Yokogawa boosts integrator program

Oct. 1, 2003
After strengthening its foothold in the U.S. process control systems market, the Systems Business Unit of Yokogawa Corp. of America has launched an enhanced North American system integrator program to better reflect and support its growing market position.

Compared to a limited program that included about eight U.S. system integrators in the past, Yokogawa (www.yokogawa.com) now lists 15 authorized North American system integrators, with additional integrators under evaluation, says Bruce Jensen, manager of systems marketing and sales support at the Stafford, Texas-based unit.

The program reflects recent growth in the company’s North American business. “Over the past two to three years, we’ve made quite a breakthrough in terms of Yokogawa’s presence in critical control applications with some major U.S. customers,” says Arif Mustafa, systems integrator program manager. Among examples, he cites a recently signed deal for Shell Chemical’s Norco, La., complex, as well as an earlier global sole-source supplier contract with ChevronTexaco.

The gains have brought Yokogawa from a less than 1 percent share of the U.S. distributed control systems market three years ago to perhaps a 2 percent to 3 percent share today, Mustafa estimates. And the company’s U.S. business is now “growing rapidly,” he adds.

In the past, Yokogawa used system integrators primarily to augment its internal automation staff to provide basic services when needed on projects, Mustafa says. “But now, the dimensions have changed, and we’re taking a more proactive approach to working with integrators” he says.

The unit sees broader use of integrators as a way to not only provide continued support for its large U.S. customers, but also as a way to gain additional market share, in part by providing additional services beyond Yokogawa’s traditional offerings. “Integrators can play a big role in helping to promote some of our solutions to the market, especially when it comes to ERP (enterprise resources planning) integration, and the inclusion of IT (information technology) considerations into a process control environment,” Mustafa comments.

The enhanced integrator program is based on a three-tiered structure, including first level integrators that can supply basic augmentation services, as in the past, as well as a set of mid-tier companies that can do “basic system configuration work,” says Mustafa. Top-tier, large scale integrators will be able to provide extensive, project-level engineering and integration services.

Yokogawa intends to be “very selective” in signing up additional integrators for the program, Mustafa notes. Among other factors, the company will be looking closely at integrator capabilities, as well as geographical location of candidate companies. “Integrators can provide a very essential role in what might be called local support,” Mustafa observes.

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