08 Jan

PRESS RELEASE: Synergy Systems Inc. Earns CSIA Certification


For Immediate Release

The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA)

Synergy Systems Inc., Chicago-based provider of plant automation services, has earned CSIA Certified status in the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) “Best Practices and Benchmarks” certification program.

Synergy earned the certification following a successful audit – administered by an independent consulting firm – that assessed its performance against client-centric criteria in a wide range of business, project management and system development areas:

  • General Management
  • Human Resources Management
  • Financial Management
  • Marketing, Business Development and Sales Management
  • Project Management
  • System Development Lifecycle
  • Supporting Activities
  • Quality Assurance Management
  • Service and Support

“CSIA Certification is the gold-seal mark of a professionally managed control system integration business,” says Robert Lowe, CSIA executive director. “Certification reassures clients that Synergy Systems is an established professional services firm that wants to develop and successful, long-term partnership with clients.”

Mark Urda, president of Synergy Systems Inc. adds, “CSIA is the premier benchmarking organization in the control system integration industry. Recognition as CSIA Certified is a testament to our commitment to CSIA’s value proposition of ensuring that industries everywhere have access to low-risk, safe and successful applications of automation technology.”

About CISA
The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) is a global non-profit professional association that seeks to advance the industry of control system integration for the success of members and their clients. For more information, visit www.controlsys.org.

13 Nov

It’s That Time of Year

It’s That Time of Year

The time for our CSIA audit is upon us. We started our journey and it all comes to a head this week. Our endeavors do not end with this week’s audit however. Given what we have learned over the course of the year from different members, it is likely this audit will function more like a practice test.

We will receive the full examination. The bulk of all our work will be scrutinized for flaws. Months down the road, after we have improved upon the areas we need to, another audit will likely see us passing.

This is why CSIA is held in such high esteem among integrators and those that hire them. Becoming a CSIA certified integrator is more than a one step process. It requires significant work and scrutinizing audits. Certification will verify our commitment to providing the highest value to our clients.

This week promises to be a great learning experience. In applying all we gain, we hope to further improve our business as client-centric and value-oriented. Continuous improvement is as vital a part of Synergy Systems as it is CSIA. As technology and business change, so will we, ensuring we provide only the best.

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.

19 Jun

CSIA Certification Progress

The Control System Integrators Association demands a high standard of quality from those they certify. We have been discovering the true complexity of the certification standards as we move further along on our path to certification.

While we have our marketing and technical writing personnel working every day to optimize our policies to CSIA’s standards, it is truly a group effort. Engineers and project managers are consistently consulted as we move beyond background policies to procedures that detail the quality work we provide our clients.

Our biggest challenge is working on achieving quality standards intended for companies larger than ours.  While being smaller may make obtaining CSIA Certification and greater feat, it is far from impossible. We are moving into the last stretch of improvements to our business, verifying the high standards we expect out of our engineers comply with the standards of the Control System Integrators Association.

CSIA operates on the idea that technical proficiency alone is not enough to guarantee quality book. A control integrator should also have excellent business and management skills. To that end, they demand high standards in the following areas.

  • Human Resource Management
  • Marketing and Business Development
  • Financial Management
  • Project Management
  • System Development Lifecycle
  • Service and Support

The road the CSIA Certification may not be an easy one, but it is worth the effort to ensure our clients continue to receive the highest quality service.  We believe that any small integrator can put in the effort it takes to receive this high quality certification and continue to optimize our business in order to do so. When it comes to our business, it is more than just providing quality to our clients today. We want to make sure we are constantly seeking improvement so we can also ensure quality throughout the future.

20 Mar

Industry Recognition of CSIA Grows

An ever increasing number of industry clients are requesting CSIA certification from the businesses they hire for industrial automation projects, according to Manufacturing Business Technology.

CSIA stands for Control Systems Integrators Association. They audit their members based on 79 criteria. When they meet or exceed these criteria, they receive a certification acknowledging their accomplishment. To further maintain the certification status, CSIA members must face additional audits every three years. CSIA certainly keeps their members on their toes – which is fantastic for businesses who aspire to be at the forefront of industrial technology and efficiency.

The 79 criteria are spread throughout nine chapters that describe everything from client projects to business organization. Chapters like Financial Management and System Development Lifecycle challenge businesses to make sure they not only provide for their clients, but provide for their business a healthy and successful structure. In this way, CSIA chapters act as redundant controls, ensuring that their members achieve only the highest quality of service.

This month, Synergy has been paying special attention to business continuity, going over our plans for various hazards that may arise and how we can deal with them in a way that has little to no effect on our projects and clients. This includes plans for our own business practices as well as plans for common and uncommon natural hazards.

You may have heard radio commercials talking about ready.illinois.gov. FEMA has their own national version at ready.gov, which provides a specific section for businesses. The forms and worksheets they provide have provided us greater insight into our own continuity plans.

Whether you are looking into CSIA or want to improve your own business continuity, we highly recommend using FEMA’s resources. Many hazards happen without warning, but having procedures in place to address them will protect clients and businesses from facing the full force of negative effects.

13 Feb

The Voyage to CSIA Certification: Celebrating Success in Advancement

blog 2 csia

Synergy Systems Inc. will soon carry the certification that puts to paper what our clients already know: Synergy is an innovative, client-dedicated business. The Control Systems Integrators Association, also known by the acronym CSIA, was established in 1994 to advance the practices of control system integrators. CSIA believes the work of integrators is essential for the progression of manufacturing and processor plants. Employing a rigorous certification process, they are able to identify and single out top-of-the-line integrators around the world. Like Synergy, these integrators are dedicated to their clients, helping them reduce cost, increase production, use less energy and lower their environmental impact.

Synergy is currently preparing for our first ever CSIA audit, which will solidify our commitment to intelligent automation. Our simple and flexible solutions already prove our innovation and dedication, and CSIA certification will stand as proof of these qualities.

“Clients will be reassured that, because we’ve met the criteria for the CSIA audit, our projects will be professionally executed,” said Synergy’s Vice President, Marc Hunter.

There is a lot to accomplish before we can participate in our first audit which, when passed, will grant us CSIA certification. A true test of teamwork, Synergy’s employees are banning together to accomplish this goal, which will inevitably benefit our clients and our employees.

We are so excited to start this journey. In fact, we are so thrilled that we plan to share the milestones we hit here on this blog, talking about our experience and how CSIA certification is helping our clients, employees and business.