Emerson opens Innovations Center to enhance collaboration
New Texas facility builds on concept of integrated operations to help align process manufacturing information.
In line with the integrated operations (iOps) manufacturing trend, Emerson Process Management unveiled its new Innovations Center in Round Rock, Texas, and discussed its associated Integrated Operations Initiative – all aimed at increasing collaboration between key plant personnel.
The event drew political and business leaders, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Dell chairman and CEO Michael Dell, and the international press for a tour of the nearly 280,000 sq. ft. facility and a discussion of the initiative.
"Today we are officially opening another chapter for a technology leader,” Gov. Perry said. “This company is in the process of making life easier and making life better. It enhances Texas' reputation as a place to dream big.”
Michael Dell was also congratulatory. “This center will be a hub for collaboration with your customers and will highlight the work to help customers be more efficient,” he said. Over the years, Dell and Emerson have forged a strong relationship. "What is most valuable is not readily apparent,” he said. “It's the close engineering partnership between the two companies.”
And Dell’s headquarters aren’t too far down the street if Emerson needs a hand, Michael Dell joked. "Welcome to the neighborhood,” he said.
The iOps movement is thrusting data analytics to the next level, said Jim Nyquist, president for the process systems and solutions business at Emerson. "Customers have steadily seen operational improvement for years by deploying smart automation technologies that provide more data – more visibility – into what's really happening,” he said.
Data, however, is not enough. “The real opportunity is to imagine new organizational workflows, like the formation of cross-function collaboration centers that bring together decentralized expertise to enable better, faster decision-making,” Nyquist said. “That's iOps.”
"If we look at the challenges of the industry, it's that 4-D term: dull, dirty, dangerous, and distant," said Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson. Because of these challenges, job functions often can become departmentalized, he said. "Many times there are decisions that need to be made and an optimal goal that not everyone sees at the same time."
Bringing all the decision making to one location – the Innovations Center – actually allows Emerson to analyze data and consult with people remotely – a relocate, collaborate, and align strategy, Zornio said. The goal is to integrate every aspect of operations, including business and maintenance, and the key is to start by putting the network infrastructure system in place, he said.
It’s all about the management, Zornio said. "In order to make operations work, it starts with the management team, and a manager who is going to put forth the vision and share that with everyone else in the organization," he said.
To help facilitate organizational changes for customers, the company also unveiled its Emerson Services for iOps.
- Bob Vavra, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, email@example.com.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.