh, definitely. You think about it, that’s the challenge for a small to midsize entity, right? You’ve got a, probably in this case, an engineer who maybe worked for a bigger system integrator, decided to go off on their own, start their own business. So their real core strength is engineering, they know the products, the design, the development, they know that side. Not too many have been educated in the accounting and the marketing and business development and all of the other things you need to do once you’ve got the business on your own. So what you find is, networks like CSIA can help fill in some of those gaps for you. You get the opportunity to network and meet with other company owners who are going through the same struggles you are, you can learn from things that they’ve done right, and done wrong, the association itself collects a lot of good information to help business owners make better decisions. So it’s a really good group for companies to be involved in if they’re in the system integration industry.

Denise Asker:

Great. Looking forward to hearing all about it.

Bryan Powrozek:

All right, thanks Denise.

Denise Asker:

Thanks Bryan, see you.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yep, bye.

Bryan Powrozek:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Sound of Automation, today my guest is Jose Rivera. Jose is the CEO of CSIA. Jose, how are you doing today?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

I’m doing great, thanks for having me.

Bryan Powrozek:

Oh, thanks for coming on. So Jose, I know that obviously we do a lot of work with CSIA, the control system integrators association, but some of the folks listening to this podcast might not be overly familiar with it. So can you give me a little bit of your background and just kind of a little bit of the history of CSIA?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Sure. I am an electrical engineer. I studied and I got my bachelor’s and my [inaudible 00:03:45], which is like a master’s at the University of Costa Rica, and I’ve worked as an engineer over there. And then I came to the United States to get my master’s in business administration. I went to Northwestern University and I have always in the past worked for the large automation slash electrical equipment providers like Siemens, Emerson, Electric, and Schneider Electric. And then I went there at one point and I joined CSIA and it was a dramatic change because I was now dealing with a much smaller privately held system integration company. And this is what CSIA is about, we are an association of control system integrators and associated vendor partners, partners that provide automation equipment and also services, like Clayton & McKervey that provide financial services to our communities.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

And these system integrators are normally smaller companies, they tend to be smaller than $5 million in revenue, which means less than 25 people on staff. These are, this is the biggest chunk, but of course we have the huge system integrators whose revenue will go around 100 million, and so it’s actually very impressive. But this is the community of CSIA. And CSIA was started in 1994 when a group of system integrators got together and decided to help each other out to build better companies. And that has been the focus of CSIA, even though they all deal with technology related to automation, but what they come for help at CSIA is on the management of the companies, and this is what we do with something that we call it the best practices manual, that is provide the option to get certified by an independent auditor.

Bryan Powrozek:

Excellent. Yeah, and I know that you and I have talked about this in the past, but I think the interesting thing for me, and some of what you kind of alluded to there, you had worked in different companies associated with system integration, but now in your role with CSIA, you get to see so many companies and the things that work and the things that might not work. And so it kind of puts us in a little bit of a unique position that we can see a bigger picture of the entire industry. So since you kind of have that unique position, what are some of the things that you’re seeing, some of the big trends that are impacting industrial automation right now?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Okay. So industrial automation is overall benefiting from the recognition or the growing recognition that automation, it improves competitiveness. And so the current pandemic provided an additional push, and this is to say an additional push because there had been already a lot of pushes before then to implement or increase the level of automation. But when you have the opportunity to connect your devices and bring your factory floor to the next level, and that is what some refer to as smart manufacturing or industry 4.0, this is an incredible improvement in competitiveness. So we have seen that and we have also been seeing in industries that have a lot of density of workers on the factory floor, which is like a big, no no for COVID times, that they have gone and reduced the return on investment requirements or hurdles, for projects in automation, such that they could reduce the density on the floor.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So imagine, palletizers, imagine food and beverage like meat packaging, you have a lot of workers next to each other. That process is maybe a little more complex because it probably requires some level of robotics, okay? But these are areas that have benefited a lot. And the other part that we can not forget to mention is the reshoring of some industries. So if you reshoring from low wage countries to the United States, you have to stay competitive, and the only way for you to do that is by investing in automation. So that is also happening and so it’s interesting times and promising times for the automation industry.

