Changes at the Emerson PR Agency for Europe

Two years after the untimely death of Charles Lewis, the PR agency he founded, HHC Lewis, has continued its successful business relationship with a varied client list, one of which is Emerson Process Management. For around 20 years a team at HHC Lewis in Southampton has acted as the PR and advertising agency for Emerson across Europe, producing copy for editors under the guidance of US and European marketing, and ensuring a consistent advertising presence in published material. For the last two years the Emerson team and external responsibilities have been headed up by Adrian Chesney.

Cherie Pearce and Adrian Chesney

Cherie Pearce and Adrian Chesney

Now Adrian Chesney and Cherie Pearce, previously the Company Accountant, have led an MBO and are the new joint managing directors. Nick Taylor, Marketing Director for Emerson Process in Europe, is pleased to see HHC Lewis moving forwards, and hopes their excellent working relationship will continue in the future.

Pearce and Chesney bought the business without outside funding, having acquired the shares from the previous owner. They are now the company directors and joint owners and will lead the business. Chesney joined the agency seven years ago as a PR account manager and Pearce has been with the company since 1995.

Chesney said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to guide the direction of HHC Lewis and enhance the enormous potential of our company. The HHC Lewis team has a wealth of experience and continues to develop innovative ways of serving our clients.”

Earlier this year the Agency relocated from offices adjacent to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton, to a new office block in Southampton town centre. Other contact details remain the same.

Advertisements

Spitzer and Boyes to acquire the INSIDER

The press release below will be of interest to readers of the INSIDER pdf subscription newsletter, which I have edited since 2010, following on from the founder and editor for 14 years, Andrew Bond. I will still continue writing articles for the INSIDER from a European viewpoint, but the publication will benefit significantly from the US input available from Walt Boyes.

“We are pleased to announce that effective with the February 2014 issue, we have acquired the Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER,” said David W. Spitzer, PE, principal of Spitzer and Boyes LLC. “Walt Boyes, formerly award-winning editor in chief of Control and controlglobal.com will assume the editorship with the February issue.”

Nick Denbow, respected as one of the best automation industry editors and journalists in the world, will relinquish the publisher role, but will remain as UK/Europe editor indefinitely. “Joining editorial forces with Walt gives a real opportunity to share opinion and inputs from both sides of the Atlantic – which is exactly what the vendors already do. It will be really exciting to see the INSIDER expand in this way,” Denbow said.

“We chose the INSIDER for a number of reasons,” Boyes revealed. “First, as a subscription-based publication, it is not competitive to any of the other automation magazines, which are all advertising-supported. The INSIDER will continue to be subscription-based and will not sell advertising.”

“Second, we felt that the INSIDER has the reputation of exceptional, hard-edged journalism that we wanted to be associated with,” Boyes continued. “For over seventeen years, first under the direction of Andrew Bond, and then under Nick Denbow, the INSIDER became and has remained one of the most read and authoritative publications in the automation industry.”

“Third, we have plans to enhance and improve the excellent reporting and journalistic insight of the INSIDER beginning with the February issue,” Boyes said.

“We intend to provide local reporting on a global scale, beginning with North and South America. We intend to have Pacific Rim, India, MEA and Eastern European reporting to complement the terrific job Nick’s done primarily in Western Europe and the UK,” Boyes said.

“Beginning in the February issue, there will be an editorial by me,” Boyes said, “and beginning in March, a feature column by Joy Ward that will normally be an interview with an automation luminary, either vendor or end user.”

“There will be increased coverage of end user activities, as well as more in-depth coverage of vendor news from around the world,” Boyes added.

“We’ll have more news about the plans for the INSIDER in the coming months,” Boyes said.

The Industrial Automation and Process Control INSIDER  (www.iainsider.com) is the authoritative publication in the automation market space. Because it is subscription-based, not advertiser-supported, it publishes news, opinion and analysis about the automation industries without fear or favor.

Spitzer and Boyes LLC (www.spitzerandboyes.com) is a technology consulting firm devoted to assisting companies to better create and market their products in manufacturing and automation. David W. Spitzer, PE and Walt Boyes are the principals of the firm. Spitzer and Boyes LLC provides technology transfer and due diligence services for mergers and acquisitions in the technology environment, new product development consulting and forensic engineering for technology cases, content creation and custom research services in the manufacturing and automation space.

