Becoming a trusted advisor
09 November 2015
Slawomir Suchomski, vice president, Europe, Solutions and Lifecycle Services at Emerson Process Management, comments on how the company is meeting changing customer requirements for the provision of services.
Process plants need to be able to adapt to fast changing markets, cope with tough economic challenges such as fluctuating energy prices, while continuously improving productivity and profitability. As a result plants have become ever more complex, which is especially problematic when skilled personnel are being lost within the industry. Because of this, plant operators are now looking for greater support from automation vendors to help solve a range of problems.
A decade ago, customers would only require suppliers to provide them with products and perhaps some aftercare services. Today they are turning to vendors to solve a range of issues relating to plant safety, energy efficiency, reliability and productivity. Emerson is increasingly able to combine its product portfolio with a broad range of services to help customers meet these issues and it aims to be the customer’s trusted advisor by being able to solve the challenges they face with a complete solution.
Take, for example, the issue of plant reliability and specifically the developments the company has made surrounding turnarounds. These regular events are organised to address, among other things, plant reliability. These turnarounds are facing an increasing amount of pressure to be faster, within budget and less frequent. This means that scope determination, as well as control, is very important. Emerson supports its customers with specific diagnostics-based services to better decide what needs to be included in the scope (and what not). This, in turn, helps to control both scope and risk during the execution of the turnaround.
Essential Asset Monitoring solutions is another new approach to problem solving. Here, instead of simply supplying instrumentation, Emerson designs and sets up complete health monitoring solutions for pumps, compressors, heat exchangers and other assets that leads to significant reliability and profitability gains.
Energy use is another important area for plant operators. Cost pressures as well as the European Energy Directive are driving the need to reduce plant energy inefficiencies. To meet these requirements Emerson is now being asked to help by performing energy audits, delivering energy stream measurements and steam integrity solutions as well as providing Energy Management Systems and Boiler and Burner Management Optimization.
Supporting its aim to be a trusted advisor, Emerson is operating as close to its customer plants as possible, which allows it to offer advice from industry experts and consultants, and simplifies all necessary steps a customer would need to make to do business with the company.
Being close to the customer and improving ‘customer proximity’ is also about ensuring that Emerson understands what the customers’ values and critical priorities are. The company continues to invest heavily in its service organisation. An example of this is the opening of a number of new service centres over the last few years which allow Emerson to perform faster repairs, quick shipping of inventory, training and calibration.
We have also added a lot of new engineers in close proximity to the customers’ production sites to provide these services. In addition, Emerson industry experts and consultants are trained to talk the same language as customers. This means working closely with the customer to understand their specific issues and identifying the right solution – this could be a single instrument or a whole package of products, different work practices and technical support services.
Our focus is also on perfect execution. Emerson has business and supply chain processes in place in order to match all customer and industry needs. We continue to make investments in Europe with regards to additional production capacity, on the basis that the closer we produce to our customers, the quicker we can deliver the solutions they need.
Customers no longer want to be `sold products’, they require much more from their automation vendors. By offering expert advice, complete solutions and a range of support services that help solve their toughest problems, we know that we will meet our customers’ expectations and they will see and treat us as a trusted advisor.
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