News of the Association
Market Forecast through 2016 Published in May to MCAA Members
FCC issues Proposed Rulemaking on Level Probing Radars in Open Air applications based on MCAA recommendations
Membership Growth Program Launched to Triple Membership in three years
Give us your Feedback on OSHA NRTL Program; Association may move forward with grassroots lobbying
Sales Training eUniversity student body surpasses 100
Customer Satisfaction Surveys available on demand; group report published to participants
MCAA will continue monthly Webinars during 2012
Wally Stommes Elected as Chairman for 2012
Market Potential Report published in 2010 based on Census Bureau data
MCAA Career Center is the place for industry new hires
MCAATravel.com provides discounts to members and royalties to Association
Networking for Net Value was the theme around which the program for the 2012 MCAA Industry Forum was developed by a committee of member company representatives led by Michael Gerster, President of WIKA Instruments. The meeting attracted the highest attendance ever recorded by MCAA by count as well as by percent of member companies attending. Nearly 160 member company executives, senior managers from prospective member companies, speakers, staff and guests were present in suburban Atlanta, Georgia May 20-22. Given the many attractions of Las Vegas, the Association is anticipating that the 2013 meeting may attract over 200 attendees when the Industry Forum convenes at the Monte Carlo Hotel May 19-21, 2013.
Keynoting the meeting on Monday May 21 was Dr. Peter Evans, Director of Global Strategy & Planning for GE Energy who looked at a variety of trends that will affect energy in the future including economic and geopolitical factors, climate and environmental debates, the development, exploration and use of new and alternative energy sources, smart grid deployment and the scarcity of clean water. The first morning was highlighted by the annual Economic Forecast presented by MCAA's favorite economist, Dr. Jeffrey Dietrich of the ITR Economics, whose advice was to "Make your Move." Dr. Dietrich and his fellow economists at ITR feel that we will continue to see good economic conditions with a mild, short-lived and more typical cyclical recession during 2014.
Four breakout sessions during the afternoon offered attendees options to learn about personality traits when hiring, managing inventory, searching the internet and managing your personal brand on the web as well as tips in using LinkedIn as a business tool. Anthony Quartaro of Culture Index shared a results-driven management system that focuses on one of the greatest cost centers or investments in business—human capital. The discussion will show how CEOs and front-line managers can improve the identification, selection, utilization and performance of employees. Ken Koenemann of TBM Consulting Group focused on the opportunity to learn how inventory replenishment programs can help keep the right products on hand to meet customer demand while avoiding stockpiles of inventory that consume cash and take up space. Sam Richter, who has been a star presenter at previous MCAA meetings, discussed how you can know more than you ever thought you could about your prospects, clients and competition and in his second session he addressed how your personal brand can make or break your business brand and look at how you can enhance your personal brand to impact your company and reputation; the dangers of sharing too much infomration; and inside secrets on how to manage your online presence. Finally, Wayne Breitbarth brought to life the Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Wayne shared not only why you should embrace the powerful professional networking tool but how to make it work for you.
The final sessions for the first day will included an annual review of the MCAA Operating Benchmarks Report by Ed Curry and an overview of the Industry Forecast presented by its authors Paul Rasmusson and Mike Willey of Global Automation Research. The MCAA Marketplace during the cocktail hour on Monday evening featured 20 members and suppliers to our industry who demonstrated their products, services or OEM offerings to MCAA members.
Dr. Peter Martin, Vice President of Strategic Ventures from Invensys jump-started the second day of the meeting with a lively and insightful presentation that highlighted the need to provide value-based solutions. He reviewed the current industry driving forces and needs as described by a variety of executives from across the industry as well as a framework and approach to successfully meet the challenge. The meeting closed with a new approach to the annual manufactuer/channel partner discussion that has become important to meeting attendees. The groups separated and had 40 minutes to identify the top 5 ways they can create more value to the end user which will ultimately improve business practices for both sides of the equation. After the separate discussions, the whole membership reconvened to share solutions and talk about how those solutions can be put into action. A key element to both discussions was the need for more education at a variety of levels.