More information can be obtained from  editorial@iainsider.com or dspitzer@spitzerandboyes.com.

Insider review of Schneider bid

The main story in the August issue of the Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter is a review of the Schneider Electric $5+Bn bid for Invensys, as shown below. Plus other articles discuss the spin off of the old Valmet from the Metso Group in Finland, and developments from Krohne, including the NIR spectrometer developed by Bayer for their chemical plants, and the intergrated HART transmitters in the Krohne SmartSens pH and conductivity analytical sensors.  Other news from ABB, Yokogawa, and Offshore Europe, plus reports about Innominate mGuard firewalls, Wipro water industry ambitions and HMS Anybus interfaces enabling machinery to communicate with any plant network, such as Profinet, DeviceNet etc. For subscription information please see http://www.iainsider.co.uk

Schneider justifies $5Bn price tag for Invensys: sees automation and power as good fit to expand offering

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, the chairman and ceo of Schneider Electric, had a comprehensive presentation prepared to explain their interest in acquiring Invensys, on the day of the meeting scheduled for discussion of the Schneider half year results, on 31st July. Tricoire announced their intention to acquire the Invensys group on terms similar to those outlined earlier in the month by the Invensys statement, and announced the backing of the Invensys board, backed by formal undertakings from each of them to sell their individual personal and family share-holdings to Schneider.

Elsewhere in this newsletter  the build-up to the offer, following the Invensys disclosure of the on-going discussion with Schneider, is described.

The logic for the deal 

The Schneider offer document describes themselves as ‘The global specialist of
solutions integrating power and automation technologies to help customers
manage energy and drive efficiency’. It then adds – ‘Operational efficiency is further
driven by software, as Information Technologies (IT) and Operational
Technologies (OT) converge’. This IT/OT link is a major piece of their logic for
wanting to acquire the Invensys automation businesses.
Schneider explain: “in the industrial and infrastructure end-markets, integrated solutions, combining power and automation technologies, drive operational efficiency. Industrial automation is an attractive growth market per se. The integration of automation and power offerings – supported by low voltage, medium voltage and critical power technologies, a key strength of Schneider Electric – will enable a new level of performance. Such integrated solutions are especially relevant to e l e c t r o – i n t e n s i v e customers. Operational efficiency is further driven by software capability and connectivity skills, as IT and OT converge.”

“Schneider Electric believes the businesses of Schneider Electric and Invensys to be highly complementary to respond to these business trends, with the combination representing a unique opportunity to create a global leader in industrial automation, advanced software solutions and power solutions. This will enable the enlarged group to offer a broader range of systems and services to new and existing clients.”
Due diligence and benefits Throughout the analysts’ questions Tricoire maintained that the feedback from their own customer base had been that Invensys was the right partner, for Schneider to link with, and that undoubtedly the two companies were
complementary, Schneider bringing the power management and electrical interface
to enable a total electrical project capability. The only criticism heard of Invensys was that the group was not seen as financially stable, in the longer term, but this would be solved by an acquisition by Schneider.
In addition the Invensys presence in process automation markets complements the Schneider market presence with strength and penetration in the discrete and hybrid automation areas. The integration of Invensys with the Schneider industry business will increase the share of revenues derived from solutions and services from 24% to 40%, decreasing the percentage attributed to product sales. Schneider see this as a good thing, increasing the share of recurring and high added-value revenues for the business. They also see a positive benefit in the change to the cyclical profile of the business, increasing significantly the share of revenues from long cycle activities!
Financial benefits 
In financial return figures the acquisition is forecast to give Schneider the extra benefit of cost savings of around Euro140m by 2016 from the current Invensys operational cost level, plus increased revenues of around Euro400m by 2018 as a result of the larger offerings from the group, leading to additional earnings of Euro65m per annum, on top of the existing Invensys earnings rate. In year 3 Schneider see return on capital (after tax benefits) of 10% to 11%. The future of the Invensys Appliance segment within this has not  been considered as yet.
Areas with strong brands Schneider sees Invensys as having strong brands and presence in the automation market, and were obviously keen to add their power solutions alongside the Invensys industrial automation and advanced software. So their comments in relation to Foxboro (DCS and equipment), Triconex, Wonderware, SimSci and Avantis seem to indicate that these would continue as the lead for Schneider in their market areas, bringing forward Schneider power equipment, SCADA presumably, and PlantStruxure PES systems as appropriate – good news for Mike Caliel and his industrial automation business area. Tricoire said that his due diligence teams had been impressed with the people they had met in their discussions, with solid teams, on top of their projects.
The future?
For Invensys the deal with Schneider looks positive: the shareholders also get a good deal.