Bryan Powrozek:

And it will be really interesting with the, as you mentioned, the reshoring. I know that that is one of the priorities of the Biden administration is to try and help companies bring manufacturing back. One thing that the pandemic has showed us is the fragility of the supply chain, right? That everything worked great, but now all of a sudden, when things are shut down, lots of companies can’t continue to do what they were doing because they don’t have the raw materials coming in, the things that they need that are coming from China or overseas. So in order to re stabilize US manufacturing, you’re not going to be able to do it with people, you’re going to have to have investment in some of this automation to help bring that cost in line and keep things competitive.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Correct.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

One other thing that maybe is worth mentioning is that the vision of industry 4.0, which was a vision crafted in Germany, was that Germany being even a higher cost of labor country than the present day United States. Their vision was to be able to produce a batch one competitively. And so this way you will be able to deliver very quickly with a highly customized product to your local client, that was, or still is a division of that. But now imagine a batch of one, this is highly customized, so.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

This totally requires automation, and it’s not just at the manufacturing level, it is a customization all the way from order entry. So you need to be able to specify that highly customized product through the ways it gets manufactured and then shipped over to you.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah, there’s a local organization here in Metro Detroit called Automation Alley that has set up this network of 3D printers. And it’s really, when you talk to Tom Kelly, the CEO of that association, just thinking about what that allows you to do now. Me as a manufacturer, if a customer comes to me with a 10,000 piece order, I wouldn’t be able to fulfill that myself, but now I’ve got this network of 300 printers I can rely on. And that kind of smart manufacturing and interconnectedness is kind of like you’re talking about, being able to have a production size of one, a customized unit and being able to do it cost effectively just completely changes the way people can think about manufacturing and how to go about their business models.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Yes. And I’ve seen those presentations and I’ve seen those cars that they have printed out, they’re impressive. But I will say one thing okay, so that is a radical view. But today, if you live in Germany and I had the benefit of living there, and you order a car, that is a very different process than what you have in the United States. In the United States, you go to a dealer and if they have the car that you had in mind in the lot, you’ll probably select that dealer. So availability, immediate availability is what wins them the job, but then there are standard packages and maybe the basic, the medium, and the premium, something like that, right?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

If you are in Germany, you go to a dealer, they will have very, very, very few standard option cars on the lot. And it’s basically just to show and give you a test drive, you end up custom ordering your car, and you select the color of the trim, the color of the fabric of your seats, to that level, this is today and this has been like that for, I don’t know, 15 years or so. So they’re used to having that ability to customize. Now, automation helps you, you’re going to increase that, such that the delivery time is more because yes, it’s not immediate availability in Germany, you have to wait six months or more for your car.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah. I made the, I won’t say it was a mistake, but I ordered one vehicle one time that I had built to my specifications. And I did it in a year where the manufacturer was having some contract negotiations with their union workforce, and so my six to eight weeks gradually grew to 10, then it grew to 12. And so that’s where I said to myself, I’m not going through this again. I’ll just settle for one of the ones that are on the lot. But now, like you said, if I knew that I had the option of getting that car in two weeks the way I want it. Yeah, I would do it every day. But we make those compromises because that’s what the system allows for.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Yes. And Bryan, let me go back a little bit too, to the trends in automation.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So this is a trend that has been long time in the making. And that is that end-users, which are the customers of system integrators and also of the automation equipment vendors, they have more and more been outsourcing their engineering and system integration functions. So years ago, and I’m talking 20, 30 years ago, the engineering departments of these end users, be it automotive manufacturers, but also chemical and petrochemical companies. They had large engineering departments and these engineering departments would do a lot of the work that system integrators do today. And every time that there was pressure on the market for margins or just like industry crisis, these would be the departments that would be put on the streets. And so the end users would then outsource, and a lot of these engineers started forming their companies and selling back to their previous employers.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

