ASK THE EXPERT
Anthony Pickering is a Schneider Electric engineer qualified in both Mechanical & Electrical Engineering, with strong international management experience holding board senior management positions within some of the biggest names in the Drives and Automation Industry. He is heavily involved in channel engagement and the creation of channel brands and has undertaken a number of international change management activities and business evolutions.
Q: Is it worth investing in energy efficiency in the industry sector?
A: Yes! Energy efficiency delivers savings in areas that aren’t top of mind to financial decision-makers. While for a maintenance engineer, a new variable speed drive on a motor can clearly provide OpEx savings, a financial C-level executive may not have the visibility to identify motor improvement as a cost savings source. Therefore, a little hand-holding by engineers may be required to get buy-in from financial decision-makers and get on the fast track to savings.
Q: How is the supplier-end user relationship changing?
A: In the current market, maintaining and upgrading equipment is weighted to suppliers rather than end users by a ratio of 80/20. The market shifted when the number of specialists left the marketplace and were replaced with engineering generalists. Now, end users expect feature-proofing and lean on their suppliers’ expertise to receive best-in-class, all-encompassing solutions. For example, a supplier’s service can help improve plant availability and save OpEx costs for their end users. Today, OpEx for end users has shifted from buying products to buying services, and as a result, 30 percent of the manufacturing business will consist of services in the coming years according to Frost & Sullivan.
Q: Which technology will transform the industry?
A: It boils down to good provider, good services, and good parts. With technology, it’s all market-driven. New demand expectations include communication across long distances via devices and upfront life cycle services. Web services and remote diagnostics point the way forward for suppliers to optimize their end users’ operations, from anywhere. Schneider Electric™ is already doing this, especially at the high-end level because our products are designed to communicate remotely. Imagine being able to fix a device from anywhere in the world. That’s the future, and it’s already here.