Technical and maintenance staffs are shrinking at manufacturing operations in North America, so to help run their operations efficiently, companies are turning to members of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).

“More CSIA integrator companies are required by their customers to commit to service and support contracts. These businesses no longer have enough qualified people on staff to do the job,” says Jeff Miller, chair of CSIA’s Best Practices Committee.

Large manufacturers and process plants are driving this service and support trend, says Miller. Many engineers are reaching retirement age and are not being replaced — often because engineers with specialized technical expertise cannot be found in a tight labor market. Companies are looking for CSIA integrators because fewer staff members have the skills to respond to high-tech issues.

“A plant engineer is often called on to troubleshoot mechanical and electrical issues in the plant, but they seldom write code for the overall plant control system and struggle at times to dig into it to determine the problem,” maintains Miller. “Every day, CSIA members provide the marketplace with control system expertise. We stay on top of new technology and know how to use it.”

CSIA has added a section on service and support to the “Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual.” The manual provides integrators with best practices in areas of general management, human resources, marketing, financial management, project management, system development lifecycle, supporting activities and quality assurance. For more information on CSIA’s best practices manual or how to find an integrator, visit