While Rockwell Automation continues to offer industry-leading hardware, software and services to the industrial marketplace, that portfolio is increasingly merely shaped not by the vision of The Connected Enterprise, but by the efficient and scalable delivery of specific, measurable outcomes to its global customer base.
Indeed, the themes of application specificity, easy implementation, ready scalability and speedy time-to-value underscored Rockwell Automation President and CEO Blake Moret’s opening keynote address to a record 2,200 delegates assembled in Orlando this week for the company’s 20th anniversary Rockwell Automaton TechED event.
Among the recent outcomes claimed on behalf of Rockwell Automation customers: the elimination of 2,500 hours of manual data collection at Agropur Dairy Cooperative, the real-time management of more than 2 million product variations at Ford, and a 20-fold increase in production data accessibility at BHP Billiton.
“Our focus is not just on potential but on outcomes,” Moret said. “It’s the combination of technology and depth of applications expertise that brings The Connected Enterprise to life.”
Since taking the role of CEO just over a year ago, Moret has seen Rockwell Automation benefit from strong tailwinds in the global economy. And despite some challenges, he believes the company is well positioned to grow in the years to come.
Among the favorable market drivers is the continued growth of the middle class in emerging markets around the world. Beyond essential infrastructure spending on clean water and power, “More people than ever are looking for choices in food, in automobiles, in life sciences and other consumer-facing industries where Rockwell Automation is particularly strong,” Moret said.
The aging industrial workforce—and widening skills gap—remains a challenge, as does the organizational disruption brought about by the accelerating convergence of operational and information technologies. Despite these potential stumbling blocks, a broad range of government initiatives around smart manufacturing and the Industrial Internet of Things attest to the continued importance of manufacturing around the world.
And as Rockwell Automation seeks to help its customers realize tangible outcomes enabled by digital transformation, it must acknowledge that its customers are at varying levels of digital maturity and often have older, legacy equipment they must bring forward.
“Security is their first and last question; we must bring them defense-in-depth strategies,” Moret said. “We can’t bring The Connected Enterprise to life unless we can address specific opportunities to save time and money.”
In conclusion, Moret recommended that TechED attendees consider a five-step, incremental process to advance their digital transformation journeys. “First, understand your main opportunities: where are you losing money? Only then can you identify the best opportunities.”
Second, he recommended getting an outside perspective, even if it’s from within one’s own broader organization. The third steps is to assemble the team, according to Moret.
“Assembling the right team, which often spans multiple functions, is absolutely essential, yet often overlooked—especially when it comes to project management.”
Next, implement a pilot program to demonstrate the benefits.
Finally, step back and adjust, and only then look to scale across the enterprise.