FCC Publishes Proposed New Rules for Level Probing Radar Instrumentation. A group of member companies who manufacture radar level measurement instruments have joined together to obtain a change in the rules of the Federal Communications Commission which would permit the use of such equipment in open air applications. Attorney Mitchell Lazarus of the firm of Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth prepared a Petition for Rule Change but FCC officials have elected to issue their own rulemaking—based on MCAA's recommendations. Legal counsel believes that we achieved about 85% of our goal. Although we waited a year for the FCC to complete its work, the process should still reduce the time (and expense) of reaching the MCAA objective. The Association filed comments on behalf of members on May 30 and will review the comments filed by other interested parties and reply appropriately before the next deadline of June 29. The Association members agreed to exclude installation of this equipment around certain radio astronomy sites.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking appeared in the Federal Register on April 30. Follow this link to read the Federal Register Notice. the FCC has released its proposed new rules for "level probing radars" (LPRs) in three bands: 5.925-7.250 GHz, 24.05-29 GHz, and 75-85 GHz. LPRs are downward-aiming radars used to determine levels of materials at industrial installations. Some are mounted inside tanks, to tell the operators how much liquid or solids are inside. Other LPRs are used outdoors – at quarries, for example, to measure piles of gravel, or at nuclear power plants, to monitor the water level in the ponds used to store highly radioactive fuel rods. There are thousands of potential applications. The new rules would apply equally to in-tank and outdoor radars. In its comments, MCAA urged the FCC to preserve the ability to provide equipment under the existing Code Section 15.209 which deals with the 6 gHz band.
The FCC is easing its way into this area very gradually. More than two years ago, it proposed rules to allow in-tank radars in the 77-81 GHz band, and granted a waiver pending the rulemaking. Without having reached a decision on the original questions, the present Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking expands the proceeding to add outdoor LPRs and more frequency ranges. Up in the nosebleed part of the spectrum, the FCC had earlier proposed radars for airport use at 78-81 GHz, to detect debris on the runways, and a relaxation of the vehicle radar rules at 76-77 GHz to allow non-vehicle applications and higher power.
An LPR typically transmits a train of very short pulses, with relatively long separations in between. For historical reasons, the FCC's technical rules are more hospitable to continuous transmissions, such as those used to carry voice and data signals. The same rules, when applied to a pulsed transmission, effectively require operation at greatly reduced power. That lower power is sometimes adequate for measurement of highly reflective surfaces, but otherwise has largely prevented the successful operation of LPRs.
The newly proposed rules, being specifically geared to LPRs, should allow the downward-aiming transmitter to provide adequate power for a wide variety of applications. To protect other spectrum users from interference, the FCC has proposed much more stringent limits on radio-frequency emissions from the sides of the device and upward. Those stray emissions can be due either to properties of the antenna or to reflections from the material being measured. In the 24.05-29 and 75-85 GHz bands, they are limited to the same very low levels that are permitted for an iPad or a digital toy: 70 billionths of a watt. In the 5.925-7.250 GHz band they must be lower still, at about 3 billionths of a watt.
Many groups which have interests in the frequencies, bands and emissions levels will comment on the proposal as well.
Wally Stommes Takes the Helm of MCAA as Chairman. By letter ballot the members of MCAA elected StoneL President, Wally Stommes, as the Chairman of the organization for 2012. The company, of which Wally is a co-founder, is a business division of Metso Automation which manufactures conventional and intelligent valve monitoring products and process networking components sold through distribution channels and OEMs. He holds several patents, has authored numerous published articles on industry-related topics and is a member of Metso's technology planning group. He holds a BS in electrical engineering from North Dakota State Unviersity and an MBA from the University of Minnesota. Prior to founding StoneL, he was a product manager for Proximity Controls and a computer systems engineer for Otter Tail Power Company. He and wife Dianne, have three grown children and live in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Joining Wally as Vice Chairman is Siemens Industry Vice President of Sensors & Communications, Todd Gardner, who is based in Grand Prairie, Texas. Other new directors are Robert Carrell, President of Hoffer Flow Controls in Elizabeth City, NC; John Erskine III, Vice President Sales of Racine Federated and Joseph Incontri, Director of Marketing for Krohne Inc. Michael Gerster, President of WIKA Instruments and Jeff Peters, President of Precision Digital Corporation completed their terms of service on the Board in December along with Past Chairman, Charlotte Hill, President of GF Signet. The Board will meet for its annual retreat in Charlotte this March to solidify plans for membership growth and involvement of member companies in the programs of the Association. The Board members are always interested in your thoughts and ideas which can be shared directly with your designated Board Liaison or with the MCAA staff.
