Notes from the Opening General Session of the 2006 Invensys Customer Conference
Ginny Brunell, President of Invensys Process Systems North America, and one of the highest ranking women in automation, introduced the beginning of the Invensys Customer Conference, bringing together four user groups, Foxboro, Avantis, SimSci Esscor, and Triconex. Enjoying the
reversal from the usual, she noted that the several hundred male attendees would be using one restroom, while she would be with the fewer than fifty female attendees in the other one. Because
of how weird the Hilton Anatole is, she was forced through one of the most confusing safety notes I’ve heard recently– most assuredly not her fault. This is a very weird hotel.
Then she introduced Ken Brown, acting President of IPS global.
Acting Invensys Process Systems President Ken Brown, or “KB” as all his troops refer to him, talked about what Invensys has done over the past couple of years as he led off the General Session for the 2006 Invensys Customer Conference. “We’ve created a unified company with a single strategic direction, strong financial performance, and the first Enterprise Control System, InFusion.”
“It is critical to us,” he said, “to have the customer interaction we’ll get at this event.”
He discussed the strategic direction of the company, toward performance services, new technologies, and advanced applications. “It is about integrating our portfolio of companies and products and leveraging them for our customers’ benefit,” he said. “We know,” he continued, “what challenges our customers are facing: the need to maximize economic value from assets, to move from re-active to pro-active operations, balancing availability with utilization, managing risk, managing complexity, and above all, managing the continued and relentless pressure to reduce costs.”
“We have therefore become the Asset Performance Management company,” he declared. “All of our core products support APM, not just the brands, but the services that tie on and work with each brand. Those Performance Services include base asset management, asset set optimization, business performance management and operations performance management.”
“So we needed to produce a way to tie all those brands, all those products, all those services together, and we created the world’s first Enterprise Control System, InFusion.”
Invensys’ vice president of performance measurement and management, Dr. Peter Martin, then took the stage to carry on the discussion of Invensys’ vision of the future of automation. He described a long-term study Invensys performed with over 400 companies and CEOs. The most interesting thing they discovered was the reason that ROI for automation and integration projects is usually seen, at the C-level at least, to not exist. CFOs don’t do real time business metrics, and so the value of lifecycle benefit just isn’t seen, Martin said. The result was Invensys’ development with Harvard University of “Real Time Accounting.” This makes the value visible.
“And, if you will note, the model here looks a whole lot like a control loop. A cascade control loop. A triple cascade loop, in fact. We need to recognize that we need to match the dynamics of business, not just the dynamics of the process,” Martin said.
This also explains the traditional plant conflict between operations and maintenance: operations maximizes utilization, while maintenance maximizes availability…”and asset value is an inverse function between utilization and availability.”
“Once a company is looking at the economic value vector, this becomes the business control vector and we can control to it. This is Asset Performance Management,” Martin declared.
And in order to perform Asset Performance Management, you need a framework through which all the disparate pieces of information and applications can interoperate: an Enterprise Control System.
“And that’s InFusion. That’s the Invensys value proposition: asset performance being driven by the power of InFusion,” Martin concluded.
Martin then introduced a real live end user! John Snodgrass, of Chemtura, for what Snodgrass called “a journey in search of operational excellence.”
Snodgrass noted that Chemtura is a resultant company made up of mergers of companies like Witco, Crompton and Knowles, Uniroyal Chemical, and Great Lakes Chemical Co., and as such has disparate systems both for control and operations. They’ve endured initiative after initiative after initiative, the “death by initiative” Peter Martin’s CEO study reported.
Snodgrass found that their ERP system, which is supposed to control everything is used for only reporting of the final numbers. “Everyone has their own deskdrawer private systems,” he said, “and they hand enter the results into the ERP system.”
Control systems are on islands in the plant. “We don’t feed back business information into the control systems, even though we get data from them for the business systems,” Snodgrass reported. “We have more metrics than we know what to do with.”
So, Chemtura’s goal is to take the people outside the reporting architecture. The expected benefits were a 5-10% reduction in manhours, about a 1% reduction in operating costs, increased manufacturing agility, and improved customer satisfaction, however that was to be measured.
What actually happened was a 20% increase in productivity, while they were making it 4% cheaper.
Snodgrass noted that the curve he was showing didn’t sustain that huge increase. Why? “We found a new opportunity for a different market, and our productivity was used to allow us to compete in two markets not just one. We know it works.”
So, in order to make it work, Chemtura needs interoperability. “We need to share information in real time,” he said, “System status and data validity checks need to occur automatically, and critical decisions need to have the flexibility to be verified by human touch. One interface for configuration and one for operations is necessary, but they both must have a common look and feel.” He goes on, “Whatever systems we use, they must provide measurable business value from the beginning.”
“There are no technological problems in meeting today’s demands,” he said. “Full utilization of any system requires human acceptance. The culture has to accept the system, and paradigmatic shift may likely be only the first hurdle.”