ISA Automation Week covers how to make a profit
July 10, 2013 - To address the critical need among manufacturing companies worldwide to improve their bottom-line results, the International Society of Automation (ISA) today announces that an educational track at ISA Automation Week 2013 will demonstrate how automation solutions can drive margin improvement and profitability.
“Creating Business Value through Automation,” co-chaired by automation industry legends Peter G. Martin, Ph.D., and Maurice Wilkins, Ph.D., will illustrate the business-centric significance of automation, explaining how to optimize return on investment, precisely measure the business value of automation, and gain the buy-in and support of senior management.
“Effectively applied automation technology can be the most value-creating asset for industrial firms, yet executives of these companies generally don’t perceive it as such,” asserts Dr. Martin, Vice President of Business Value Solutions at Invensys Operations Management and a globally acclaimed expert on how automation can improve business and financial results. “This track will provide specific approaches to measuring business value in industrial operations in real time, empowering operational personnel to make better, more value-generating decisions in their day-to-day work, and applying specific automation solutions that will drive business value improvements in operations. Proven examples from across industry will help demonstrate the value of automation solutions, and will provide additional guidance on how to communicate the value of automation solutions to management.”
“Creating Business Value through Automation” is one of six educational tracks offered at ISA Automation Week 2013, the premier annual event for automation and control professionals worldwide, to be held 5-7 November 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
Each educational track will be profiled through a series of ISA press releases to be distributed in the coming weeks. The other five tracks that comprise the event’s technical program are:
- Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy
- The Connected Enterprise
- Industrial Automation & Control
- Industrial Network Security
- Wireless Applications
The “Creating Business Value through Automation” track is being developed by two of the automation field’s most highly regarded and experienced professionals, both acclaimed for their contributions in improving the performance of industrial process plants.
Dr. Wilkins, Vice President of the Global Strategic Technology Marketing Center at Yokogawa Corporation, is widely recognized for establishing a procedural automation standard for the continuous process industries to improve safety and efficiency at manufacturing sites. He was responsible for proposing the ISA106 standard for Procedural Automation for Continuous Process Operations to the ISA Standards and Practices Board.
Among many other honors, Dr. Martin has received the ISA Life Achievement Award in recognition of his work in integrating financial and production measures that improve the profitability and performance of process industry.
“It’s essential that manufacturers capitalize on the full potential of automation systems,” Dr. Martin emphasizes. “It’s been estimated that most automation systems and solutions are utilized at between 15 percent and 40 percent of their capacity. Obviously, there is a significant amount of spare capacity from both a functional and space perspective available. The industry needs to start utilizing this spare capacity to drive new, value-generating solutions on the capital investments that have already been made.”
Several factors, he says, have contributed to the under-utilization and under-appreciation of automation solutions. They include:
- Accounting systems that lack the time or space resolution to measure the business value of automation solutions. Without these value measurements, the benefits derived from these solutions are not readily apparent.
- The lack of real-time business information given the speed and volatility of business variables associated with industrial operations.
- Plant accountants have traditionally not been responsible for determining the value of automation systems that have been installed. As a result, these systems tend to be regarded as lower in value.
Too often, automation solutions are primarily regarded as replacement solutions for older automation technologies,” Dr. Martin explains. “Firms fail to realize any true business benefit beyond simply reducing maintenance costs. But automation solutions are powerful, value-adding assets that can significantly help move industry forward. That’s why measuring the business value of these solutions is so important.”
Another important topic to be discussed within the track is how changing workforce demographics will affect the automation business in the years ahead, says Dr. Wilkins.
“Baby Boomers are beginning to retire, and they need to work with the next generation of automation professionals--the Millennial Generation—to shape the profession and ensure it is in safe hands,” says Dr. Wilkins. “We have the Boomers who have understood the ins and outs of current processes and systems. And we have the Millennials who are able to use technology in ways that have not yet been fully considered in the automation industry. Both have very different attributes and both are needed for the future of our business.”
ISA Automation Week 2013: Exploring the interrelationships among safety, people, business and technology
Leading automation and control experts, authors, innovators and thought leaders across the globe will come together at ISA Automation Week 2013, 5-7 November 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, to demonstrate how to fully leverage the power and potential of automation solutions.
The conference’s technical program is built on the premise that every automation professional and every automation decision can in some way affect operational results in safety, business, people and technology.
For instance, decisions made and actions taken in one area, such as migrating to a new technology, can sometimes have adverse and unforeseen effects in others, ranging from higher total cost of ownership to concerns over employee training and plant safety.
Program sessions and industry experts at ISA Automation Week 2013 will closely examine the underpinnings and dynamics of these cause-and-effect interactions, and show how taking a more proactive and integrated approach to automation decision-making can lead to more positive and predictable operational results in all areas.
“Industrial plants are complex assets, much like automobiles,” Dr. Martin says. “An automobile is most efficient and cost effective when it is in good repair and tuned up. And it’s also safer and better for the environment when it’s in top condition. Industrial plants are very similar. An efficient, well-managed plant supports the business as well as objectives associated with technology, safety, and the workforce. All these elements should be aligned to create more profitable, safe and environmentally friendly operations.“
Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts conferences and exhibitions for automation professionals.
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