Look inside: Siemens E&A ‘listens to customer visions’

Norcross, GA—Siemens Energy & Automation has been aiming to emphasize the strengths of its “Totally Integrated Automation” message with customers, according to a recent conversation with Jeffrey Howe, Automation and Motion Division’s product business manager for PLC and I/O platforms.


Norcross, GA— Siemens Energy & Automation rs’ visions, he says.

The goal is to provide a cohesive message about the integration ease, full breadth of products, and industry expertise gained in 190 countries over 154 years of history, Howe explained to Control Engineering. “Siemens is out there with customers, then feeds their requirements to R&D, to provide products designed for their needs.”

A range of options, components, hardware, systems, software, communications, and integration capabilities are available from Siemens. This includes software-based logic, a range of programmable logic controllers, motion controllers, a variety of networks, a programming environment, distributed I/O modules, motor starters, a variety of safety applications, connections to higher-level systems and more, he says.

“We’re different than our competitors,” Howe says. For instance, “Rockwell Automation’s approach was to replace electromechanical technologies with electronics with PLCs, and now customers need a new platform to go beyond that. For us, it’s more of a computer-based approach than relay replacement thinking.” Siemens offers high-level languages for programming, at more of a systems engineering view, the way a factory is designed, rather than a collection of components. That makes incorporating new technology easier, Howe says.

For Siemens, though, it’s been a customer-centric turnaround, he suggests, since historically, it’s had more of a technology-based sales focus. The change has required additional education for the sales channels, to ensure the sales representative listens to where the customer wants to go, before offering the solution. “Now we say,‘Your vision, our technology, working together,’” according to Howe. Industry-based units and embedded application expertise helps, he says, along with a move to integrate software expertise with the appropriate business units.

“I’m amazed at how many are unaware of our full capabilities. But marketing is a lot easier to fix than technologies; we’re in a better position than our competitors,” Howe says.

Among key customer concerns: more desire for open systems, asset preservation, plug and play, use of multiple companies’ products, and preservation of proprietary, already-written code, moving forward. Not every customer’s expectation in each of those areas will be met immediately, but, Howe says, Siemens is moving rapidly in that direction. “We’re committed,” he concludes.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editor-in-chief

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