This week is Emerson Global Users Exchange week in San Antonio—with a quick side trip to Houston and a tour of some refineries implementing IoT applications with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The theme of the week is Digital Transformation just where I reside—at the convergence of OT and IT.
Emerson Automation Solutions (new-ish name for Emerson Process) continues to flesh out its drive to help customers achieve “Top Quartile” performance through Digital Transformation.
It doesn’t just talk digital transformation. The company builds out its offering through product development, services / engineering, and acquisitions. Similar to other major suppliers, it has been making strategic acquisitions rather than taking minor stakes in companies.
Mike Train, Executive President, set the themes and talked about his optimism in the business and industry. Train was recently promoted to COO of Emerson Corporation and introduced Lal Karsanbhai as the new Executive President of Emerson Automation Solutions.
My friends at Putnam Publishing are doing the show daily this year. Flash back to 8 years ago when I was still at Automation World nursing a torn quadraceps muscle doing the show daily in San Antonio. You can see the news from the team here.
Peter Zornio laid out the logic of an “Actionable Roadmap” at a subsequent press conference. The company’s PlantWeb ecosystem continues to grow and develop becoming the key element of Emerson’s Digital Transformation strategy. Below is from the press release.
The Digital Transformation Roadmap includes consulting and implementation services to help companies develop and execute a tailored digital transformation plan to reach Top Quartile performance.
“Our customers have different starting points and levels of maturity when it comes to evaluating and implementing digital transformation strategies,” said Lal Karsanbhai, executive president of Emerson Automation Solutions. “Emerson’s proven digital transformation approach provides the ultimate flexibility while pinpointing the optimum path for each customer, based on their objectives, readiness and overall digital maturity.”
In an Emerson study of industry leaders responsible for digital transformation initiatives, merely 20 percent of respondents said they had a vision, plus a clear and actionable roadmap for digital transformation. Additionally, 90 percent stated that having a clear roadmap was important, very important or extremely important. Absence of a practical roadmap was also cited as the No. 1 barrier for digital transformation projects; cultural adoption and business value round out the top three barriers to progress. While all respondents were actively conducting pilot projects, only 21 percent had moved beyond that stage into new operating standards.
Leveraging customer engagements with successful digital transformation programs, Emerson defined a structured, yet flexible approach to help customers focus on priority areas with a practical roadmap tailored to their business needs and readiness. The goal is to help companies use technology to reach Top Quartile performance, measured by optimized production, improved reliability, enhanced safety and minimized energy usage.
“There is a clear global urgency among executives to harness innovation to improve performance, but many companies feel stalled for lack of a clear path,” Karsanbhai said. “Customers who engage with our operational certainty consultants quickly gain clarity on their best bets for digital transformation and a realistic implementation plan to accelerate time to results.”
Digital Roadmap Combines Technology with Industry Expertise
Emerson’s Digital Transformation Roadmap has two focus areas: business drivers and business enablers. Business drivers look at capabilities and performance relative to industry benchmarks in key areas: production management, reliability and maintenance, safety and security, and/or energy and emissions. The business enabler focus looks at capabilities in organizational effectiveness and systems and data integration. For each, Emerson has identified detailed criteria to measure customer performance along the digital journey – from conventional to best-in-class to the highest level: digitally autonomous operations.
Companies can start the digital transformation journey wherever they are, from starting small in one facility to address key issues, such as pump health or personnel safety mustering; to exploring companywide programs across an entire business driver, such as reliability of critical assets; to driving enterprise-wide adoption of cloud-based technologies and analytics for overall business transformation.
Emerson’s Operational Certainty Consulting Group provides a host of services, from Digital Transformation Jumpstart workshops to deep-dive change management to deployment and adoption of new digitally enabled toolsets. Customers partner with Emerson not only for its consulting expertise, but also to implement its Plantweb™ digital ecosystem, which offers a robust software, data analytics, and product technology and services portfolio to solve real-world problems while improving plant performance.
Emerson’s proven capability is bolstered by a global implementation team that includes more than 80 solutions architects and analytics integration engineers, backed by a project and service engineering workforce that exceeds 8,400. Important foundations for digital transformation have been established with producers around the world. For example, Emerson has collaborated with customers to deploy more than 37,000 wireless network installations and over 175 integrated reliability platforms and applications, to name a few.
Digital transformation professional services companies provide value to owner/operators and manufacturing companies. But their services are often expensive. I have done some work on platforms such as MIMOSA’s OIIE (which is still in development) that are designed to use standards and interoperability to help these customers reduce their expense and dependence on these firms.
It’s sort of a “good news, bad news” thing.
At any rate, the PR firm representing Cognizant contacted me toward the end of December with an opportunity to interview an executive. The purpose of this interview would be to update me on the company and talk a little about digital supply chain, workforce, and other manufacturing innovation topics.
