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Yokogawa Is Serious! Watch Out Emerson!

Feb. 22, 2006
Yokogawa CEO Uchida Re-Issues Challenge At last year's ARC Forum, Yokogawa's charismatic leader, Isao Uchida, announced that it was his company's intention to become the number one automation vendor in the world, by 2010. Necessarily, this would mean displacing Emerson Process Management, who is the undisputed holder of the current crown. Further, it would mean outcompeting the other companies, ABB, Invensys, Rockwell Automation, and Siemens, who have a shot at the champ also. For the pas...
Yokogawa CEO Uchida Re-Issues Challenge At last year's ARC Forum, Yokogawa's charismatic leader, Isao Uchida, announced that it was his company's intention to become the number one automation vendor in the world, by 2010. Necessarily, this would mean displacing Emerson Process Management, who is the undisputed holder of the current crown. Further, it would mean outcompeting the other companies, ABB, Invensys, Rockwell Automation, and Siemens, who have a shot at the champ also. For the past year, many commentators and competitors have derided Uchida's goal as unrealistic and full of hype. So at this year's Forum, Uchida made the announcement again, and still more pointedly. "I see," he said, "that our competitors have joined us tonight. We are glad you are here. Please enjoy yourselves, have a drink." Dryly, he added, "But don't eat the food." He noted, among other direct shots at Emerson, that Yokogawa's SIS offering had passed TUV certification before the date he said it would, on its first try. "Unlike our competitors' offering," he noted helpfully, referring to the extremely long delay between the announcement of the Emerson integrated PlantWeb SIS product and its approval. Uchida also announced the establishment of a sophisticated photonics development project, and said, in what appeared to be a deliberate jab at Berra's wireless product announcement, "I believe that the future of plant communications belongs to fiber, not wireless." He announced the establishment of a partnership alliance, like Honeywell's PKS Advantage program (of which Yokogawa is a member) and the Rockwell Encompass Program. The first partners were valve companies, especially noting Flowserve. He also noted that it is not his intention to be number one everywhere. "We don't need to be number one everywhere to be number one globally," he said. "We are already number one in Japan, in China, in Korea, in Singapore, in India, and making great strides toward first place status in the Middle East." "We don't need to be number one in the United States," he deadpanned. "That would not be polite." A senior competitor, speaking anonymously after Uchida's speech, said, "Well if he is going to catch Emerson, he is going to have to buy a valve company."
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