MCAA Board Plan to Triple Membership in Three Years. At its retreat in 2011, the MCAA Board of Directors determined to move in new directions to radically change the nature of the Association. Based on their believe that the key is numbers—of companies participating in various benchmarking efforts (thereby improving the value of the aggregated data reported therefrom) and of people participating in networking events such as the MCAA Industry Forum—the Board asked staff to ready plans to triple the size of the organization over the next three years. The plan hinges on the involvement of current (and future) members to reach out to their peers and competitors to encourage them to become part of the organization. Incentives to members include a $500 credit which can be used to fund an additional registration at the Industry Forum (every company gets a free registration as part of membership), or an inside sales candidate for the MCAA MCASP Sales Training Certification program, or survey 250 customers (or channel partners) in the MCAA Customer Satisfaction Survey program (which can be done at any time during the year "on demand" or even applied toward 2013 dues. The new member companies receive that same $500 credit which can be used for the same purposes as well as a 25% discount on their 2012 dues. If you know a company or a person within a company which is not currently a member, please reach out to Membership Development Manager, Mike Robertson (770-903-9926 or firstname.lastname@example.org) so that he can work with you to bring a new member into membership. Does the program work? In January 2012, we have recruited 4 new member companies all as the result of member identification of the prospect and endorsement of the Association.
MCAA Surveys Members on Level of Pain with OSHA NRTL Program. Following an abortive attempt last fall to have OSHA change the required frequency of facility inspections, the Association is looking to mount some additional efforts which may require the retention of a lobbying organization. We'd like your input. Please fill out this short survey and let us know your interest and commitment to a solution.
In its Letter to the office within the Department of Labor's Occupational Health & Safety Administration which runs the Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory program the Association (led by the Product Approval committee, headed by former MCAA Chairman Jim Bolin of Pepperl+Fuchs), noted that the current 4 times a year frequency for those products which might be used in hazardous locations stands in stark contrast to the rest of the world where annual or biennial inspections are the norm. The MCAA document refers to the fact that most hazloc product manufacturers are also ISO quality certified, making the more frequent inspections inappropriate. In its response, OSHA said "We are aware of other international schemes for product-safety certiciation and the limited requirements for factory inspections they contain. However, in contrast to those sytems, OSHA designed the NRTL program to identify product noncompliance before products reach the market, in part by emphasizing follow-up inspections at factories .... Moreover, OSHA consistently finds that NRTLs continue to identify nonconformances during factory inspections regardless of whether the organization is ISO 9001 certified. Therefore, we believe that these inspections are critical to preventing defective products from reaching the market." The MCAA Product Approvals Committee has developed a new set of goals to pursue including (a) educating the marketplace about the NRTL program so taht customers will understand that the marks of other NRTLs are acceptable; (b) finding other allies in the debate on cross-recognition of marks; (c) establishing a grass roots lobbying program so that members can get Congressmen to put pressure on OSHA to recognize the needs of industry; (d) exploring with ZVEI, a German trade association, whether their interests and ours coincide with regard to anticompetitive behavior of a NRTL and (e) continuing to monitor the developments with harmonization to the IEC Ex Scheme.
To learn more about the NRTL Program and the testing laboratories and their scope, Click HERE.
