A new version of the Control System Integrators Association's Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual includes a new section establishing best practices for service and support functions. The new release is the fourth major revision of the manual since its original release in 1997.
The manual provides a roadmap for system integrators who are seeking to improve their business or are seeking CSIA certification. The manual covers a wide range of management practices, including financial and project management, quality assurance, human resources and marketing.
The new service and support section covers strategy, methodology, organizational structure and management topics that are unique to how integrators provide service and support for their clients.
Other changes in the new version, based on feedback received by the independent auditors who conduct certification audits, include clarification and document reorganization to help improve the understanding and flow of the document. The marketing section was completely refined and reorganized, based on recommendations from the CSIA's Sales Excellence Council.
"Feedback from many member companies, as well as clients from a broad range of industries, contributed significantly to the new version," said Jeff Miller, director of automation services at Interstates Control Systems, Inc. and chairman of the CSIA Best Practices Committee.
To become CSIA-certified, members must demonstrate in an independent audit that their firms meet or exceed 79 audit criteria that are derived directly from the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual. Certified members are re-audited every three years, and recertified if they meet current performance standards.
"Establishing and promoting best practices is a key part of CSIA's mission," said Executive Director Robert Lowe. "By becoming certified, members demonstrate that they are committed to delivering the level of quality, performance and long-term support their clients expect."
The CSIA Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual is available only to CSIA members. However, information about the manual and the audit criteria appears on the association's website.