Monday, 16 February 2015

"Changing technology tends to be much easier than changing people and processes!" (Martin)

A new book, written by renowned automation expert and innovator Peter G. Martin, Ph.D., reveals how industrial companies can unlock the full power of automation systems to drive higher levels of industrial performance and also help solve many of the world’s most critical challenges.

In his book, The Value of Automation: The Best Investment an Industrial Company Can Make, Dr. Martin contends that the immense capabilities of automation systems are untapped because their true potential value is not adequately measured or recognized.

Dr Peter G. Martin
“Industrial automation systems are underutilized and underappreciated for two critical reasons,” points out Dr. Martin, widely recognized as one of the most influential professionals in automation and control. “First, the value provided by automation systems and solutions in brownfield environments is typically not measured and visible. This means that management does not know whether or not value is generated. Secondly, the business processes associated with capital budgeting are set up to limit the value delivered by automation systems. Both of these barriers to business value must be overcome to get the true potential value from automation.”

Improved business value, he says, is attained by “measuring industrial businesses in real time and in an ongoing manner through real-time accounting. These measures make value visible and are essential for driving appropriate changes into traditional capital budget processes.”

Leveraging automation systems’ real-time control capabilities beyond their traditional role of improving operational efficiency is vital, Dr. Martin insists.

“Expanding the domain of real-time control to include security risk, safety risk, environmental risk, asset performance and profitability will drive much higher levels of industrial performance,” he says. “As this takes place, industrial automation also will be in a much better position to help address and solve some of the most daunting challenges the world faces, such as low-cost globally available energy, clean water, food, clothing and consumer goods. In essence, advanced automation may well be the key to solving world hunger, among the other ‘mega challenges’ before us.”

Dr. Martin acknowledges that changing the ingrained business processes that are inhibiting measurable value generation will not always be quick or simple.

“Changing technology tends to be much easier than changing people and processes,” he says. “Although the prescription presented in this book may appear to be very simple, it can work against the culture of many industrial businesses. As a result, the efforts involved with implementing the suggested approaches should not be underestimated.”

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