For the industry the deal would retain Invensys as a separate independent DCS and automation software supplier, claimed by Schneider as #3 in terms of installed base. This is also good news for journals and newsletters, like the INSIDER. The deal will also add a strong electrical services supply arm, making Schneider+Invensys compete almost on a par with ABB and Siemens. Then, with Schneider a dedicated Ethernet enthusiast, maybe the two together will also develop into a new discrete and hybrid supplier, competing for the typical Rockwell clients.

For Emerson, Honeywell and Yokogawa, they lose a weaker competitor, and miss out on acquiring, or future scavenging on, the significant installed base of Invensys systems. They gain a rejuvenated competitor, with strong asset backing, wanting to re-take their place at the table. We have yet to see if anyone else thinks this place at the table is worth fighting for, as there are still three months to go before the name is changed forever.

Who is the next automation and control thought leader?

The following was the lead article in the INSIDER Newsletter for June 2013, written as a result of the recent news from ABB that their ceo Joe Hogan and their chief technology officer are both to leave the company.

The days of the technology based entrepreneur who starts a major automation business are long gone*. But seemingly the days of the company ceo that came from the same mould seem to be fading, as the larger businesses maybe move towards faster turnover of their ceo post, and introduces a stronger finance bias. Over the last five years or so there have been notable automation leaders as chief executives, who combined the financial knowledge with great presentation skills, and a willingness to explain their business insights and drivers. After all, that is what makes the best texts for the INSIDER. Who do we look to now for such leadership?

So who are the other leaders?

So where are we with the other automation thought leaders that have driven the industry forwards over the last five years – or longer – and have now moved on? Some of those discussed in this issue are detailed below.

For ABB, there was Joe Hogan from 2008, and he was supported by an equally impressive chief technology officer, or cto, in Peter Terwiesch, from 2005 to 2011, and now heads up ABB in Germany as the ceo there. ABB is based in Switzerland.

The Invensys Group

In Invensys there was Sudipta Bhattacharya, who joined Invensys Operations Management from SAP, coming in as ceo in 2007, and left in September 2012. In his time his Invensys Group boss had the twin responsibilities of Invensys Rail and IOM, so maybe did not take the centre stage as much as has happened in the last year, when Group ceo Wayne Edmunds has taken most of the limelight, and the IOM ceo of the last 18 months, Mike Caliel, has not had much opportunity to step forward. Edmunds is a pure financier in his approach, and as reported this month, he is looking to simplify the group presentations. Hopefully there will be an opportunity for Caliel to come forward therefore, and reclaim some of the ground he had taken as an automation leader in his first stint with Invensys, from 1993 to 2006, when he ended up as ceo of Invensys Process Systems.

The equivalent at IOM of a cto would seem to be Dr Peter Martin, who started there with Foxboro marketing in 1996 and now leads what is best described maybe as their overall automation business software consultancy operations. IOM call him vp of ‘Business Value Solutions’: he authored the 2011 capital market day presentations, and it will be interesting next month to report on the 2013 version.

Invensys is a UK Group, financed and led from London: but IOM and Mike Caliel are based in Houston.

Honeywell Process Solutions

Norm Gilsdorf, after four years with Honeywell UOP, took over first as vp and gm for HPS in Europe in 2008, and then had three years in charge of HPS worldwide. He moved on a year ago to become the president of HPS high growth regional business in Russia and the Middle East area, when Darius Adamczyk from another Honeywell business came in to run HPS.

HPS is a USA-centric business, which made it interesting that Gilsdorf remained based in the UK offices, and externally showed no problem as a result. Significantly one of the questions Adamczyk chose to answer on a recent webinar was one that enquired how him being based in the USA had changed the business! Hopefully Adamczyk will progress to more technologically challenging questions soon, and maybe bring some coherence to the whole diverse operation.

Within HPS, the cto, and leader of several adventurous technical presentations is Jason Urso in the USA, also supported ably by Jean-Marie Alliet, whose real title is the director of solutions consultants for the EMEA, based in Belgium. Notably Alliet has no problem branching out and covering hardware as well.

Who would be your thought leader?

