Collaboration a message at ABB user forum

Integrating products is one key for an automation company's success. Another, as speakers at the 2005 ABB Automation World Conference noted, is to find collaboration between companies working to find integration solutions. That was the message at the April 19 event in Houston, as keynote addresses highlighted the opportunities and challenges of such collaborations.
By Jack Smith June 1, 2005

Integrating products is one key for an automation company’s success. Another, as speakers at the 2005 ABB Automation World Conference noted, is to find collaboration between companies working to find integration solutions.

That was the message at the April 19 event in Houston, as keynote addresses highlighted the opportunities and challenges of such collaborations. “Business is about people, interaction, and relationships,” said Fred Kindle, CEO of ABB Group. Achieving effective results from the user/supplier partnership requires a commitment to excellence and an open environment of trust backed by sustainable business success, according to Kindle. He advocates investing in long-term relationships instead of short-term gains — a refreshing concept that seems to be lost among today’s quarterly stock watchers. “True success comes from real customers,” he said.

Kindle said that the essentials for success are teamwork, unity of goals, ownership of responsibilities, performance and trust, which he said is “the basis for every relationship.”

Mark Young, General Manager, ISV Strategy, Developer and Platform Evangelism Group, Microsoft, noted that all broadly adopted technologies, such as electricity, automobiles or phones, have become trusted parts of our daily lives because they are almost always there when we need them, do what we need them to do and work as advertised. In manufacturing, Young said, end users expect their automation systems to be safe, reliable and delivered by a trusted vendor. As technology advances, it is more important than ever for suppliers to consider not only features, but the security, usability and manageability of their products.

Margaret Walker, V.P of Engineering Technology Centers and Manufacturing and Engineering Work Process, The Dow Chemical Company, said the 2001 agreement between Dow and ABB to supply automation systems represented a milestone of trust, sharing of technologies and work practices that would ultimately increase dramatically the value of the relationship to both companies.

Walker noted there were benefits and conflicts on the road to creating a beneficial relationship between two technically advanced companies. “Inherent in every relationship is a certain amount of conflict,” explained Walker. “But the resolution of these conflicts creates and maintains the foundation for trust.”