Anxious to get something done before the end of the year (billable hours?), they even offered times between Christmas and New Years. Prasad Satyavolu, global head of innovation, manufacturing, and logistics practice, talked with me shortly before Christmas.
When I laid out the conversation on a mind map, the map was huge. So I thought about it off and on for the past couple of weeks. These thoughts reflect about half of the conversation. There is a lot to think about.
Cognizant was a very familiar name, but I couldn’t place it. “We are familiar with SCADA and plant floor,” Satyavolu told me. “We acquired Wonderware’s R&D operations. In fact, we still work with Schneider Electric. We also work with Rockwell Automation.”
Core Manufacturing services include:
• Transportation/Material Handling
• Process industry
• Energy/Oil & Gas
• Aerospace (some)
• Utilities/Smart Grid/Smart Meters
When Cognizant evaluates a customer’s processes and lays out a plan, it includes everything from incoming supply to manufacturing to shipping to customer. The demand and supply chain.
One opportunity Satyavolu sees considers more instrumentation leading to additional sensing of movement of materials and workers in order to capture better decisions and enable efficiencies.
Then consider the confluence of changing workforce and technology. “Consider reality on shop floor. 5-10 years ago a maintenance engineer listened to a machine, diagnosed the problem, and fixed the machine.
The next generation doesn’t have that knowledge. Today the time to fix has gone from 15 minutes to 4 hours. How can we tackle knowledge gap? Further, is the next generation even interested in this sort of work?
Looking ahead, by 2025 we will be short 8 million people with manufacturing skills. How does this impact global mid-sized companies? How can we further leverage robotics to help solve this problem? Would robotics technology even make the work more attractive to a new generation of workers from the world of gaming and drones?
Huge opportunities exist with visibility outside the plant to planning and execution. It’s the Amazon effect—velocity so high that you almost have to produce on demand. Predictive maintenance systems enable managers to manage schedules and demands. This leverages infastructure such as cloud, digital technologies. These improve scheduling, reschedules lowering carrying costs; aids risk management / mitigation; global organizations bringing parts from around the world, global demand/supply increases uncertainty.
On shop floor, plant has fixed schedules / horizons. Scheduling systems and a lot of modeling bring stability and improve effectiveness. You can simulate production quickly, get status of inbound parts, changes in demand side, sync with labor requirements. With better scheduling, you get better visibility—you can save 12-13% of costs with sync. You can track supply chain, transportation, and change schedules in advance improving risk management.
Rockwell Automation continues its path of Connected Enterprise. In the grand scheme of RA products, I’ve never thought of software and networking as having a major impact on sales numbers. But the company continues to roll out some innovation. The “Shelby” bot and Project Scio analytics reveal some unexpected software advances for what has been a devotedly hardware-centric company.
To accompany software and networking and connectivity, Rockwell has beefed up its services offering. Its Connected Services offerings are designed to help customers plan for, deploy, and maintain new digital transformation solutions.
This is the last of my reports from interviews during Automation Fair in November in Houston. It seems the more work that I complete, the more that comes my way. I don’t think I’ll catch up in January either since it appears that my off-season soccer administrative responsibilities keep growing.
Back to Connected Services.
Connected Services offerings include industrial infrastructure assessment, design, implementation, support and monitoring capabilities including Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), remote asset monitoring and predictive maintenance, cybersecurity threat detection and recovery, training and consulting offerings. These software-powered services build on existing application and product support services to help organizations access and use production data to improve asset utilization and productivity, while reducing risk and time-to-market.
“Industrial operators have been using cutting-edge technology since the Industrial Revolution,” said Sherman Joshua, global portfolio manager for Connected Services, Rockwell Automation. “Our customers understand that digitizing operations or building a Connected Enterprise is about much more than rolling out new technology. They need the right infrastructure, process and people in place to transform operations and capture the value new technology is unlocking. That value is huge. Our Connected Services are making it easier and faster for our customers to uncover it.”
For example, according to ARC Advisory Group, the cost of unscheduled downtime in industrial operations exceeds $20 billion. Through traditional means of detecting, diagnosing and fixing downtime, approximately 76 percent of downtime occurs before any corrective action is undertaken. Connected Services can help users detect and resolve issues quickly, reducing downtime by as much as 30 percent.
Connected Services offerings start with building a secure information infrastructure. Network and cybersecurity services include assessments and design, technical support, IT/OT training, remote monitoring, threat detection and recovery, turnkey implementation, pre-engineered network solutions, and network monitoring and management. These services can speed the integration of new equipment and systems, vastly improve security and help reduce downtime with access to technical resources.
