31 Jul

Rethinking Millennial Business Loyalty


This photo, “Millennials Jam Workshop: Youth and ICTs beyond 2015” is copyright (c) 2014 itupictures and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Business loyalty has often thought to be a thing of the past. Gone are the days when a person would graduate college and work with a single company until their retirement day. Millennials (those born roughly between the years of 1982 and 2002) are changing the workplace, with some expecting them to have upwards of nine different careers in their lifetime. At least, these are the assumptions. New statistics out of the 2013 Kelly Global Workforce Index indicate Millennials are still interested in business loyalty if their employer is willing to invest.

Offering benefits, like health care and paid vacation, have always been perks that Millennials have in mind during their job search. One of the most interesting items the Workforce Index looked at was the benefit of training and development on the job. As opposed to the idea the generation will hop from job to job, many Millennials are looking for training opportunity as a way to grow with a business. Two-thirds of engineering professionals hope to remain loyal to their employer and see training as a way to further their importance to the company. On the other end, only 15 percent seek additional training for the purpose of finding a better job or starting their own business.

Many businesses enjoy having Millennials as employees for the ease with which they handle technology. Synergy is no exception, especially because of our commitment to be at the forefront of technological advancements in automation.  To this end, we provide many benefits that Millennials look for, including the above mentioned health care and paid vacation time. We look to train our workers to be the best they can be and offer various opportunities to advance in skill and position. In addition, we offer a flexibility that is craved in the workplace.

If you know of a recent college graduate interested in joining a team of expert engineers and combustion experts, send them to our Careers page or have them send a message to Careers@synsysinc.com



25 Jul

Using Digital Backup to Guard Against Mother Nature’s Wrath

Natural disasters cost the government and insurance companies billions every year, the most costly over the past 10 years resulting from hurricanes and earthquakes. However, in 2012, damage due to droughts far outweighed earthquakes. Any natural disaster, big or small, can have a huge impact on industry. We often hear about shortages of certain products due to natural disasters. It wasn’t long ago the news was talking about a predicted shortage of pork due to various factors including last year’s long dry spell. Individual plants can be affected as well. A simple power outage can be caused by a number of natural weather events and can cost a plant a large amount of money if they right mechanisms aren’t in place.

In industry, we often prepare for natural disasters by having back-up power and continuity policies. Mother Nature’s wrath is a natural part of life and sometimes all we can do is have a plan in place to pick up the pieces after the damage. Living in the digital age means that many of the pieces will be in the form of electronic data.

Digital information is both a blessing and a curse depending on how you use it. All the information in your business can potentially be accessed from one computer. At the same time, if something happens to that once computer, where is the data then? A few years ago, people backed up data on compact disk or external hard drives. These are both very good options, but they all pose one problem: they are physical objects which can be easily corrupted or destroyed.

These realities make off-site backup and cloud storage that much more important. Having information stored on the iCloud or SkyDrives means that information is available on any computer, even if the original computer that created the information is destroyed. Likewise, off-site back up, such as the quarterly backup Synergy offers clients through safety plans, makes sure you data is stored safely and that someone can be held accountable if that off-site backup fails.

While our society has grown to rely on digital data, our ability to backup that data is slow in catching up. It is still not uncommon for someone to post a Facebook status proclaiming they need everyone’s phone numbers again because they lost their phone. Business data is greater than a Facebook post can fix, though. In the past three years, 30 percent of small business have been closed for at least 24 hours due to a natural disaster and still, 60 percent of U.S. businesses are without off-site data back up or a formalized recovery plan.

So important are backup and recovery plans that the Control Integrators Association mentions its significance multiple times throughout their best practices document. In fact, it is even a requirement of the audit to be prepared for Mother Nature. As such, we have added a whole host of security measures to our own business. Recently, we upgraded to Office 365, which comes with SkyDrive cloud storage. While we rarely have an issue with our data, it gives us peace of mind to know that our valuable business information is secure. Mother Nature is unpredictable, after all. Who knows where or how she will strike next.

17 Jul

Tablets in the Workplace


This photo, “Tablets stacked on the desk” is copyright (c) 2014 Intel Free Press and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

Tablets have turned into the latest tech tool, from the Samsung Galaxy note to the Microsoft Surface. Speculation has been around for a while about how these easily transportable devices may change the way we use technology in the workplace. We’ve all seen the commercials showing data, graphs and emails displayed on tablets. How accurate are those commercials, though? Synergy set out early this year to answer that question.

 Over the Christmas holiday season, we obtained an iPad, a Microsoft Surface and a Galaxy Note to see how our expert engineers were able to use these tablets in the workplace. While they all had their advantages and disadvantages, we recently decided to purchase Samsung ATIV Smart PCs for the rest of our engineers. This tablet runs Windows 8 on it and also has a detachable keyboard, much like the Microsoft Surface does.

