Schneider Electric opens new Automation and Control Innovation Center
“Customer-focused” has become something of a catchphrase in automation and control circles these days. Such buzzwords are easy to include in a corporate brochure, but a more telling barometer of a company’s dedication to the customer is through the actions of the organization. During a special two-day media event held in late October, Schneider Electric unveiled the Automation...
“Customer-focused” has become something of a catchphrase in automation and control circles these days. Such buzzwords are easy to include in a corporate brochure, but a more telling barometer of a company’s dedication to the customer is through the actions of the organization. During a special two-day media event held in late October, Schneider Electric unveiled the Automation and Control Innovation Center in Raleigh, NC– a new hands-on demonstration facility designed to showcase the company’s solutions in an environment custom-tailored to meet the specific needs of OEM and end-user customers.
During the event, Control Engineering had an opportunity to sit down with Andy Gravitt, vice president of industrial automation and control for Schneider Electric’s North American operating division, and discuss the significance of the Automation Center and the strategic and organizational shifts it represents.
“There is a tremendous amount of enthusiasm and energy within the organization,” said Gravitt. “What you see here today is part of a multi-year strategy aimed at creating a 'culture of innovation’ within the business and empowering all of our employees to become problem solvers in a more direct, more tangible way.”
Bringing customers– or prospective customers – to the Automation and Control Innovation Center provides an opportunity to refine the scope of the project at hand and foster greater collaboration between the manufacturer and the Schneider team. By combining hands-on exposure to Schneider Electric technologies withopen access to engineering teams and other resident product and technical experts, Gravitt aims to create a collaborative environment which will accelerate the company’s ability to solve the automation and business challenges of their customers.
In conjunction with customer-facing elements of Schneider’s strategy are internally-focused operational measurements as well. Leadership teams regularly evaluate the performance of the business against several key metrics to ensure that customer-centricity is being addressed throughout the organization. And if all of this sounds like familiar territory to those who are Six Sigma savvy, there’s good reason.
“The voice of the customer is present in virtually everything we do,” explained Gravitt. “Our organization takes a holistic approach to addressing the needs of our customers– from engineering and support to legal and finance – and we leverage scorecards to consistently analyze and improve our performance.”
Through this approach, Schneider Electric’s automation and control business is putting the checkpoints behind the strategy to ensure that they stay on-track with the goals and objectives of the organization.