Víctor Fuentes
Sales and Marketing Manager
Mitsubishi Electric Automation
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View from the Top

What You Do Not Measure, You Cannot Control

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 14:01

Q: How does Mitsubishi Electric Automation approach the development of its solutions?

A: We focus on providing technology that combined with other engineering resources can produce solutions. In engineering what you do not measure you cannot control, so we start every project by measuring, visualizing and managing. That allows us to make decisions and introduce changes within the production platform. In other divisions we have solar panels, environmentally friendly air conditioners and distribution and transmission systems for electricity, all with high-energy efficiency

Our business is selling products but we need our clients to think about the quality of our hardware and on the return of their investment. When clients acquire a product from Mitsubishi Electric Automation, they are acquiring technology focused on environmental sustainability. Also, they have security in knowing they have bought an efficient electric consumption product that will last for the long term. I always refer to a simple example of success: a lady that had a tortillería and bought a product from us. Six months after the installation, her electricity bill was 50 percent lower. In a big company this will have a large impact. We do not often update product models because their life span is around 17 years. This is possible because we invest about US$2 billion yearly in R&D. Instead of changing our products every three years or every year, we develop technologies that will be useful for the next 10 years.

Q: Mitsubishi sells to large companies and SMEs. What are the challenges for each regarding energy efficiency?

A: It is the same issue in all of Latin America: we have to produce more and spend less. In Mexico, energy is not the cheapest but it is one of the most stable. Countries like Peru and Colombia have an electric dependence on hydraulic generation. Here, 66 percent is based on fossil fuels, which provides security in the generation of the electric network. Our core business is the manufacturing industry but the advantage of Mistsubishi Electric Automation is that we can serve the highest production levels, which can range from an industrial-sized automobile company to the smallest SME, such as a tortilla shop. Through our simple solution concept, which consists of offering the same state-of-the-art products at more affordable prices, we can put our products in the hands of all industries.

Our slogan is “Global partner, local friend.” We do not provide a complete solution, but the commercial and technical support team we have in Mexico focuses on understanding our clients´ needs. Our contribution is in technology and global experience through our business partners, who we call our system integrators. They develop the application the client needs and we support them and suggest changes.

Q: Is having to pay upfront for this equipment a hurdle for companies seeking efficient solutions?

A: If there is a reduction of 25-35 percent in energy usage and an investment return in two years, then clients will pay. But when the return takes more than two years, the questions begin. A client’s facilities will determine if efficiency can be reached. That is why we have to do measurements. Our concept always is to first measure what you have.

In Mexico, people do not know how efficient their electric supply is. This is not just measured in production but also through other factors like number of shutdowns. Users do not know how much they spend. We offer them highprecision measurement devices for which they would not spend more than US$1,000. With these mechanisms our clients can start getting the facts and detect which lines are consuming more and why. The result may show there are electro-mechanical problems and from there you have an initial point to correct. There are industries that want to take it to the next level and they use this data to create periodic reports. The most difficult part is breaking the cultural barrier, helping Mexican go past the “this is how I have always done it” mindset.