MCAA Sales eUniversity Student Body surpasses 100 individuals. Nine candidates have received their Certification as Measurement, Control & Automation Sales Professionals (MCASP) since the program began in 2010. Several others opted to receive a Certificate of Completion (avoiding the Certification examination). Candidates are currently enrolled in training for inside sales, field sales and sales management certification. This is an online based, self-paced program which permits candidates to learn at their own speed. The program is unlike anything available by private training organizations because it includes training specific to the process control industry—basic product technology and training on the key process industries and an understanding of the applications of products into those industries. To be a great salesman, you must (a) have the communication skills to position complex ideas; (b) understand the sales process and the sales skills to execute that process; (c) be fluent in all of the automation technologies from flow control to digital communications and (d) speak the language of the process industries you will serve from pharmaceuticals to wastewater. Traditional training is aimed at the engineer or technician and not the sales professional—the MCAA certification program is your opportunity to prove yourself as a sales leader. Certification as a Measurement, Control & Automation Sales Professional (MCASP) is available for inside sales, field sales and sales management professionals and ranges in price (for members) from $450 to $1,175 (higher rates for non-members). All the details are available on the MCAA website. A number of companies are taking advantage of discounts for enrolling a number of their sales team members at the same time.
Customer Satisfaction available "on demand" or in group program. The annual group benchmarking effort to study customer satisfaction concluded in February with 22 member companies participating. Four more are preparing to survey customers separately. In 2010 MCAA dramatically reduced the cost to participate in its Customer Satisfaction Surveys (where your customers surveyed by email) to enable more members and other industry companies to participate and to survey even more customers. The program is unique because it provides participating companies with comprehensive reports on their individual (and confidential) results as well as a comparative report to the entire group. Surveys in 2012 were adjusted to include "Importance" questions to determine not just satisfaction levels in the various areas of service to customers but also how important those services are. This importance quotient will be studied every five years but available to all participants as an index year to year. Companies which elect to survey their customers on a time frame outside that of the group report ("on demand") get the comparative group report benchmarking all responses received to that point in the year.
MCAA's President, Cynthia Esher, held an Executive Briefing on the results of the group survey effort and her presentation is available to members in the Members as an mp3 recording as well as just pdfs of the slide presentation. Go to Members Only (log in required), General Resources/Presentations and scroll down to Monthly Webinars.
Three survey groups are included in the group report: Manufacturers to customers (in 2011 2,764 surveys completed surveys from the 14,610 deployed for an average response rate of 22%); Manufacturers to channel partners (631 completed of the 1,470 surveys deployed last year for an average response rate of 49.8%); and Channel Partners to Customers (211 completed out of 624 deployed surveys for an average response rate of 35.1%). Two key metrics—Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) and Customer Loyalty Index (CLI)—act as a barometer of satisfaction every year. In 2011 all metrics were up. For Manufacturers (rated by their customers) the CSI was 79.7 and the CLI 84.5 (these metrics are based on 100 as highest with higher being better). Manufacturers (rated by their channel partners) had a CSI of 74.3% (we do not track loyalty where there is a business relationship). Channel firms (rated by their customers) were seen the most favorably with a CSI of 82.9 and a CLI of 86.1.
The survey elicits customer opinions about product quality, sales, service, ordering and the like. Participants get the aggregated results from their own customers together with the benchmark report for the entire participating group. This benchmark places individual results in context and points to areas where a company might want to allocate additional resources in order to measure up to (or exceed) the industry average. Contact is made through emails to customers with a link to an online survey instrument which was developed by MCAA's expert Chris Stiehl of Stiehlworks. Learn more.