And that is the origin of a lot of system integrators. So this trend of viewing this part as outside of their core, that has started a while ago, this continues today. And it continues today because the scope and the expectation of what automation can deliver has been increasing, right? So there’s this whole level of automation, it’s not just like, there’s automating this machine or this production line. It’s now including the supply chain, et cetera, et cetera. So that level is much bigger, and so it becomes harder for you to develop that capability if you’re an end user with all of this changing technology [inaudible 00:14:06]. So that’s why system integrators have been able to flourish in this space.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

But the other thing that has been happening also over time is that end users want to have bigger and bigger solutions [inaudible 00:14:19]. They want to deal less and less with specifying bits and pieces, they want turnkey projects. So we have had not too long ago, just to mention one example, a system integrator being acquired by a construction company. And these are the construction companies that will build you, your new plan for making pharmaceuticals or whatever it is, and that includes the automation. So that is, I think also a very interesting trend going on in our industry.

Bryan Powrozek:

It’s interesting, you bring that up and we didn’t really discuss this kind of in preparing for the interview, but it’s something I thought about that in talking with some of my clients who do system integration. There’s one in particular who his belief is that system integration will eventually go away because the technologies will become more democratized that. Okay well now it’s to the point where my home printer, I bring it in, I set it up on my network, it finds the network and then I’m off and running, I don’t need to do anything, but I feel like that’s maybe an oversimplification, right? There’s always going to be, as you mentioned, they’re pushing for bigger systems, more cutting edge systems. So yeah, maybe in 15, 20 years from now a robotic cell is implemented today, you can order it off the shelf turnkey and set it up yourself and do it in the plant.

Bryan Powrozek:

But then there’s going to be a higher level technology that comes after that you’re going to need the integrators to, to implement in your facility. I guess, what are you seeing in your role, are, are people talking about that? Is there a concern about integration migrating away, or?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

No, I have not heard that, but I know what you’re saying. So if you go back to the very beginning, let’s say off PLC programming. At the very, very beginning, the way you were programming these was very basic, the most common one is Data Logic, still used today, but I’m talking even earlier generations where they were programming in machine language, this is very messy. If you are now able and when you are in the process industry, this you can see, you are programming there with objects, right? So you say, this is my tank. And then you start figuring the tank, like you will do in regular life. And then this tank is connected with this pipe to this pump, and then you specify the pump, et cetera. So this is much more intuitive. So it is true, this is helping you do your automation job. There are also tools that are automating the job of automation. So the configuration, if you have a production line and there are 10 cells and you can replicate it. So you do it for one, you copy it to the nine that are remaining, all of that is true.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

All of that is totally true, but here’s the part where the scope grows for the system integrators, which is in the past, the automation was limited just on this manufacturing floor, sometimes even just the machines. Now it goes further into the supply chains, like when the customer orders tying it to inventory, tying it to your ERP system. And then when the product is ready to your warehousing, to your shipping, warehousing also means at one point retrieval by these robots that will bring it to be put in a package to be shipped out. So on one hand, yes, automation is also automating the job of parts of what the system integrator does. But on the other end, you have now this increased scope of what can be done with automation that just makes the job of a system integrator different, I think more enriching and I think bigger.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah, exactly. Something you mentioned that I want to go back to, and you kind of mentioned it in passing, but I think it’s one of the big trends that we see within the companies we deal with is the MNA activity, right? Y you gave an example of, of a client that was acquired by somebody kind of completely outside of industry, but whether it is people already in the industry looking to acquire new skills or maybe get into a different market or something like that, we’ve got the, we’ve got the baby boomers, right? There’s a lot of baby boomers looking probably after this latest economic cycle saying, “Hey, it’s probably time for me to get out. I don’t want to go through another one of those.” What types of things are you guys seeing on the MNA front?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Yes. And I think it’s very interesting, and being in our industry, you hear how these things are happening. So you are right, we are seeing a wave of boomers willing to retire and making the supply of companies available for acquisition or for consolidation. And on the purchasing side, what you start seeing is you have all of this that are what we call the strategic buyers. So these are the companies that view the system integration portion as being consistent with their strategy or an enabler of the strategy. So an example, and I had a conversation recently with a machine builder. So they produce production line machines, and they have had a dramatic increase. Because of that trend that I mentioned earlier about end-users wanting to have the full solution, when they deliver these products, these machines, they are required to integrate them into the system of the end users.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So they have a small system integration capability, but because of the increase in the production for machines, they don’t have enough system integration capability. And they view system integrators as providing that capability either through partnering and in their case, that is their view through acquisition. Then what you have also started to see in the space are companies that, like this construction company that wants to deliver the bigger solution, that includes the automation. And that is another example. You also have the automation equipment vendors, we had a few years ago, Rockwell Automation acquired Maverick. Maverick was a certified system integrator of CSA. And that is a typical example of yes, we provide the equipment, but if you want the solution, we can also provide the integration. So these are all examples of strategic buyers, yes.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

