The Value of a Peer Group

July 6, 2020
Coming into any industry without much background knowledge or experience can be difficult. A peer group can help ease the transition through idea sharing and general conversations of the specific industry by peers with a deeper knowledge base.

I joined Interstates eight years ago with no background in controls and automation. I'm not an engineer, programmer, or software developer. My education is in accounting and finance. While I understood how manufacturing leaders thought and what information they needed to make decisions, I had a lot to learn about the systems integration world.

When I transitioned to an operations role at Interstates, I joined an operations-focused peer group of other CSIA-certified integrators led by one of the industry's top consultants. Over the last six years, our group has met quarterly to share best practices, ideas, joys, and struggles. We all have similar roles at similar companies, are learning from each other, and are ultimately making our companies—and the industry—better.

You might wonder about confidentiality and potentially feeding a competitor valuable information. Those are fair concerns, but all members of our group sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the information shared. Building a strong rapport and trust between members and companies is critical.

So, how can you get started with an industry peer group? If you have an interest in forming or joining a peer group, reach out by going to the Contact CSIA page. They can use their network to connect you with other companies and individuals.

I cannot overstate how valuable industry peer groups have been for me. I've learned a tremendous amount about the systems integration world through the information shared within our peer group and being able to call someone who understands your business and has to make similar decisions to you is invaluable.

I've gained many good friends through my peer group involvement, which has been one of the most rewarding things of all. I encourage you to consider joining a peer group and be willing and open to sharing ideas in order to get more ideas in return.

Daren Dieleman is programming services delivery leader at Interstates, a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). For more information about Interstates, visit its profile on the Industrial Automation Exchange.

Sponsored Recommendations

Wireless Data Acquisition System Case Studies

Wireless data acquisition systems are vital elements of connected factories, collecting data that allows operators to remotely access and visualize equipment and process information...

Strategizing for sustainable success in material handling and packaging

Download our visual factory brochure to explore how, together, we can fully optimize your industrial operations for ongoing success in material handling and packaging. As your...

A closer look at modern design considerations for food and beverage

With new and changing safety and hygiene regulations at top of mind, its easy to understand how other crucial aspects of machine design can get pushed aside. Our whitepaper explores...

Fueling the Future of Commercial EV Charging Infrastructure

Miguel Gudino, an Associate Application Engineer at RS, addresses various EV charging challenges and opportunities, ranging from charging station design strategies to the advanced...