Market Forecast through 2016 Published. Global Automation Research (formerly Global Foresight Group, Rasmusson & Willey LLC) has expanded their forecast to cover 5 years. The report covering 2011 base year out to a 2016 forecast has been published to MCAA members in the Members section of this website as a PDF document. Members receive the publication at no charge and it is available for purchase for $2,500 by non-member companies. This will be the sixth forecast prepared for the Association. The 2011 edition included a comparison of the total market value across five regional areas in the US and Canada and this year's version shows the allocation of market value for selected industry groups across the United States regions. The Forecast studies 12 product categories and 12 user industries and provides insight into the likely growth potentials. Having weathered the severe downturn in 2008, the industry has rebounded to pre-recession market value at 10.4B. The market analysts project a 6.3 5 year CAGR in 2012 and steady growth throughout the five years of the forecast.Members can use the forecast with other economic tools at their command as they work through the business opportunities in the slowing recovering economy. A member of MCAA since 1995, Global Automation Research specializes in business consulting and research for the instrumentation and automation industry. Its principals and consultants collectively have over 150 years of industry experience. Through its custom study services, it has completed over 400 proprietary reports. The ReMAP™ assessment considers a comparison of market potential for US regions Northeast, Southwest, Midwest, Southwest and West. Canadian regions are Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies & Northwest Territories, and British Columbia & Yukon. Every member of the Association has access to the pdf version of the report without cost—click on Members above to log in and obtain a PDF copy. To learn more about the Forecast or to order a copy, non-members should click HERE.
MCAA sponsors monthly webinars throughout 2012. MCAA will continue to hold monthly webinars (4th Tuesday of every month at 2 pm) often featuring speakers from prior MCAA meetings. The schedule for 2012 is still being finalized. In June, Ed Curry will review the results of the Operating Benchmarks Report as he will also do during the Industry Forum the prior month. Over the summer, our market analysts from Rasmusson & Willey will present an overview of the Industry Market Forecast which will be published in April and highlighted at the Industry Forum. Industry Forum speakers Tony Quartaro (Culture Index), and Wayne Breitbarth will reprise their presentations during the webinars for August and September. Finally, Jeff Dietrich of ITR will wrap up the season as he did last year with his mid-year economic forecast update in November.
Market Potential Report Published. Every five years the Census Bureau conducts its Economic Census and MCAA gleans from the data published to the public information specifically on the process industries. This is the third report and is based on data collected by the Census Bureau in 2007 and released in 2010. The report covers the industries tracked in the MCAA Industry Group /Report. The data is presented by each process industry for all states and by each state for each process industry. Data shows the value of shipments and the number of establishments of these industries. It does NOT show purchases of process controls and is useful primarily in determining the value of potential business in a state for specific process industries based on the relative "size" of the industry in a state. The report is available online to MCAA members only. Non-Members may purchase the report for $250.
Career Center now part of the Engineering/Science focused network. MCAA is part of an ever-growing alliance of associations to a expand the reach of job postings and candidate resumes beyond the capability of individual organizations. Currently over 29,000 resumes are available for review and jobs posted on the MCAA Career Center will also be posted to the job boards of each of the other members of the alliance. Additionally all jobs posted in the MCAA Career Center are now automatically linked to larger job databases through Google Base and Indeed.com. AND, employers can run banner ads as Featured Employers. The Association launched the online Career Center in partnership with Boxwood Technology five years ago. The center permits manufacturers to post available jobs (with discounted rates to MCAA members) and for job candidates to search the database and submit their resumes in response to appropriate job openings. Members of MCAA as well as the Canadian Process Control Association (CPCA) both can receive discounts for job postings and resume searches; additional discounts are available for multiple postings.
MCAATravel.com powered by Travelocity is now available for members and others to book travel, hotel, rental cars and a variety of packages and entertainment options online. When you book your business and personal travel at www.MCAATravel.com, 40% of applicable commissions will be available to MCAA to help defray the increasing costs of operating our not-for-profit organization. The service is provided by YTB Travel International, a leading provider of travel services over the internet. Now powered by Travelocity, not only do you get the best discounted rates available, you are also supporting your industry trade association. It's a win-win scenario.
Comments and suggestions are welcome. Talk directly to MCAA President, Cynthia Esher, who is responsible for the content of this newsletter. Call me at 757-258-3100 or email at email@example.com. I welcome your thoughts.