Remote support, monitoring and response services can prove especially valuable for critical processes through around-the-clock operations and remote operations. These services can complement on-site maintenance teams, providing everything from continuous machine monitoring and incident response to 24/7 remote support and software/firmware updates. Deployments can make use of the FactoryTalk Cloud gateway, on-premise Rockwell Automation Industrial Data Center servers, or a hybrid model that combines both options to help improve productivity and reduce downtime.
Data integration and contextualization services can help capture a wealth of data and convert it into actionable information. These services can provide new opportunities to help increase productivity. Producers can reduce skills gap challenges by relying on Rockwell Automation to monitor, maintain and manage the network, equipment or entire applications. Additional digital transformation and data scientist consulting services will be available in 2018.
Connected Services offerings are also scalable, allowing producers to build ROI as they go, and rely more on OPEX than CAPEX funding. Rockwell Automation can deliver and execute Connected Services offerings globally, giving organizations consistent support across operations.
Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Remember several years ago when Amazon started selling space and time on its servers? And people thought they were crazy. Is this a business?
Well, as the old vaudeville comedian and TV pioneer Jimmy Durante used to say, “Everybody wants to get into the act.”
We have lots of “–as-a-service” things going on over the past 15 years or so. Software, Application, Platform. Here Rockwell Automation leverages its partnerships with Cisco, Panduit, and Microsoft (who has its own Infrastructure-as-a-Service) to offer an extension to its longtime strategy of using Ethernet as a networking backbone to its Connected Enterprise vision.
Designing, deploying and maintaining this infrastructure can be complex and time consuming for many companies, and is often too costly for their capital budgets. Rockwell Automation has introduced its Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offering to address these challenges.
Rockwell’s IaaS reduces the burden of network deployments by combining pre-engineered network solutions, on-site configuration and 24/7 remote monitoring into a single five-year contract. The result is simplified ordering and commissioning upfront, and can help improve network reliability long term. The service can also ease budgetary strains by shifting networking costs from a capital expense to an operating expense.
All aspects of IaaS are aligned to the Converged Plantwide Ethernet (CPwE) reference architectures developed by Rockwell Automation and Cisco. Leveraging best-in-class technologies and architectures, companies can optimize their network infrastructure’s performance, efficiency and uptime, as well as address security risks.
“Companies of all sizes are eager to digitally transform their operations in a Connected Enterprise, but many are limited in their ability to connect their infrastructure,” said Sherman Joshua, connected services portfolio manager, Rockwell Automation. “Often, a combination of time, talent and budgetary constraints hold them back. IaaS helps relieve these pressures by combining turnkey networking solutions with our highest level of support.”
IaaS is offered with two Rockwell Automation pre-engineered network solutions, including the Industrial Data Center (IDC) and the Industrial Network Distribution Solution (INDS). These solutions are designed for industrial use and incorporate industry-leading technologies from Rockwell Automation Strategic Alliance partners Cisco, Panduit and Microsoft.
The IDC provides all the hardware and software needed to transition to a virtualized environment, and is designed to deliver high availability and fault tolerance. The INDS is a network distribution package that helps end users achieve secure, high-capacity connectivity between the control room and throughout the plant floor.
Under an IaaS contract, Rockwell Automation will size, assemble and test the infrastructure, including configuration and on-site deployment at the customer’s facility. Contracts include 24/7 remote monitoring of critical system parameters to help prevent outages and failures, as well as proactive system maintenance and checks to improve reliability. Support response is guaranteed within 10 minutes, but actual response times average three minutes.
GE has a new CEO coming soon. Jeff Imelt led the industrial push that led to Predix and Industrial Internet of Things, services based upon data, predictive maintenance. He spurred development of GE Digital and the transformation into a software company (check out the TV ads).
The company has announced some extensions to Predix. But we need to wonder where the new CEO will take the company. One software entrepreneur I know unleashed on the company in a LinkedIn post hoping that the new guy would trash Predix and build “something better.” We’ll have to wait and see, of course.
First a little context for one of the announcements.
The facility electrical engineer and I were speculating on an idea of linking measurement of electricity usage at perhaps the bus level for different areas of the plant with machine performance. Perhaps he could detect a machine problem through electrical changes. That was somewhere around 1993.
I quoted something, but we never did it.
Here are the high points of the announcements:
- GE Digital announces integration of ServiceMax field service management solution and Asset Performance Management portfolio to transform service operations, reduce cost and eliminate unplanned downtime
- GE Ventures launches Avitas Systems, a new venture that will transform inspection services with advanced robotics, data analytics and artificial intelligence
- GE Power releases Predix-powered ‘Digital Utility’ to connect real-time machine and operations data with energy trading to drive more profitable utilities businesses
The asset optimization organizations within a plant have a variety of new tools to take them beyond maintenance into an enhanced role. Growth of the Internet of Things and analytics capabilities especially leading into predictive and eventually prescriptive strategies are the keys to the future.