A long-time dream of enabling operators to see the profit impacts of process changes is a giant step closer to reality.
Much of my early career involved the intersection of engineering and profitability. No surprise that I valued my conversations with Peter Martin over the years. He has long been a proponent of just such technology and workflow.
Now at Schneider Electric (but still Foxboro), he has an organizational stability that may get the job done. Enter “EcoStruxure Profit Advisor.”
Developed through a partnership with Seeq, a leading provider of software and services that enable data-driven decision making, EcoStruxure Profit Advisor uses Big Data analytics to measure the financial performance of an industrial operation in real time, from the equipment asset level of a plant up to the process unit, plant area, plant site and enterprise levels. On-premise or cloud-enabled, it works seamlessly with any process historian to mine both historical and real-time data. It then processes that data through Schneider Electric’s proprietary segment-specific accounting algorithms to determine real-time operational profitability and potential savings.
Controlling Business Variables in Real Time
“While many companies are getting really good at controlling the efficiency of their operations in real time, they’re still managing their business month to month. That just doesn’t work anymore,” said Peter Martin, vice president of innovation, Schneider Electric Process Automation. “Business variables are changing so quickly—sometimes by the minute—that by the time companies receive updates from whatever enterprise resource planning systems they use, the information is no longer relevant to the business decisions they need to make or should have made. If they want to change the game, they need to control their other real-time business variables, including their safety, their reliability and especially their operational profitability. Profit Advisor allows them to do that.”
Because current cost accounting systems only measure the financial performance of the industrial operation at the overall plant level, it is difficult for companies to truly understand the financial impact—positive and negative—operational changes have on business performance. To address that need, Profit Advisor allows plant personnel to see and understand the ROI and business value their actions, activities and assets are contributing to the business in real time. It empowers the workforce to make better business decisions with a variety of data analytics, which can be displayed in various formats, to help drive operational profitability improvements, safely.
Innovating at Every Level to Deliver Value-focused IIoT
“Our customers are struggling with many issues, including the sheer speed of business and how to manage and use emerging technology to their advantage,” said Chris Lyden, senior vice president, Process Automation, Schneider Electric. “Everyone wants to talk about all this new technology without focusing on what value it can deliver. From our perspective, the digitization of industry is a real opportunity for our customers. We’re taking a value-focused approach to IIoT because we know our ability to innovate at every level can help our customers control their productivity and profitability in real time. That’s the only reason we should be talking about IIoT to begin with.”
Profit Advisor layers real-time accounting models onto the Seeq Workbench to become a scalable, repeatable and easy-to-implement solution for multiple segments, enabling customers to both measure and control their profitability. And because it can be integrated with Schneider Electric’s simulation and modelling software in a digital twin environment, users are further enabled to forecast profitability under different conditions or if changes to the operation are made.
Overall, the software provides
- Historical Data Review: Profit Advisor can evaluate the historical performance of the plant to assess its operational profitability, helping plant personnel analyze and understand how the
operation performed during different conditions. It enables the workforce to identify true performance-improving initiatives. And since it can be tied to individual pieces of equipment, it can provide that information down to even the smallest asset in the operation.
- Real Time Performance Indication: Profit Advisor can indicate current performance and inform plant personnel when their operating decisions are making the business more profitable. Actual ROI and return on improvements will be visible, enabling plant personnel to concentrate and refine their efforts to the actions that provide the greatest financial returns. It also enables plant personnel to determine which parts of operation are constraining operational profitability and accurately estimate the business value their decisions might actually create.
- Profit Planning: Profit Advisor empowers process engineers to predict the profitability of the changes they are proposing, which will substantially minimize project risk and help to eliminate waste.
Check out this YouTube video.
Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, has added a new enterprise-wide IIoT plant performance and control optimization software to its PES and Foxboro Evo process automation systems and Foxboro I/A Series distributed control system. Leveraging Expertune PlantTriage technology, EcoStruxure ControlAdvisor, a native smart decision-support tool, provides plant personnel actionable real-time operating data and predictive analytics capabilities so they can monitor and adjust every control loop across
multiple plants and global sites 24/7. The software empowers them to optimize the real-time efficiency of the process throughout the plant lifecycle and to contribute directly to improved business