The next batch of candidates to re-consider will be reviewed next month, but must include the recent changes in the leadership at E+H, Emerson Process Management and Yokogawa: but with nothing significant to report as yet on any changes at GE, Siemens, Metso and Rockwell Automation, who will be the thought leader to watch? Answers please, on a postcard, as they say!

There is one comment applicable to ABB, Invensys and Honeywell: their business is not just based on software (thank goodness) nor on DCS systems: there are many other aspects to an automation capability, mainly based on instrumentation technology, and these must be built into the structure – don’t forget the names that still exist, like Foxboro, Eurotherm, Eckardt for Invensys, Enraf, RMG for Honeywell: of course ABB have killed all their old business names off!

*Note: The days of the technology based entrepreneur who starts a good specialist business in the automation field are still with us however, there are examples all around like Dust Networks, Eric Byres and Tofino Security, and maybe even the original Processingtalk.com (now defunct). But usually these are snapped up by other larger companies when they become recognized, to develop them further or to kill them off. Recent such acquisitions might be seen as SpectraSensors, and the acquisition featured this month, RAE Systems.

INSIDER newsletter for September

The Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter for September has been despatched.

This month the lead article features the Hima-Sella project that is replacing multiple PLC controllers for a leading UK petroleum refinery. Controlled by a HIMax unit, which acts as a data concentrator, and communicates with the remote I/O and network boxes over three fibre-optic control loops, using Ethernet. Hima-Sella is also upgrading the gas processing plant at Seal Sands, as reported on this blog earlier.

The INSIDER then reviews the Shell problems with LNG exploration and development in Australia, and the results of the US CSB enquiry into the BP Macondo well disaster. Meanwhile GE snaps up two more specialist instrument companies in Norway.

The UK leads the world in nuclear power: well maybe not so much currently, but as long as we get some Chinese investment the next UK projects might get off the ground…. Meanwhile Triconex is doing OK in the USA, with nuclear plant revamps using modern digital technology. Yokogawa finds more power projects in southeast Asia, and Rockwell finds a major drive acquisition in China.

There’s plenty of news about Coriolis, and other flowmeters: and some interesting developments with user group events in the USA…..

See the latest INSIDER for the month’s news, before everyone settles down to work and lots more product launches!

Subscribe to the newsletter now and get the September issue free, via http://www.iainsider.co.uk !

Do MES vendors miss out from UK manufacturing?

Organized by The Manufacturer magazine, the “ERP Connect” symposium event was held in May at Ansty Hall in Coventry, UK. This very successful event formula alternates presentations of case studies, given by end users or independent suppliers, with 1:1 Q&A sessions and discussions between the delegates (ie the potential users) and the ERP vendors, who actually sponsor the event. The delegates effectively get to see all the ERP vendors in one room and also have the chance to network with other potential and existing ERP users. In reality, if you described this day as free concentrated consultancy, you would not be exaggerating, suggests the Northern correspondent for the Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter. But more than that, the day left the impression that the presentations each had a familiar ring – as the claims were those that, in the main, would be made by MES vendors. So the next step is maybe to assemble the MES vendors and resellers for a similar event, once again organized by The Manufacturer, to open up this discussion format wider.

The case studies were varied and discussed the reality of ERP implementation, its business benefits, what was learned on the way, and in one case how to pick up a failing implementation and turn it around. The Manufacturer had ensured that no actual vendor or reseller spoke, so the content was informative and as real world as it can get, mainly from end users. The only downside was that the necessary parallel sessions meant that delegates could not attend all the presentations in the time available!

To attend the event required registration and a fee, which was reduced if the delegate agreed to participate in the 1:1 sessions (why would one not do so and therefore not obtain the full benefit). Speaking to a random sample of co-delegates it was clear that the event was of significant use and was an efficient way to sound the market and make early-day potential vendor selection. For the suppliers, these discussions with the delegates gave valuable information and business potential assessment for later follow-up.

Implications for MES vendors?

The fact that The Manufacturer  (http://www.themanufacturer.com) could get the co-operation of many ERP vendors to attend under one roof and sponsor an event is praiseworthy, and perhaps shows a ‘market-forces’ approach by these vendors, each of whom had brought their inevitable pop-up exhibit displays to attract the eye. Could such an event be co-hosted by the MES community?

