The Invensys Process Systems (IPS) Client Conference kicked off in Dallas with the threat of Hurricane Ike looming in the Gulf on Sept. 8. IPS President and Chief Executive Officer Paulett Eberhart started things off with an upbeat keynote about the state of the company and the expansion of the company’s support and service area. While consulting and services are important for the company’s growth, Eberthart said, she stressed in a conversation with Automation World, that “I know where the Crown Jewels are”—that is, products.
One focus of Eberhart’s 18-month tenure thus far has been to bring the various parts of the company assembled by Invensys together into a cohesive unit. Among other things, she has established a client executive position for larger customers whose role is to coordinate efforts of the company’s different product lines. When Eberhart took over the job, customers were complaining that sales people from each of the divisions—Avantis, Foxboro, SimSci Esscor and Triconex—independently visited them with no coordination and often with conflicting messages. Under Eberhart, sales force realignment is well under way.
A new IPS global marketing team has been assembled in the new corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. New Vice President of Global Marketing Lauri Crawford has a background in consumer marketing and brand management—an interesting choice for the automation industry. Her keynote emphasized the IPS branding and the product line brands it encompasses—the four mentioned above plus the company’s InFusion enterprise control system platform.
IPS Vice President Peter Martin told Automation World that engineers need to pay more attention to their impacts on their companies so that they can inform senior management of the important roles that engineers and manufacturing have in the enterprise. "We impact only five things," Martin said. "We can increase production, and reduce energy and feedstock costs, while maintaining safety and environmental integrity. The usual curves people draw show costs of these things declining over the lifetime of the asset, and a benefit curve somewhere above. Actually, the benefits are usually 100 or 1,000 times greater than the curve shows."
Martin’s point is that engineers spend too much time calculating costs in relation to time spent defining and calculating benefits. More time should be devoted to the latter, he said. As if to exemplify Martin’s remarks, some Shell engineers reported during a real-time optimization session later on how they researched a cat cracker problem, and in the end, showed a net of $14 million in contribution margin improvements because of the decisions based on optimization.
An IPS consulting group was formed in September 2007. The organization integrates consulting talent from IPS brands to help clients make improvements in the following areas: enterprise performance, including identification of strategic business metrics and implementation of operational intelligence solutions; operations performance, including operator and engineering effectiveness; and asset performance, including maintenance effectiveness and critical equipment and instrument management.
Some of the IPS Consulting projects currently underway include:
• A real-time finance and business intelligence solution that is already helping Sasol achieve significant savings in energy costs at its synthetic fuels plant in Johannesburg, South Africa
• A consulting site assessment for a wireless process alarm and plant condition monitoring system, which will enhance plant safety, improve utilization of manpower and increase productivity for the Arkema Group’s facility in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
• Implementation of advanced process control that is improving throughput, product quality and consistency, as well as minimizing process variability, for Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, based in Santiago, Chile
• Implementation of an operator training simulator, including a solution for distributed control systems and safety system simulation, that will improve operational efficiency for the BASF FINA Petrochemicals LP olefins plant in Port Arthur, Texas
• Implementation of a real-time cyber security management solution that will prevent, monitor or mitigate potential cyber threats to Husky Energy's upgrader plant in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Invensys Process Systems