Emerson Exchange, Day One

Jan. 1, 2000

"Lots to see," said Emerson CSO Peter Zornio, as he guided us deftly into the Technology Zone.

Emerson Exchange gets bigger and more bewildering every year. It is not possible for a single individual to sit in on all the workshops and paper sessions anymore. If you're coming, bring a team. That's the best solution.

The day started with Steve Sonnenberg, Emerson Process Management President, and his message of wanting to be his customers' trusted advisor, with the emphasis on the word "trusted." Emerson has done studies and figured out that while they are good at a lot of things, like sensor design, valve design, and software engineering, they aren't so good at delivery, customer support and other essential skills. Sonnenberg aims to make that right, and aims for "perfect execution." 

Then Peter Zornio, Emerson's Chief Strategic Officer, did his patented deep technology dive, and surfaced in the same place that the book that Peter Martin (of Invensys) and I are writing. You can read about the book in the October issue of Control. But Zornio and Emerson have come to the same conclusions that Martin and I (and to be fair, a number of others) have. The next step change in efficiency and productivity in manufacturing is going to come from controlling the plant with the business case. 

Zornio and I had a short discussion of this, and I said, "What we are saying in the book is that the business variables should form the primary control loop, with the sensors and final elements serving as nested compound and cascade loops." He said, "Well, that's the way it needs to work, and is supposed to work."

So I think we'll start seeing a lot more of this. Zornio said that the operator of the future would be a business process operator, not a plant process operator. He couldn't be more right.

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