There is no mistaking how difficult the economy has been for the industry over the past few years. Jobs are gone, work pressure is high and money is tight. That makes it very easy to just hunker down and continue doing the job, forgetting the main goal of the organization.
That approach may seem the most prudent, but in reality it is the easy way out. The hard part is focusing on what you have to do to help move the company forward.
“Tough times force us to focus on what is important,” said Emerson Process Management President Steve Sonnenberg during his keynote address Monday at the 2010 Emerson Global Users Exchange in San Antonio, Texas.
“Today automation users face twin challenges,” Sonnenberg said. “The task of building and running a safe, efficient operation is more complex than ever. At the same time, many of the experienced workers needed to deal with that complexity are nearing retirement or simply not available.”
That is why, through its Human Centered Design initiative, Emerson is working to take its technology and make it easier to use.
“It is easy for geeks like us to get caught up in the technology, but we need to listen to you the customer,” Sonnenberg said.
Staying on task and knowing what is important for its users remains a focus for Emerson. That is one of the reasons the company built the $30 million test center in Marshalltown, Iowa. Plants are getting bigger, Sonnenberg said. When plants become “super sized” users need a place to test equipment. Emerson can test products for future sites, but they can also trouble shoot existing problems, he said.
One of the other areas is for users managing global operations safely and profitably while hiking the bottom line. The catch is they have to reach those goals with fewer resources, rising costs, and increased technical complexity.
That is where Emerson’s AMS Suite: Asset Performance Management software comes in. The software, which Emerson unveiled at its user group, brings together predictive intelligence with asset reliability information and gives managers decision-support tools so they can analyze predictive data over time, combine it with other business information to make quality decisions.
Decision making has been difficult over these past few years because it no one can predict when the global economy will totally turn around. But Sonnenberg sees hope.
“I know it has been a tough two or three years, Sonnenberg said. “It has been for Emerson as well. The future does look good. Begin to see the possibilities.”


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