A TRUE STORY OF HOW TO ACHIEVE MORE WITH LESS

The con­cept helps to im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and per­for­mance, while forg­ing con­nec­tions among peo­ple, pro­duc­tion and tech­nolo­gies, says Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion’s chief

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - Q&A WITH CEO - By WU YIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

“Do­ing more with less” is Blake Moret’s buzz-phrase. And, in his book, even in the age of cost-con­scious cor­po­rates cul­ture, “less” need not al­ways mean fewer work­ers or a thin­ner wage bill — and “more” could very well mean more “in­di­rect” jobs.

Moret, Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion’s pres­i­dent and CEO, and a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer by train­ing, is pas­sion­ate about his vi­sion for “Con­nected En­ter­prise”, a con­cept or so­lu­tion he be­lieves can help peo­ple and en­ter­prises to do more with less.

So, he is driv­ing its ac­cel­er­a­tion through in­no­va­tion, lever­ag­ing his in-depth knowl­edge of cus­tomers’ busi­ness needs.

That knowl­edge is his by dint of decades of work­ing with one of the world’s largest i ndus­trial au­to­ma­tion and in­for­ma­tion com­pa­nies by mar­ket value.

Moret has 31 years of broad ex­pe­ri­ence with Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion, a lead­ing provider of in­dus­trial au­to­ma­tion power, con­trol and in­for­ma­tion so­lu­tions for man­u­fac­tur­ers in­clud­ing lead­er­ship roles in mar­ket­ing, so­lu­tions, ser­vices and prod­uct groups. He as­sumed his cur­rent man­age­ment role on July 1 this year.

“Do­ing more with less”, in China’s con­text, is to max­i­mize the ap­pli­ca­tion of the “Con­nected En­ter­prise”, so as to de­liver the fu­ture to­day, he said. The idea is highly re­lated to China’s cam­paign to up­grade the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor through its “Made in China 2025” and “In­ter­net Plus” ini­tia­tives.

Ac­cord­ing to Moret, the Con­nected En­ter­prise so­lu­tion will forge con­nec­tions among peo­ple, pro­duc­tion pro­cesses and tech­nolo­gies through in­for­ma­tion-shar­ing and in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity.

This will, in turn, en­able en­ter­prises to sig­nif­i­cantly im­prove pro­duc­tiv­ity, sus­tain­abil­ity and per­for­mance.

The so­lu­tion, based on syn­er­gized con­trol and in­for­ma­tion struc­ture, of­fers en­ter­prises s marter, safer and more pro­duc­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Dur­ing his fre­quent vis­its to China, Moret is of­ten found i n meet­ing rooms with clients, or at man­u­fac­tur­ing sites, lis­ten­ing to cus­tomers’ l at­est re­quire­ment and needs.

Re­cently, he spoke with China Daily about the com­pany’s strat­egy, busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties and prospects. The fol­low­ing are the edited ex­cerpts from the in­ter­view:

What are the ma­jor changes China’s man­u­fac­tur­ers are fac­ing amid cut­ting over­ca­pac­ity and the ‘Made in China 2025’ cam­paign?

In the past, it was enough just to pro­vide equip­ment that would en­able greater ca­pac­ity or to re­place older equip­ment. But to­day, there must be ad­di­tional val­ues such as faster time-to-mar­ket, lower to­tal cost of own­er­ship, in­creased as­set uti­liza­tion, and bet­ter man­age­ment of en­ter­prise risk.

It’s also im­por­tant to note that rarely does a man­u­fac­turer make the change all at once. So they should have a step-by-step ap­proach and be able to put a foun­da­tion in place that’s fu­ture-proof, so that you can take ad­van­tage of ad­di­tional new tech­nol­ogy in the fu­ture.

Would you please give an ex­am­ple of these ad­di­tional val­ues?

In one ex­am­ple, We have pro­vided ad­di­tional value to a lux­ury au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­turer where again it’s not enough just to be able to pro­vide the means for en­abling ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity, but to be able to en­able their made-to­order process.

In that ex­am­ple, keep­ing with prin­ci­ples of “Made in China 2025”, we have ap­plied in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment soft­ware in con­cert with the ba­sic con­trol equip­ment, to be able to pro­vide a higher level of pro­duc­tiv­ity and de­ci­sion-mak­ing sup­port.

What’s your take on the view that au­to­ma­tion leads to job losses in­stead of cre­at­ing the much-needed new jobs?

In to­day’s world­wide com­pet­i­tive economy, man­u­fac- tur­ers that want to re­main rel­e­vant have to find ways to be­come more pro­duc­tive — there’s no al­ter­na­tive.

To­day, for tra­di­tional man­u­fac­tur­ing, for ev­ery di­rect man­u­fac­tur­ing j ob, there’s es­ti­mated to be an­other half of a job that is re­quired to sup­port that process.

In smart man­u­fac­tur­ing, the mul­ti­plier of ad­di­tional jobs cre­ated is three or four ad­di­tional in­di­rect jobs that sup­port that ba­sic process. So, while there may be some re­duc­tion of the repet­i­tive tra­di­tional la­bor on a fac­tory floor, t he over­all em­ploy­ment for the most com­pet­i­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers will ac­tu­ally go up be­cause of those ad­di­tional in­di­rect jobs, and also be­cause they them­selves will be tak­ing ad­di­tional mar­ket share.