And then the other part that is relatively new, I’m not saying it’s brand new, but it has received a lot of impetus in the the past years. These are the non strategic buyers, and I’m talking about private equity. So private equity has started to see, like all the possibilities for automation in the future and started to put money down. So they have acquired system integrators. And just because as a private company, funds are normally available, they have then used those funds to consolidate. So they have acquired a couple of other system integrators, put them together under one roof and that I think will continue to happen. I think that there is appetite for this and there’s also supply.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah, and it’s interesting, I know a local private equity group here that just, as you said, they’ve kind of identified that system integration and automation is an area they need to expand their portfolio on. They already have a few companies that they work with. And really, I think private equity gets a bad name, and just like any industry there’s, there’s good private equity firms and bad private equity firms. But all in all, it is an option that a business owner should be considering because it could be that option to jumpstart something, you’ve got a plan or a vision that you want to accomplish, but you don’t have the capital yourself as the business owner and there’s companies out there willing to work with, there’s private equity groups out there willing to work with companies to help them achieve that next level. And so it’s a way of jump-starting here your growth. So it’s definitely something that people should keep an eye out for because there will be interest from their side. It’s just if the integrators themselves are willing to get involved in that type of relationship.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Absolutely. And that what you said about getting ready, I think that for system integrators, if I would be a system integrator, I would really start preparing for when I get the knock on my door about the willingness to sell the business. And it does not necessarily mean that I want to buy, but I always think of you need to build options, such that you have the ability to select what you want to, but just build those options. And if you are ready in your mind, if you have dealt with the thought of, what am I going to do and selling the business?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

But beyond that, if you are having a conversation with somebody that is looking into MNA, you will probably have to have your financials ready.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

You will have to sort out your strategic questions about succession. How long do you want to stay in the business? All of these different things, just take some time to think this through. And because those visits come early and some of the buyers have patients and keep visiting you until you are available. But if they have the money on hand and they have a mission, they will go and they will try to get what they can get.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah. And I think that that’s one of the lessons from the pandemic, right? Is that I think most business owners have some sort of a plan that they’re trying to execute, the question of is it a one-year, a five-year, a 10 year plan? But something that we think a lot of business owners should be looking at is kind of those contingency or scenario plans, right? Of, okay, I’m not planning on selling, but if I get the knock on the door, or I’m not planning on acquiring, but if an opportunity comes, what does it have to look like? What does that offer need to be for me to entertain it? What does that acquisition need to look like for me to entertain it?

Bryan Powrozek:

And then even just basic scenario planning, what we worked with a lot of companies on during the pandemic here is cashflow. Okay, what happens if my orders go down by 10%, if they go down by 25%, if they go up by 25%? And that’s actually odd that in this pandemic, I think I had more conversations with companies on that side saying, “Well, no, we’re, we’re getting a lot of boards we’re concerned about, are we going to be able to support those orders. Do we have the head count we need, do we have the available cash to be able to start working on the projects that we’re going to need if all these things come in Q1, Q2 of 2021?” So being able to have those different scenarios in mind and think about them and you don’t have to figure out every plan to the nth degree, but at least be considering some of the big ones

