TÜV Rheinland Launches Customized Services in North America

TÜV Rheinland Launches Customized Services in North America

Last November I visited TÜV Rheinland where we were briefed on its progress on cybersecurity services. It is a well known testing and service agency in Europe with the same reputation in general as UL in the US. I once served on a UL Industry Advisory Group for one of its standards where I got a good view of the value of testing and certification as a value to companies as well as consumers.

TÜV Rheinland has announced expanded Customized Services coverage to North America, now making these services available worldwide. Featuring its Supply Chain Audit, TÜV Rheinland’s customized services enable companies to demonstrate they are good corporate citizens by showing transparency and responsibility regarding their business practices and employees, while reducing risk, increasing brand value and providing a competitive advantage in the market.

TÜV Rheinland has been delivering Supply Chain Audit Services across the globe for many years, and is bringing these services to North America now as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become a more important part of companies’ business strategy. Increasingly consumers are holding brands accountable for not only how they create and deliver a safe product, but also for employee conditions and overall impact on the environment. With expanded supply chains, growing international production and trade connections, supply chain audits are a critical tool for ensuring compliance on a wide range of points including labor, safety, environment, social and ethics.

“Customers have countless options for procuring their goods. And especially when a customer enters a business relationship with a company that has a global supply chain, it is hard to ensure that the products are of high quality and have been manufactured under fair working conditions,” explained Frank Dorssers, Global Field Manager for Customized Services at TÜV Rheinland. “In these instances, supply chain or social audits create transparency and compel suppliers to disclose critical information, creating trust between the business, their partners and the customer.”

Audits vary in scope based on the sector and company, but often assess a company’s responsible sourcing practices across the supply chain and analyse compliance with Labor Laws, Environmental Sustainability, Business Ethics, as well as Health & Safety Management Systems. Specific risks by industry may also be addressed, such as hazardous chemical management in the printing and dyeing industry. Audit results provide actionable insights that companies can undertake to ensure their business practices meet the CSR and HSE (Health, Safety, Environment) goals they have set for themselves as well as mandates.

Industrial Internet of Things Maturity Assessment Explorer

Industrial Internet of Things Maturity Assessment Explorer

I’ve been off for most of the past week celebrating Independence Day and family birthdays. For those of you in the US, I hope you had a restful time off and enjoyed some fireworks displays. And now, back to what’s happening in the industrial world.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) comprises far more than just the simple connecting of devices back to a database in a server. It’s integral to digitalization. Applying abundance thinking to the system, clearly IIoT plays a key role for successful business transformation.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has produced the IIoT Maturity Assessment, a web-based tool included in the IIC Resource Hub that enables users to better understand their enterprise IIoT maturity. The IIoT Maturity Assessment helps organizations become best-practice adopters of IIoT by guiding business managers through a range of questions about the adoption, usage and governance of IIoT within their organizations.

“The IIoT market has grown quickly and many businesses planned strategy while in the midst of execution and need to step back and assess their true IIoT maturity,” said Jim Morrish, Co-Chair of the IIC’s Business Strategy and Solution Lifecycle Working Group and co-author of the IIoT Maturity Assessment tool. “The IIoT Maturity Assessment will help companies get a baseline for their maturity right now and assess it in regular intervals to track their progress.”

This framework of four main dimensions and their corresponding strands will spur your thinking into broader areas beyond predictive maintenance or cost reduction programs.

The framework:

Business Strategy

  • Market context
  • Strategic context
  • Business model innovation and refinement
  • IoT Foundations

Business Solution Lifecycle

  • Interface to business strategy
  • Solution design
  • Project team structuring
  • Project management
  • In service monitoring and feedback

Technology

  • Technology strategy
  • Reference architecture and standards
  • Platforms stack
  • Data location transparency

Security

  • Governance
  • Enablement
  • Hardening

“There’s a real difference between using IIoT to streamline processes and using it to create new revenue streams or make better business decisions,” said Ian Hughes, Senior Analyst, Internet of Things, 451 Research. “A tool like this can be a real eye opener for an organization wanting to transform their business to remain competitive and increase profits.”

The IIoT Maturity Assessment considers 63 individual capabilities, each with five levels of maturity within the above framework. For example, under strategic context, a maturity level can range from a limited number of key individuals having stepped up to IIoT ownership to full ownership of IIoT within an organization. The IIoT Maturity Assessment provides feedback about the level of maturity and highlights areas that may require development.

The final outputs provided to users also provide links to the IIC Body of Knowledge for reference and to help improve their maturity. This includes collaborative resources developed by industry leaders from the IIC membership, including IIC foundational documents (Industrial Internet Reference Architecture, Industrial Internet Security Framework, Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework, Business Strategy and Innovation Framework, Industrial Internet of Things Analytics Framework, and Vocabulary Technical Report) and other IIC documents and tools.

The IIoT Maturity Assessment is available in three levels of analysis: Quick, Standard (both open to everyone) and Detailed (IIC members only).