The biggest benefit we have seen so far has been in our day to day note taking tasks. Whether it’s stepping into an office and jotting down a quick note or participating in project meetings, these tablets are great for note taking. Even more important to the engineers in the office, these tablets allow you to write just as you would on paper, meaning they can sketch their drawings and easily save them. No longer do we waste time flipping through a ton of notebooks trying to find that one special page. Instead, each set of notes can be saved and given a name, making them easy to find later.

While this certainly helps organization, it also has the fantastic benefit of reducing paper use. The result is similar to what we provide our clients through our solutions and services. Not only will we save money by needed fewer office materials, but we are also aiding the environment by using far less paper.

That is not the end for these tablets, which live up to the idea of mini computers in many ways. It’s extremely easy to access the internet or email through a tablet. While these are things you can do on many smart phones, the tablets allow larger views which can be important when view professional documents.

In the future, we intend to use the tablets for remote access to desktops in the office and on client sites. With this ability, we will be able to work on process control from wherever we are and without the need to have a laptop or desktop.

While we have found tablets to be a great asset to our work environment, with plenty of potential to grow in importance, the bigger question has yet to be answered. Can a tablet replace a computer? The answer really depends on the type of business you run. If you need something to type documents, check email and access the internet, a tablet may very well replace a computer. However, if you are doing heavy work with coding, drawings and large files, a computer is still necessary.

We look forward to the future of tablets. While they may not be at a point yet to replace computers, there is certainly great potential. Who knows what kind of powerful technology we’ll be carrying in our pockets 10 years from now.

10 Jul

Business Optimization with Automation

Synergy’s combustion experts are some of the best in the world. We are more than just boilers, however. We are process experts, optimizing process plants to produce information specifically relevant to the business as a whole. How many products are produced per hour? What percentage of products is produced correctly? What is the average amount of product within a container? All these questions and more can be answered with top level automation equipment optimizing a plant.

Synergy Systems Inc. is a group of automation guys targeting processes with combustion expertise. This effort defines our service to asset reliability. We imagine a plant where each machine has, in a way, its own mind, collecting tremendous amounts of data that can then be used to communicate with other machines and the humans working in the plant. The ability for the Human-Machine-Interface to be easily read by those in the plant is essential. Have the best technology in the world does no good if the data gathered can’t be translated into information.

Information is key in this world. Through a multitude of ever changing media, it seems as if every piece of knowledge known to man is attainable. In our daily lives, this poses a challenge as we try and uncover the facts among massive commentary and rumors. A plant should no operate like that, especially when it doesn’t have to. Having assets that gather numerous sets of data is pointless if it takes operators too long to decipher from that data information that is meaningful to the business.

Business drives the plant. It’s what dictates how, why and where a product is made. Business provides the key performances indicators that establish how well the business is progress toward their goals. Business is what we aim to optimize regardless of the service or solution we provide a client. We aim not only to provide quality equipment that produces accurate data, but equipment that can translate that into information displayed on a fantastic human-machine interface.  Depending on where the interface is, different forms of information may need to be displayed. The assets of a plant can extend beyond the control room with the ability to display information relevant to specific levels in a business. The information the plant operator needs will be different than the information the business CEO needs. With each department receiving the accurate information they need, business performance is optimized.

We invite you to ask yourself how you can optimize your own business performance during your next plant upgrade or inspection. We have experts here who would love to assist you with their knowledge and provide you with the greatest pay off.




03 Jul

Happy Birthday Synergy!

Happy Birthday Synergy!

Tomorrow is the 4th of July, America’s Independence Day and, like other patriots around the country, we are excited to meet with friends and family, enjoy a good meal and watch firework displays.  It’s a day that reminds us of all that makes our country great and helps us better envision a future even more great than our present.

Check out our Energy Patriot pilot program to see how we are trying to promote a vision of an Energy Independent America.

There is more to celebrate today than just the eve of Independence Day. Today, 34 years ago, was the day Synergy Systems Inc. was born.  We had a small celebration in our office to commemorate the event, complete with cake.

As if that wasn’t enough reason to celebrate, we hit another milestone this week as one of the top 100 System Integrator Giants of 2013. Based on 2012 data, we are listed 79th on the list.

The article, published on pages 46 – 56 in the June issue of Control Engineering had some interesting states about the industry of system integration and the 100 giants that define the business.  The importance of CSIA (Control System Integrators Association) Certification was clearly seen, as the magazine reported that 57 percent of giants are certified. This is up from 43 percent last year.

In addition, CSIA was among the top affiliations of giants, along with NFPA (Nation Fire Protection Agency) and ISA (The International Society of Automation).  We are proud to have all of these as our affiliations as well. In addition, Rockwell Automation brands to the first three places on the list of brands preferred among integrators.

Perhaps brightest of all, was the news that the number of integrators reporting the economy as a challenge to their business fell significantly. Instead, this year the biggest challenge is finding skilled workers to hire. While this is a significant challenge, it is also a sign of progress showing that integrators are looking to hire.

We have a lot to celebrate this holiday weekend. We here at Synergy hope you all have a safe and joyful time with your friends and family. Happy 4th of July.