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Sure, and having been on the acquiring side, what you’re looking for in your target is that it’s a good investment. A good investment means that you’re not buying into a company where everything depends on the owner, right? And when the owner is retired, you now having a huge issue. What you want to see are processes that are being implemented and repeated and basically the owner is, the company can continue without the owner, right? So I know of some companies that acquired, they want to have the owner take a month vacation and not be connected to the plan to prove that the company can continue running without them.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

The other things that I have seen buyers want is diversity in the number of, in the customers. They don’t want the company to be dependent on just one or two big accounts, because that is like putting all of the eggs in one or two baskets, right? And so these are the things, and if you are planning to sell at one point and you only have two big accounts that you’re servicing, well, maybe, and if you want to sell in the next five years, maybe the next step you have, should be filled with the efforts to get more accounts such that you diversify your revenue source.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah, yeah, exactly. So shifting gears here for a second, but I think it really relates back to a lot of what we’ve been talking about, right? You talked about the increasing expectations and the complexity from the users, the demand for automation, MNA type stuff. That’s a lot of information for a single business owner to take in, right? If I’m a $500 million a year company and I’ve got a full board and a full C suite that the CFO can handle the financials, the CMO can handle the marketing, all those things are divided up. But like you mentioned, a lot of the CSIA members are single owner and he wears every hat. And so this can be very challenging for them to keep up and keep tabs on all these things. And so I feel like that’s an area where an association like CSIA can help, it can help those business owners make some of these decisions, understand some of the things that are going on in the market. So what are some of the ways that you see CSIA helping business owners do better with their business?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Sure. So it’s a little bit back to the story of processes and outlining your operation. Because we think that if you are the owner and what you have is a team of supporters within your company, you probably can grow up to three, I don’t know, maybe $5 million in revenue and that’s it, that’s humanly what you can do. Beyond that you need to have the ability to have an organization where you can delegate. And the best practices manual is now into revision five, and we’re already working on revision six. This has been our manual that has existed for a very long part of our history. And this is what helps system integrators build more solid companies by implementing processes.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So it is not like a recipe book where you just go and say, I’m going to implement this, but it asks you, for example, under general management, it asks you, do you have a succession plan? And under that question, it has some bullet explaining of why is this an important question? What should you be considering? These type of things to help the system integrator then devise their succession plan to be able then to have that result. And this, believe it or not, it may sound a little bit basic, but for a lot of the system integration company owners, they are excellent technology people. That is how they started, and think about the management things. That is something that came later and for a lot them, it’s still a challenge because there’s still, a lot of them are running their companies with their engineering hat and now they need to wear the management hat. So it really becomes very challenging. We think that the best practices manual helps you because somebody already went through that process, and this is their accumulated experience.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

And the other thing that I will say is that a lot of what CSIA does with our virtual events or our in-person conferences, et cetera, is this community of system integrators that are willing to share what they have done and how they have done it, such that you are not alone. You can see very relevant examples of peers doing it, by the way, we also help organize peer groups. And so this now helps you get through a company to the next level. And I think we provide that in a very solid way.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah, it’s always interesting to me when, when I’m talking with one of our clients and they might be considering a new ERP package or some, they’re thinking about changing their payroll provider or something like that. And they can say, “Hey, do you know anybody that’s used this? Do you know anybody that’s worked through this?” And we’re fortunately in a position where, we get to see a lot of what goes on behind the scenes in the business. And we can say, “Oh yeah, we have this client over here that had it, they didn’t like this aspect of the ERP, but they really liked this aspect. So if that’s important to you, it’s probably a good solution to go with.”

Bryan Powrozek:

And so you get the same thing, so that best practices manual is kind of built on all of those lessons learned from all of those who have participated in the past, and then even I like from the executive conferences, the hot stove session, right? Where people are giving examples of, “Hey, here’s something that happened and here’s what we learned from it.” Because even though you may not have the exact same issue, you may have a similar enough issue that you say, “Oh yeah, we had this problem too and here’s how we approached it.”

