The Value of Participating in Standards Setting: For Your Company

By participating in the standards-setting process, you represent your company and establish it as a leader in seeking global solutions that promote industry growth.

02/05/2013


I've outlined the process by which standards are set and described the value of participating in that process for the CSE’s personal and career growth in my last two blogs. Today I’d like to make a few points about the value of the CSE’s participation to the CSE’s employer.

When the CSE proposes to expand his/her involvement in the standards setting process, an employer may well ask, what’s in it for them? What value will the company receive in return? The company you work for knows there will be substantial hard and soft costs. There will be hard dollars spent on travel and, more importantly, the man-hours you spend in this pursuit. The question is fair and the answer is straightforward.

First, there is no return on investment in the traditional, quantitative sense. But the range of benefits is real and far-reaching.

By participating in the standards-setting process, you represent your company and establish it as a leader in seeking global solutions that promote industry growth. Your company, as a result, is seen as a contributor to both IEEE standards and the overall technologies being developed as a result. Your company’s brand may be affiliated with solutions in cyber security or in transformer technology or substation design.

The networking that benefits you as a CSE obviously benefits your company as well in the form of business development, joint ventures and joint development opportunities. Visibility can be heightened if your company decides to contribute to sponsoring the working-group activities or the committee activities at official meetings and conventions.

Another aspect is that by having you work on the standards-setting process, your company has a hand in actually influencing the outcome. A utility or a vendor or any participant for that matter can espouse their views and opinions on what a standard should include, down to the specific details. It makes a lot of sense to have a seat at the table. As you may recall from my blog explaining the standards-setting process, as a standard is developed and put to a ballot, every question and comment that results must be addressed. The consensus-building is thorough and deep, affording all players an opportunity to participate.

Thus your company also benefits from a forward view of what standards and technologies are being developed. Participation by a company's representatives means that the company is aware of potential standards developments and what will be required of products and services in the future. That’s a virtual guarantee that your company won’t be caught off-guard by fundamental shifts in standards and resulting technology.

Here’s where the personal and career-oriented value of participation for the individual dovetails with the interests of their employer. When a company sends a representative to participate in standards development meetings and activities, they'll typically get back a better employee. The company gets a more capable engineer in return – that’s a direct benefit. The involvement with the process’s consensus-building, team-building, cooperation and collaboration polishes professionalism.

The company gets a more well-rounded engineer, who has a broader view of the technology issues, but also has become far more familiar with the concept of building a team, even leading a team. If the person aspires to the chair of a working group, they develop invaluable leadership skills, communication skills, the ability to articulate one’s position and persuade others, both in writing and the spoken word.

The foregoing is true whether the participant is early in his/her career or a seasoned executive. The value derived may depend on a company’s specific objectives. It's not uncommon, for instance, for a large company to have 20 to 30 people participating in IEEE Power and Energy Society standards at any point in time. So there’s a stratification based on what the company is looking to accomplish – it could be networking and business development, it could be influencing a standard. Influencing standards would require sending someone in the pertinent area of expertise. So participation in substation design and transformer standards typically would require two different people.

Finally, when a utility or company sends someone to participate in standards setting, there are a host of advantages in terms of exposure to a variety of best practices and peer-to-peer knowledge sharing.

As you can tell, these advantages are self-evident and intuitive, even if they can’t be crunched in a formal ROI analysis. So if the accounting department says, "We want the cost-benefit ratio and payback period for your attendance at the summer-power meeting next month," that's like saying, “Don’t go.” But, like everything else in life, the aspirant needs to promote the concepts that we're talking about here within their company. Many companies recognize the value and integrate the costs into their cost of doing business, dedicating multiple participants. Other companies sometimes don’t see the value. But you can be sure the competition will be there.


Sam Sciacca is an active senior member in the IEEE and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the area of utility automation. He has more than 25 years of experience in the domestic and international electrical utility industries. Sciacca serves as the chair of two IEEE working groups that focus on cyber security for electric utilities: the Substations Working Group C1 (P1686) and the Power System Relay Committee Working Group H13 (PC37.240). Sciacca also is president of SCS Consulting.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Your leaks start here: Take a disciplined approach with your hydraulic system; U.S. presence at Hannover Messe a rousing success
Hannover Messe 2016: Taking hold of the future - Partner Country status spotlights U.S. manufacturing; Honoring manufacturing excellence: The 2015 Product of the Year Winners
Inside IIoT: How technology, strategy can improve your operation; Dry media or web scrubber?; Six steps to design a PM program
Getting to the bottom of subsea repairs: Older pipelines need more attention, and operators need a repair strategy; OTC preview; Offshore production difficult - and crucial
Digital oilfields: Integrated HMI/SCADA systems enable smarter data acquisition; Real-world impact of simulation; Electric actuator technology prospers in production fields
Special report: U.S. natural gas; LNG transport technologies evolve to meet market demand; Understanding new methane regulations; Predictive maintenance for gas pipeline compressors
Warehouse winter comfort: The HTHV solution; Cooling with natural gas; Plastics industry booming
Managing automation upgrades, retrofits; Making technical, business sense; Ensuring network cyber security
Designing generator systems; Using online commissioning tools; Selective coordination best practices

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role that compressed air plays in manufacturing plants.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me