ABB Names New Country Managing Director

ABB Names New Country Managing Director

ABB has appointed Maryrose Sylvester as Country Managing Director (CMD) and Head of Electrification for the United States, effective August 1, 2019. In the CMD role, she will succeed Greg Scheu, who will support a smooth transition until his retirement at the end of October 31, 2019.

Sylvester was most recently President & CEO of “Current, powered by GE”, a GE startup business that was acquired in April by New York-based private equity firm American Industrial Partners. Having spent her career at GE, she held several executive-level positions, including President & CEO of GE Lighting, of GE Intelligent Platforms/GE FANUC, which was GE’s longest-running joint venture with a Japanese company, and of GE Quartz.

I remember interviewing Sylvester during her tenure as president of GE Fanuc/GE Intelligent Platforms. She did well at a relatively small unit and obviously progressed within the organization.

These corporate changes at the top are not always relevant to most working engineers and managers. The thing I find most surprising is that ABB reached out to GE for new management talent. First, it shows just how similar the GE and ABB businesses are. In fact, throw in Honeywell, Schneider Electric, and Siemens as part of an industrial big five. Emerson is lurking just behind, but it is refocusing. Rockwell Automation has eschewed following a similar path and seems to be in a group with companies such as Beckhoff Automation.

A second thought occurred which is that I’m surprised by a selection from GE given the less than satisfactory fit of Joe Hogan who came from GE to ABB as CEO.

“Maryrose Sylvester brings extensive experience of managing and transforming industrial businesses and of applying digital technologies in industry,” said ABB Chairman and CEO, Peter Voser. “Her proven track record at GE makes her an ideal candidate to run our Electrification business in the US and to be our CMD for the US.”

Sylvester is a board member of Harley-Davidson and a member of the board of governors of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. She also sat on GE’s Corporate Executive Council and its Commercial Council, and was a member and co-founder of GE’s Women’s Network.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, I would like to thank Greg Scheu for his many years of committed service to ABB in numerous leadership roles, and especially for his strong contributions as Region President Americas, US Country Managing Director, and head of Group service and business integration,” Voser said. “Under his direction, ABB has significantly strengthened its market presence in North America and positioned itself as a digital technology leader among key customer groups. We wish him every success in his future endeavors.”

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

There are linchpins; and there are cogs.

I’m not talking mechanics. It’s about people.

Some people fit in. They find their place in an organization or team. They do the quiet, repetitious work. Work that can eventually be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). Or by robots.

Humans have a brain. Organizations, teams, companies need people who use their brains. They become vital to the cause. They are linchpins.

I’ve had very few mentors in the flesh. But I’ve had many mentors through the books they wrote. Seth Godin has become one of my mentors. He wrote the book on Linchpins.

Go find a way to make yourself valuable. Make a difference wherever you are. Don’t be replaced by AI.

If you keep butting against walls where you are, leave. Find a place where you can make a difference.

Another of Seth’s phrases applies–Go raise a ruckus!

I bring this up by way of introducing a way that many of you can raise a ruckus and raise your value. It’s called contributing to open source projects. These project contribute greatly to the advancement of the state of the art in many areas. The poster child, of course, is Linux. But there are many more.

Last week I wrote about an open source project that was the subject of a press release from one of the contributing companies concerning OPC UA over TSN. From the news release, it sounded promising. I went to the Web sites of the company–a software firm in India–and also the sponsoring organization–Open Source Automation Development Lab.

It all looked interesting, even though I had not heard of either one before.

A twitter conversation ensued with a reader who really dives into these projects. Turns out to be not so hot. The OSADL does not use GitHub–today’s standard repository for open source development. It has a few projects, some of which have not been updated since 2008. Nothing appears usable at this point.

I reviewed the companies involved in this project and in the OSADL generally. None seem to be taking a deep dive.

I know that the OPC Foundation has a new working group for Field Device communication of OPC UA over TSN. It has just organized as of a few months ago. I’m waiting for response from the working group leader for an update.

I’m also on a Facebook group concerning open source OPC UA. It has occasional conversations.

Maybe someone can raise a ruckus by prodding this German group OSADL to move to GitHub and grow. OPC Foundation is OK, but groups like that take a long time for specifications given the jockeying of various member companies to assure that each does not lose any competitive advantage when the standard if finalized. (Sorry, I had personal experience on these things, including having been chair of one once.)

And, I apologize for taking the shortcut with the press release on OSADL rather than exploring a little more deeply. Thanks to my reader who did.

Let me know if you see anything on the horizon.

Alliances Forming To Drive Open Manufacturing

Alliances Forming To Drive Open Manufacturing

Companies and organizations band together to develop open platforms to drive manufacturing technology use cases forward. I’ve received notice of two more announcements from Hannover. The problem as I see it lies in the proliferation of these alliances.

Everyone says they want to be open and attract everyone. However, someone is always driving these organizations. Evidently competitors don’t want to sign in with each other. So, they go off and start another one. With any luck, each platform will construct open connectors such that the broader industry will be served.