How can au­to­ma­tion so­lu­tions help Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ers to build up their over­seas foot­print?

Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion can pro­vide sev­eral valu­able ser­vices and so­lu­tions in work­ing with these man­u­fac­tur­ers in­vest­ing over­seas, which are fac­ing var­i­ous chal­lenges, i nclud­ing reg­u­la­tion and stan­dards.

For ex­am­ple, in­tro­duc­ing those man­u­fac­tur­ers to our global part­ners, and con­duct­ing as­sess­ments of the readi­ness of the Chi­nese prod­uct in Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions for a given mar­ket, such as safety as­sess­ments to see if a given ma­chin­ery will com­ply with the rel­e­vant coun­try stan­dards.

We can also en­force world­wide stan­dards across mul­ti­ple coun­tries.

Has any Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer ben­e­fited from these so­lu­tions?

One ex­am­ple that I can pro­vide is of a very large Chi­nese tire man­u­fac­turer who wishes to es­tab­lish a plant in the United States.

We were able to work with that man­u­fac­turer to un­der­stand their re­quire­ments, be­cause we’ve worked with them in China to in­tro­duce them to lo­cal sources of value in the state that they were

2016: Pres­i­dent and CEO, Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion

2011-16: Se­nior vi­cepres­i­dent, Con­trol Prod­ucts & So­lu­tions

2007-11: Vice-Pres­i­dent, Cus­tomer Sup­port and Main­te­nance

2005-07: Di­rec­tor, Elec­tronic Op­er­a­tor In­ter­face Busi­ness

2002-05: Busi­ness Man­ager, Medium Volt­age Drives

1985-2002: Joined Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion, held var­i­ous roles. Ed­u­ca­tion: 1985: Bach­e­lor of Science in Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing, the Ge­or­gia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, At­lanta, Ge­or­gia, US. Fam­ily: Mar­ried with four chil­dren Hob­bies: Moun­taineer­ing, hik­ing, ski­ing, cy­cling.

mov­ing to, and also to help ac­quaint them with some re­cent ad­vances in tire-mak­ing in­for­ma­tion sys­tems, that they’ ll ap­ply to their new process.

How does Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties aris­ing from smart man­u­fac­tur­ing in China?

The rise of t he mid­dle class and the de­mand for ad­di­tional con­sumer prod­ucts will drive a lot of our growth.

The whole class of prod­ucts that we re­fer to as “con­sumer prod­ucts” is a very im­por­tant fo­cus area for the com­pany for that very rea­son: for the in­creas­ing num­bers of peo­ple that fit that clas­si­fi­ca­tion, such as au­to­mo­bile buy­ers. Our ca­pa­bil­i­ties for adding in­for­ma­tion man­age­ment sys­tems on top of ba­sic con­trol such as se­ri­al­iza­tion and track-and­trace ca­pa­bil­i­ties will be par­tic­u­larly i mpor­tant in the fu­ture to meet de­mands for flex­i­bil­ity, speed and qual­ity.

We’re work­ing with not just con­sumer-based prod­uct com­pa­nies like food and bev­er­age where we’re re­ally strong like auto and tire, we’re also work­ing with com­pa­nies that make doors for the metro and rail in­dus­try to help them in­te­grate MES (man­u­fac­tur­ing ex­e­cu­tion sys­tems) in their fa­cil­ity.

What’s your client port­fo­lio in the China mar­ket? How do you lo­cal­ize your busi­ness in China?

China is the sec­ond-largest coun­try mar­ket for Rock­well Au­to­ma­tion.

Over the l ast five to 10 years, we’ve tran­si­tioned from where our busi­ness was 30 per­cent do­mes­tic and 70 per­cent multi­na­tion­als, to cur­rent po­si­tion with 70 per­cent of our busi­ness com­ing from do­mes­tic cus­tomers and 30 per­cent from MNCs.

We’ve dou­ble-digit mar­ket share in terms of pro­gram­mable con­trollers. In gen­eral, our mar­ket share po­si­tions are high­est in con­sumer and au­to­mo­tive and tire in­dus­tries.

What are the lat­est re­quire­ments and de­mands you have heard from your clients’ feed­back?

One is to be able to con­tin- ue to i mprove the out­put and the ef­fi­ciency of those machines even af­ter the ini­tial ma­chin­ery is de­liv­ered.

It is a new con­cept to be able to pro­vide up­grades to that equip­ment, to be able to im­prove its ef­fec­tive­ness even af­ter the ini­tial de­liv­ery. And that’s some­thing that we’re help­ing equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers pro­vide to­day.An­other is the abil­ity to re­motely mon­i­tor t hat equip­ment.

So, to be able to re­duce the amount of la­bor that is on the site phys­i­cally, you have to have a deep un­der­stand­ing of the ma­chin­ery. The use of re­mote mon­i­tor­ing tech­niques is be­com­ing im­por­tant in all in­dus­tries that we serve.

What’s your lead­er­ship style? What is your mantra?

It’s re­sults-ori­ented. I like to cre­ate sim­ple plans and as­sem­ble a team of ca­pa­ble, em­pow­ered peo­ple who can ex­e­cute on those plans.

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