Schneider Electric poised to "change the industrial landscape" after Invensys acquisition

Now that the Invensys acquisition deal is complete, Schneider Electric will combine the two firms’ unique discrete and process industrial portfolios, positioning it as a global market leader.

01/29/2014


Wonderware InTouch Access Anywhere from Invensys enables users to access plant-floor data at anytime, using any mobile device, including Microsoft Surface tablets, iPads, iPhones, Androids and others. Courtesy: InvensysAfter finalizing the Invensys acquisition deal last week, Schneider Electric is now beginning to move the business plan from the board room to the marketplace. Clemens Blum, executive vice president of industry business, sees the transition as transformative. “This deal is really unique when you look at the history of the automation market,” he said in an interview. “Our combined capabilities really have the chance to change the industrial landscape.”

Even before the deal was finalized, the two companies worked together to ensure a smooth transition, said Michael Caliel, president of Invensys, in an interview. “We’ve been working collaboratively to ensure that everything we do is transparent going forward,” he said. “Our focus has been creating the value that exists in these two companies and realizing that value as quickly as possible.”

Already a discrete-manufacturing leader, Schneider’s acquisition of Invensys allows the company to bring a process-heavy portfolio into its fold. Schneider Electric can now offer products across the entire manufacturing spectrum.

Entering the process industry is not the challenge, Blum said. When businesses enter a new marketplace, they must find their footing – build a foundation. “With Invensys, we can leapfrog that,” he said. “We get a significantly strong organization with strong execution capabilities all over the world.” The acquisition also allows Schneider to enter the emerging oil and gas markets in North America.

Both Caliel and Blum view the two companies as complementary, they said. “This deal is extremely complementary with very little overlap,” Blum said. “When you look at the combined portfolio of both companies, from the automation layer to the control layer, with the low-voltage and medium-voltage offerings, very few suppliers will be able to provide this breadth and width of offerings.”

While Schneider Electric does not plan to employ the Invensys brand name, it will preserve its product line nomenclature, such as Wonderware, Triconix, and Foxboro. “We acquired really strong brands, and we understand pretty well the value behind those brands,” Blum said.

But what’s the real challenge then? Instead of product lines, the onus is on transition and its management. It’s “how we put in place an architectural platform that allows that integration to take place so that it allows people to explore the large amount of data in a secure, reliable manner,” Caliel said. “It’s allowing people to have the insight to act with broader objectives in mind.”

But the two don’t view this as insurmountable, they said. The company cultures, like their product portfolios, are complementary. “We wanted to understand what the cultures were, what the cultural differences could be,” Blum said. But analysts told the firms that they had never seen a better corporate culture match after a round of testing.

And the most telling part is employee feedback, Blum said. “The employees are extremely excited about the potential that this offers.”

Click here to read our first day coverage of the official acquisition announcement.

- Jordan M. Schultz and Bob Vavra, content managers, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, and Plant Engineering jschultz(at)cfemedia.com and bvavra(at)cfemedia.com.



Anonymous , 02/06/14 10:12 AM:

Changing the horribly expensive licensing for Wonderware would be a good thing to change.

I never thought I'd say that an Allen-Bradley / Rockwell Automation product was less expensive than something, but I'm much rather use Factory Talk View Studio instead of dealing with the restrictive licensing of the Wonderware products....