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So it’s very interesting that you mentioned the hot stove, the full name is Lessons I’ve Learned From Touching A Hot Stove, okay? So we just go by the hot stove. But that is one of the examples about how our community is very open and willing to help others is by sharing their experiences. And it’s actually very humbling to see how some of them have admitted to having made a half a million dollar mistake and so they had to resolve it, but the happy ending was that that’s attributable to bad project management and this big mistake forced them to address project management head on, and now they’re able to be the leaders in project management. So that is absolutely, absolutely correct.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah. And even beyond that there’s the Pulse Program, the Easy Stats Program, the Total Retention Toolkit. Information that the members are willing to share within the group that ordinarily they wouldn’t necessarily open up the books or talk about their hiring practices and things like that. So now you’re getting a chance to again, see and learn from what everybody else is doing around the country and within the organization.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Yes, absolutely right. So if you are in an industry that has a lot of public companies that are publicly traded, you can get older information because they have to disclose it by law, right? By the regulations. If you are a system integrator, you are in a community where the majority of the members are privately held companies. They have no obligation to disclose any of their financials. So how do you know how to set benchmarks for your KPIs? How do you know if the only reference that you have is yourself? So if you set a benchmark to improve, how do you know if that’s realistic or not? And these programs that you were mentioning like Pulse or Easy Stats are ones that help you with that, Pulse in particular for the financial side.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

But Easy Stats is like a monthly survey that we do where a few questions, and we ask totally relevant questions, for example, now that we have been dealing with the pandemic, we have asked members how they dealt with the return to office and these type of things. So at least you know what the system integration community is doing, you can of course compare that with what the rest of the world is doing because you can read newspapers, right? And you can see everybody else, but for your specific system integration community, how is the community doing? And then you get that from our service.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

We also collaborate with JP Morgan. And twice a year we do a survey and they use the input from the surveys, JP Morgan does, to prepare their overview report on the automation industry. And they add the review of the automation equipment vendors in there. And so it’s a valuable, let’s say reward for those who participated in the survey. And in this is a high quality survey and I think also recognition of CSIA being the voice of the system integration community for that, but that also helps the system integrators that participate in it see the relevant things for their specific industry.

Bryan Powrozek:

Exactly, exactly. And well, Jose, I think anyone who’s ever talked to you understands and sees your passion, not only for this industry and the technologies that are utilized within it, but also just the business owners and helping them take their businesses to the next level. I’m looking at the clock here, I’m running up on my time for this recording. But if there’s people out there listening who aren’t very familiar with CSIA who may be controls companies or system integrators who would like to find out more about what the association has to offer, what’s the best way for them to find that information?

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Okay. So we have our website, which is www.ControlSys.org. So Control Sys, like Control System dot org. And then we are very open to new members, we have also had members from the building automation side of things, which I consider to be a close cousin of the industrial automation side of things. And there are some system integrators that are, let’s say more on the electrical side, automating power supplies, like uninterruptible power supplies for data centers.

Bryan Powrozek:

Yeah.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

So all of that is still relevant within our association. And they can all benefit along with other vendors of automation equipment, or automation solutions.

Bryan Powrozek:

Excellent. Excellent. Well, yeah we will link to the website in our show notes as well so people will be able to find it there, but Jose, I just want to thank you again. I really appreciate your time this morning and being open and honest with us and giving us some of the insight on what’s going on in the industry and with the association.

Jose Rivera, CEO, CSIA:

Thank you. And it’s always a pleasure to talk about our association.

Bryan Powrozek:

Excellent. Thank you, Jose.

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The Sound of Automation Podcast

The Sound of Automation Podcast

Industrial automation businesses are the driving force behind Industry 4.0, and Clayton & McKervey is here to help.

Insights & Perspectives

The Sound of Automation: Looking ahead to CSIA 2022

In this episode we talk with Lisa Richter, Director of Industry Outreach and Growth at Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) . Lisa and Bryan look ahead to the CSIA Executive conference taking place in Denver, CO on June 27-30, 2022 and share with listeners what to expect, who will be there, and the discussion panel topics focusing on this years’ theme “The Future of Work”. 

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