Note to my American readers—there is a decidedly European flavor to these announcements. Many American companies seem to have a “go it alone” mentality shunning collaboration and open standards. It will take pressure from their customers to get them to open up to the new world.

In this post, I’ll take a quick look at the Open Manufacturing Platform and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.

Microsoft and the BMW Group launched the Open Manufacturing Platform, an initiative to drive open industrial IoT development, help grow a community to build future solutions and enable faster, more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing industry. The OMP is the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to the advancement of innovation in the manufacturing space by enabling open platforms. The new community is being formed now and will support the development of smart factory solutions shared by OMP members and partners. The Advisory Board is expected to be set up with four to six partners by the end of 2019.

Built on the Microsoft Azure Industrial IoT Cloud platform, the OMP is designed to:
· Provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model.
· Foster collaboration with community members and partners who will have the capability to develop their own solutions and services while maintaining control of their data.
· Address common industrial challenges such as machine connectivity and on-premises systems integration.

Microsoft will also continue its longstanding work with SAP and other partners in the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, also announced today, further supporting industry collaboration now and into the future.

The Open Manufacturing Platform is an open industrial IoT platform to accelerate production and logistics optimization efforts.

  • Data standardization across data producers for faster insights correlation
  • Central auditability and dashboards
  • Data monetization opportunities through controlled sharing and ownership
  • Open source for OMP components
  • Community approach ensures requirement prioritization. All partners contribute and can shape the future of the platform, focusing on common industrial use cases and challenges.

An alliance for the IIoT

At the Hannover Messe 2019 trade fair, seven leading suppliers from mechanical engineering, industrial automation and software announced the foundation of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. With this cooperation, the companies want to overcome proprietary solutions and give a decisive boost to the digital transformation of the European industry.

Founding members of the alliance are Beckhoff, Endress+Hauser, Hilscher, ifm, KUKA, Multivac and SAP. In principle, the alliance is open to all companies. Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA have already joined the alliance as members. All companies are mutually committed to the creation of a standardized and open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories and process plants with the integration of logistics and services.

“The open architecture of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance meets all the requirements of the process industry,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. “It is based on standards, ensures transparency across all business processes and guarantees the integrity of the systems. This enables process plant operators to leverage the potential of digitalization.”

The alliance members are planning to realize a so-called Open Industry 4.0 Framework based on existing standards such as I/O Link, OPC UA and RAMI for the entire route from objects in the workshop to services. Customers can choose from a modular system of compatible and scalable solution and service components, such as digital services from Endress+Hauser’s Netilion IIoT ecosystem.

The connection to the SAP software portfolio ensures the integration of a company’s business processes as well as collaboration with partners across company boundaries. The open architecture allows the simple connection of further system landscapes.

ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer Steps Down

ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer Steps Down

In a bit of a surprise to us outsiders, the Board of Directors of ABB and its CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer (55) have mutually agreed for him to step down from his role, which he has held since 2013. The Chairman of the Board, Peter Voser (61), will become interim CEO in addition to his current role, with immediate effect. An official search to find a new CEO has been initiated.

Spiesshofer accomplished much in his tenure. He slimmed the company emphasizing the most profitable divisions. He assembled a good team with great focus. However, as I was contemplating only last week, the stock price has languished for years despite the work. I guess even in Europe the price of stock matters most.

Peter Voser: “On behalf of the Board and the employees of ABB, I would like to personally thank Ulrich for his dedication and commitment to ABB’s customers and employees not only as CEO but also in other executive roles at ABB since 2005. Under his leadership, ABB has been transformed into a global technology leader focused in digital industries. He strategically repositioned the company and built up growth momentum across all businesses. We wish him all the best for his future endeavors.”

Voser added: “We will continue to focus on implementing ABB’s strategy and delivering value to all our stakeholders. To achieve our key financial targets, we will proceed with the divestment of ABB’s Power Grids business as planned, simplify the organizational structure of the group and deliver cost savings. Finally, our four new leading businesses will be fully dedicated to meet our customer needs for digitalization, electrification, automation and robotics.”

Ulrich Spiesshofer: “After 14 years of “all in” dedication and commitment to all our employees and customers, I hand over to Peter a trimmed ABB ship that is on a clear course and gaining speed. I would like to warmly thank our colleagues around the world, customers and partners as well as the Board of Directors for the opportunity to serve this fine company for nearly one and a half decades in different roles in the Executive Committee and as CEO. I will now take some time out before deciding on the next chapter of my professional life. From the bottom of my heart, I wish ABB’s global team all the very best for its future.”

Peter Voser, a Swiss citizen, has been Chairman of ABB since April 2015. Prior to this, he was CEO of Royal Dutch Shell from 2009-2013, and CFO between 2004-2009. Between 2002 and October 2004, he was CFO of ABB and a key leader behind the successful turnaround of the company. Voser also brings a wealth of experience in board positions in leading companies such as a Roche, IBM, Catalyst, Temasek Holdings and PSA International in Singapore.

ABB will hold its Annual General Meeting on May 2, 2019, in Zurich, as planned.