ISA Expo 2004: CSIA encourages members to offer maintenance services

Houston, TX—The Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA) announced at ISA Expo 2004 that it's encouraging its members to offer maintenance and support services in addition to the integration and implementation services they've traditionally offered in the plant automation and control system markets.


Houston, TX— The Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA) announced at ISA Expo 2004 that it's encouraging its members to offer maintenance and support services in addition to the integration and implementation services they've traditionally offered in the plant automation and control system markets.

CSIA's leaders say that maintenance services represent 'untapped opportunities' for system integrators. They report that U.S. industrial control equipment and systems service market is projected to reach $99 billion in 2005, according recent research by D.F. Blumberg Associates, Inc. (BAI), a management consulting firm to the high-tech service industry.

William Moore, ARC Advisory Services' VP, explains that continuing downsizing of internal plant maintenance forces; increasing complexity of systems and hardware; and demand for constant monitoring and rapid response to service issues are driving the accelerating need for maintenance and support services.

“In the past, hardware service and system maintenance was considered a core competency of manufacturers,' says Moore. 'But, this has necessarily changed, and is a result of the sophistication and integration of software, hardware, communications, and the Internet. What is required in 2004 are companies that can provide high-technology understanding, experience, and resources across a broad spectrum of disparate products and manufacturers. It is a role that had been served by independent maintenance firms, the equipment OEMs themselves, and their dealers.

“However, manufacturers want more than the traditional‘reactive’ service support. Today, they are looking for firms that are skilled in predictive and preventive maintenance, and performance optimization techniques.”

BAI's report, “Strategic Assessment of the Growth Potential in the Plant Automation and Control Systems Service Support Market,” declares that, “Control system integrators are emerging as a compelling alternative to the traditional service providers because they're able to provide total solutions that seamlessly integrate control and information technology for firms.”

A3's A Plus
One of CSIA's founding members, Advanced Automation Associates Inc. (A3), has reportedly taken the lead among system integrators in providing these types of maintenance services. A3 is the largest independent control system integrator in North America, and its A Plus service offers total support for manufacturers’ control systems and networks. A Plus includes:

  • Guaranteed service levels,

  • Improved service quality,

  • Improved asset utilization,

  • Reduced paperwork and costs,

  • Improved operating efficiency, and

  • Flexible service packages.

“Advanced Automation Associates moved three years ago to more tightly couple control systems with information systems in anticipation of the future model of manufacturing, which was moving to a‘make-to-order’ environment,” says Joe Biehl, A Plus’ service director. “Hand in hand with that move came the need for a more sophisticated and integrated line that is both horizontally and vertically integrated. This need couldn’t be met by existing staff at manufacturers providing continuous improvement or proactive maintenance of more complex systems.”

In response to this opportunity, A Plus provides one point of contact and support, eliminating the need for managing multiple vendors. The service includes 24-hour emergency call-out services to cover unanticipated equipment or control system failures. A Plus also provides access to value-added services, such as real-time training, documentation retrieval, and ongoing optimi-zation. A Plus also are offered at three levels: basic, intermediate, and premium, each with its own set of deliverables and escalating service level agreements.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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