Invensys Operations Management: New approach requires real-time adaptability to customer orders
The major theme for the Invensys Operations Management conference is the company’s focus on the new business drivers in the manufacturing market. According to Sudipta Bhattacharya, president and CEO of Invensys Operations Management, these drivers are: environmental excellence, production excellence, asset excellence, and control/safety excellence. These were discussed against the unexpected backdrop of rising attendance at this year’sOpsManage conference in Anaheim, CA (Nov. 3-5, 2009)–overallattendance is said to have increased 9% this year versus last.
"Five years ago, the only thing that really mattered was production optimization," said Bhattacharya. Today, several issues play a key role.
"Having knowledge of the environmental impacts of production without being able to address them properly can become a bottleneck to manufacturing," he said. "In addition, the definition of production has changed. It’s no longer just about the cost of materials and labor, now it has to do with real time adaptability to customer orders–am I capable of producing to customer demands? And asset management now includes people as well as capital equipment, as companies strive to maintain worker expertise. As a result, plant control is now just as much about business control as it is about controlling production."
In response to these changes, Bhattacharya noted that Invensys Operations Management (the moniker for the new Invensys business unit that incorporates IMServe, Invensys Process Systems, Wonderware, and Eurotherm) has shifted its focus. Now the company stresses the issues of addressing control and safety, as well as simulation, optimization and execution more so than it does a specific product-oriented strategy. With this new approach, Bhattacharya says Invensys Operations Management (IOM) is now focused on making data actionable.
"Today, manufacturers want to know if we can address the larger problems that they face," noted Bhattacharya. "For example, they want to know that, if we can identify a specific equipment problem, what can we also do to help them get that piece of equipment back up and running. We’re solving problems differently today than most industry suppliers through a combination of systems and data."
Expanding on Bhattachrya’s points about IOM’s new direction, Rashesh Mody, vice president of IOM portfolio and strategy, said the company’s Enterprise Control System strategy will be deployed in three waves running through the second half of fiscal year 2012. "The strategy across these waves will be about extending the life of existing assets and systems by focusing on simplification and standardization to improve engineering efficiency and empower decision support."
Detailing plans for wave one, Mody said the Wonderware system platform will have core supervisory and control capabilities for all vertical industries. It will also feature a common configuration tool for HMI, MES, and mobile applications. Visualization will also be a feature common to all applications regardless of end device used to access the application. Also key will be the system’s ability to interact with any field device or I/O unit.
Another issue prominently noted at the conference was Invensys Operations Management decision to open up its software platform to partner development.
"When you’re‘open’," said Bhattachrya, "your strategy has to include a focus on partner development. Partners bring specific industry expertise to the table. A case in point is our new energy management product. The idea for that application came from a partner, as did our water/wastewater industry application."
– By David Greenfield, Reed Business Information