ISA NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Jennifer Infantino
Morley: ISA working, but challenges exist
Research Triangle Park, NC (22 October 2005) -- ISA is an important and viable resource for automation professionals and the industries where they work, but changes should happen to make it more relevant and secure its future, said industry guru Dick Morley. Morley was invited by the ISA leadership to give his analysis of the organization and offer ideas on new approaches for the society at the ISA President’s Meeting in Chicago on Saturday.
During his talk entitled, “The ISA Iceberg, Threats and Challenges for the New Century,” Morley equated the situation that ISA and most other engineering societies are facing to a melting iceberg. “We have tug boats pulling the iceberg back down to the south polar cap again. We managed to stop the melting on the financial iceberg. The membership iceberg is still melting a bit. We have some issues that need attention.” He noted this is not bad news, rather it is enlightenment.
Morley said there are other organizations that ISA can learn from. One example he cited was the Project Management Institute (PMI) that has 205,000 members now compared to 30,000 members in 1998. But PMI also has high turnover of its membership and is attracting fewer attendees to its annual conference now that it did when it had fewer members. “They have similar challenges as ISA, you are not alone” Morley said.
Another organization to contrast is the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS). Morley took over as chairman of the board after the organization lost over $3 million in 2001. “We came in and turned it around financially. But they were also able to increase membership. We sell value,” he said.
One industry example Morley gave is General Motors. “General Motors thinks the reason cars won’t sell is because they are higher priced and they have to cut production costs. So, I hate an Oldsmobile at $38,000 and I love it $34,000? What are they nuts? Yes, they are as it turns out.” Morley then added each Saturn has $500 worth of steel in it, $750 in silicon and software, $1,000 reserved for litigation and $1,500 worth of health benefits for their workers. When you really look at it, Morley said, “they are not an automobile company, they are an HMO that builds automobiles.”
You have to know what business you are in and ISA hasn’t always been clear about what business it is in, Morley said. The current initiatives to establish ISA’s position as “Setting the Standard for Automation” are helping to clarify what ISA is all about. The focused attention and energies on ISA’s five core competencies of standards, certification, education and training, publishing, and conferences and exhibits also are helping.
Morley said ISA has to get the finances squared away, which he added has happened. Then ISA needs to stop membership from shrinking and reach out to younger members. Members in the age range of 28 to 35 are a prime target for new members, Morley said. He also feels that the governance of the organization can be streamlined over time. Morley feels ISA has to do a better job of marketing and branding. This is consistent with initiatives undertaken by the leadership and all agree that an even better job can be done. For example, Morley said that ISA should think about partnering with top name organizations to boost its identity.
“While we cannot forget our traditions and must build effectively on them, we also need to explore alternative futures and new ways to address challenges that we face,” said Don Zee, ISA’s President. “We are pleased to have Dick engaged and help us think out of the box. His involvement is part of our ongoing strategy to keep the society a vibrant contributor to the profession.”
ISA has a number of initiatives beyond the new positioning statement of “Setting the Standard for Automation” that include a new web site, a new look and editorial approach for InTech, new technical products, a refreshed approach to the annual conference, and electronic testing for certification.
Founded in 1945, ISA (www.isa.org) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in the Western Hemisphere. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).
WBF provides an open forum for the exchange of information related to the management, operation, and automation of manufacturing processes. Created in 1994, members of the non-profit, professional organization include end-users, vendors, consultants and academics. WBF provides organization, management, and structure to facilitate networking among its members and sharing of knowledge and information related to manufacturing processes. WBF documents best practices and guidelines for implementation of standards that apply to batch control and the exchange of batch data, as well as conducting technical conferences and technical training programs. WBF is a founding charter member of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org). More information about WBF is available at www.wbf.org.
OMAC–The Open Modular Architecture Controls Users’ Group (www.omac.org) is an affiliate organization of ISA- The Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society- and works to collectively derive common solutions for both technical and non-technical issues in the development, implementation, and commercialization of open, modular architecture control (OMAC) technologies, and to facilitate the accelerated development and convergence of industry and government developed OMAC technology guidelines to one set that satisfies common use requirements. OMAC has about 500 member representatives from end-user companies, OEM's, and technology providers and integrator companies. OMAC currently operates three Work Groups: Packaging Machinery, Manufacturing Infrastructure, and Machine Tool. OMAC is a founding charter member of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).