No business can afford to operate at a loss. It’s just not sustainable. Rather, one of the central goals of business is to generate profit—ideally to maximize it moment by moment and over long-term time horizons as well.
But too often in process manufacturing facilities, it’s really hard to tell the immediate bottom-line consequences of one’s actions. Financials typically are reported on a monthly basis, and operators are used to controlling temperatures, pressures and feed rates—not the real-time flow of dollars and cents. If only there were a system designed to optimize operational profitability in real time, especially in these times of swift change and disruption.
Enter Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Profit Advisor. Based on Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology, Profit Advisor was created to empower the workforce to drive operational profitability improvements in real time.
Speed of business accelerating
“Disruptive forces of change are everywhere. The speed of business, any business, continues to increase. And technology changes are driving innovations,” explained Tim Shope, director, pre-sales support & consulting, process automation, Schneider Electric, who explained what EcoStruxure Profit Advisor can do for users at the Foxboro User Group Conference this week in San Antonio.
“Industrial, utility and infrastructure operations are changing dramatically,” said Shope. “Profit Advisor is automation that unlocks new business models and significant potential for our end-user and system-integrator customers in four key areas: operations, safety, asset/equipment reliability and profitability. Historically, we as an industry have done a terrible job of proving what financial impact the automation is having.”
Profit Advisor is powered by Schneider Electric, built on the EcoStruxure platform and predicated on effective real-time process, reliability and safety control. “Most importantly, it extends process control to real-time profitability control,” said Shope. “EcoStruxure Plant is a stack of devices. You’ve got Control Advisor taking care of your connected devices for PID loop monitoring. Maintenance Advisor is for monitoring the health of your equipment. And Profit Advisor is on top, helping operators to make profitable decisions in real time.”
Profit Advisor calculates real-time accounting factors from standard process-historian data. The software determines how each action and each asset affect real-time operational profitability—and helps identify potential improvements.
“You’re going to get 1-3% of production value improvements and 3-5% of energy and material cost reductions annually,” explained Shope. “We turn customers’ industrial automation investment into the profit engine of the business. You’re talking three or four months for payback at this kind of rate.”
Enabled by data analytics
In part through Schneider Electric’s partnership with Seeq, a data analytics provider, Profit Advisor calculates the real-time financial performance of industrial operations from the equipment/asset level of a plant up to the process unit, plant area, plant site and enterprise levels. Whether on-premise or cloud-enabled, it works with almost any process historian to mine both historical and real-time data. It then processes that data through Schneider Electric’s proprietary, segment-specific accounting algorithms to determine real-time operational profitability and potential savings.
“Profit Advisor is built on big-data analytics with the Seeq engine,” said Shope. “It works with all major process historians and provides multiple analytical and visualization options, plus the basis for measured business value improvement.”
EcoStruxure Profit Advisor empowers the workforce to help to make better business decisions with easy-to-understand tools that drive operational profitability improvements, safely and sustainably, Schope said. It does this by measuring and controlling real-time profit performance of every plant asset and asset set, applying big-data analytics and patented real-time accounting models to identify potential profitability improvements. Ultimately, it converts control and automation systems into industrial profit engines.