System Integrator Giants of 2013
The divide between the SI Giants and robotic system integrators came up again when the SI Giants were asked about vendor’s products they have integrated in the past 12 months. The most-cited robotics vendors were ABB with 55% popularity and Mitsubishi Electric Automation with 32%. But even those results are probably overestimates of the SI Giants’ involvement in robotics since ABB and Mitsubishi offer other automation products, and the product experience question did not specify divisions.
Which brands proved popular with the SI Giants? The Product Experience table (online only) shows that Rockwell Automation’s Allen-Bradley brand from 71% in 2012 to 92% this year. The Rockwell Automation brand itself increased to 89%, and Rockwell Software completed the Rockwell hat trick at 86%, up from 55% in 2012.
While the defending champion, Siemens Industry, fell beneath the three Rockwell Automation brands with 79% this year, popularity improved from 71% in 2012. Invensys Wonderware also increased to 80%, up from 68% last year. The biggest gainers in this year’s product experience list were Microsoft (82%) and Dell (81%). Last year, they were 53% and 42%, respectively. These results would suggest that the SI Giants have become even more partial to product vendors offering PLCs, HMI software, and the personal computers (PCs) required to program PLCs and host HMI software.
The Engineering Specialties table indicates that HMIs (92%) as a speciality are only slightly more selected by the 2013 SI Giants than PLCs (91%). Only the more generic skills of automation and control engineering (95%) and installation/start-up (93%) placed higher.
Ironically, the SI Giants did not identify PCs as a particularly popular engineering specialty, in spite of their affinity for Dell and Microsoft. In 2013, only 58% of firms listed PCs as an engineering specialty, up 30% from 2012. Keeping consistent with the 2013 SI Giants’ top five ranking of PMI, project management is an engineering specialty offered by 90% of the firms, up from 52% in 2012.
The 2012 SI Giants’ top 10 engineering specialties were virtually identical as were the 2013 top 10 engineering specialties cited by other integrators in the AIG, though this year’s popularity scores for SI Giants were considerably higher than both.
These results also were consistent with the SI Giants’ affinity for the CSIA and Rockwell Automation. All of the top 10 engineering specialties are integral to the practice of automation system integration, Rockwell Automation has significant market share for the products involved (at least in North America), and the CSIA is the control system integrators’ most popular association, just as its name implies.
See what concerns and challenges the SI Giants face in business for 2013 on page 4.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.