Nick Denbow

Nick Denbow

I just received my copy of the Industrial Automation Insider courtesy of Publisher/Editor Nick Denbow. The link will take you to Nick’s news and blog site. The newsletter is by subscription only. Begun by Andrew Bond, the IA Insider contains news and commentary about industrial (primarily process) automation from a decidedly European, especially British, slant. With funding only by subscribers rather than advertising, IAI tries to maintain far more independence than other European publications.

Emerson Process Management

Emerson Process just held a large European press conference. Nick reports that much emphasis was placed on further investment and development in support and engineering services. Much as I reported about Siemens’ increased emphasis on that area, this is a much needed offering from the major automation players for several reasons:

  • Many producers have reduced their engineering staffs over the past several years
  • There is a growing trend toward Main Automation Contractor models
  • Automation majors already have deep domain expertise
  • Such solutions help cement long-lasting partnerships that benefit both parties

Invensys Operations Management

Nick also listened in during Invensys’ latest analyst conference call. His report from the call does little to explain where the company is going. Apparently Mike Caliel, who was brought in to build on the integration of software, automation and appliances that Sudipta Bhattacharya was hired to do, now is resuming his former role as President of the Industrial Automation business. It appears that Ravi Gopinath, who formerly reported to Caliel as head of the Software business, is now reporting to Wayne Edmunds, still as President of the Software business unit.

I thought that maybe Edmunds had reorganized what remains of Invensys plc into three business units in order to facilitate a sale of the different parts such as many analysts have been predicting for several years. Instead, he hired Jeremy Morcom as Group Head of Corporate Development. This appears to be a mergers and acquisitions role, since Invensys now has available cash resulting from the Rail divestiture. Morcom has been the leader behind the growth of Spectris, which has seen $900 million invested in more than 20 completed acquisitions including Red Lion, N-tron and Omega Engineering.

Invensys does have a solid customer base in growing markets. Maybe we will see a revitalization in the company.

A friend of mine figured that since Edmonds was CFO formerly, he would only be interested in selling. But a prudent CFO is also good at investing. My personal preference, as always, opts toward wanting to see growing and thriving companies–and solid competition. We’ll have to see how the strategy plays out.

Manufacturing Connection

Nick says some nice things about me, but also made some assumptions. He noted that now that I was free of the ties to Automation World [note to those who receive his newsletter, he inadvertently dropped the “World” part], that now I could speak my mind. I still have a relationship there, albeit now only as a contributor. You can still see my column there.

I think that all of you who know me know that I don’t hold back because of fear of advertisers. It’s more that I try to be personally tactful–and accurate. I also see no value in the people who are either always negative or seeking today’s “gotcha” style of journalism. I am not a trained journalist. I just observe and analyze. And try to help people who are like I once was–pe0ple trying to do a good job and make their companies successful.

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