There is an assumption that the ERP business comes expensive (in millions) and ties up an organization’s resource for over a year, therefore there is an associated market size and money to do such things, whereas this is not the case for MES. Well, not quite, as it was said that ERP today kicks in at circa GBP25K and tops out at GBP125K (whether this is full costing I do not know), and one presenter at a previous ERP Connect event talked about implementation in a few weeks rather than months (although he admitted to an assertive approach!).

Given that an MES project can be the same kind of money, and take similar times and that many of the benefit claims overlap, one has to wonder if the MES players are busy fighting amongst themselves rather than joining together to produce more market focus on the undeniable and unique benefits of MES. It seems that the potential customers for MES are the same as those for ERP, and give the same beneficial results.

Real time information?

Admittedly no one spoke at the event about such things as OEE, Asset Management, Downtime and Historians; and ‘realtime’ was just not mentioned! In fact the assumption was that the data appeared from ‘somewhere’ and ERP made good use of it in delivering useful information. Whether the information was about what was ‘supposed to have happened’ or ‘actually happened’ was unclear, but possibly barcode readers and keyboard input were part of these schemes. This however was a personal and theoretical observation, as there was an overwhelming endorsement in terms of business benefit – regardless of any concerns about data accuracy, reliability or timeliness. Needless to say S95 was not mentioned (this, it seems, is just NOT recognized in ERP-speak).

The whole thing was about business benefit – the case for which was presented very convincingly by numerous end-users during the day. The confusion for your reporter was the repetition to a high degree of what one would hear at MES presentations by vendors (and no doubt their satisfied customers); although I may have been the only person at the event to make this observation. Possibly many MES disciples could and would take exception to what was being said, but that would be to argue with satisfied customers that were testifying to measured business benefits from ERP, such as inventory reduced by 50%, and the reality in one case that over Euro100m of business had been previously managed on ad hoc spreadsheets.

Can the MES vendors co-operate?

It could be that there is an opportunity to develop an ‘MES Connect’ event proposal, to bring the functionality and benefits of MES to the attention of ‘the right people’ – people not currently seen by MES suppliers: and it does seem that these would in the main be the same sort of people that attend ERP Connect, which are presumably at the core of The Manufacturer magazine readership.

Can MES vendors come together in a group for the common good? Nothing is impossible, but without such a combined approach, MES vendors may find that they are nibbling at the edges rather than enjoying main-stream acceptance as ‘being as useful as ERP’, and UK manufacturers certainly seem to need and appreciate all the benefits of such systems, once shown what is available.

This article was first published in the June issue of the Industrial Automation INSIDER Newsletter

● Interested? E-mail the INSIDER on editorial@iainsider.com

Verhappen appointed as md for Yokogawa Canada

First reported by Eoin O’Riain of Read-out.net in Ireland, from watching Facebook, Yokogawa USA finally announced today that Ian Verhappen has joined Yokogawa as managing director of Yokogawa Canada, to be based in Calgary. Verhappen is well known within the ISA, and until last month was campaigning to become President-elect at the ISA in the 2012 nominations, but he withdrew from this competition on taking up his new post.

Verhappen reports that he has had an exciting first week this last week, “Working with a GREAT group of people with LOTS of energy” he says on Facebook: “Looking forward to the future!”

From Canada Verhappen will report to Chet Mroz, president of Yokogawa Corporation America, who said: “Mr. Verhappen is well recognized within our industry as someone who quickly identifies the customers’ core problem and understands how technology can be used to provide cost effective solutions to the issue at hand. I believe that his experience, industry knowledge, understanding of the Canadian market, as well as his strong leadership, will help expand our business in Canada by providing customer services excellence.”

Verhappen is also author of several books on Foundation Fieldbus, and recently has been working as Industrial Automation Networks Inc, as a global consultant in the engineering services business, assisting clients with their process plant networking, digital field systems, process control and safety systems, process analyzer systems and automation projects. His previous roles include working for the ISA as Vice President Strategic Planning, as Director Industrial Networks for MTL Inc, and as HSE RIO Project Manager for the Fieldbus Foundation.

Yokogawa also advise that the first 25 years of his career in the upstream hydrocarbon industry with Petro-Canada (now Suncor) and Syncrude Canada Ltd. gaining exposure to the full spectrum of the oil and gas as well as the oil sands sector. He holds a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Alberta, and is a Certified Automation Professional. He is a Fellow member of the ISA, where he was a VP last year, and had previously been the Publications VP: he is also a Professional Engineer in Alberta.