Vernon Murray
Vice President and Director General
Emerson
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View from the Top

Translating Global Expertise in Automation

Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:50

Q: What are the main tendencies that Emerson is observing in the industry that will define its future technological portfolio?

A: For a long time, automation has been primarily focusing on the control of different processes, so basic parameters of process control were the key area in which Emerson’s solutions have been focusing. Currently, the company is starting to see applications for different areas that were traditionally not considered, like safety. Regarding automation, safety has been a taboo as any failure in this area can lead to fatal consequences, and as a result, plant managers have been reluctant to try new products such as wireless signaling. However, those parameters are now becoming less stringent and we are starting to see more automation solutions for safety applications, from firing gas to emergency shutdown systems.

The second trend that Emerson has identified in the industry is energy management solutions. It is not surprising that energy management is trending in the industry considering that energy accounts for a high share of the expenditures in a petrochemical or any other similar facility. Consequently, this is one of the main applications that are leading the way for our instrumentation and control systems portfolio. Finally, the last area that is gaining importance in the industry is environmental management, which includes tank levels monitoring and water quality control.

Q: What are you doing today to prepare your employees for the upcoming changes that the Energy Reform will bring to the Mexican market?

A: PEMEX has been one of our most loyal customers. The parastatal has been one of the strongest participants at the Emerson Exchange Event, where our customers explain how they implement our solutions in their respective fields. This close relationship has allowed us to learn about the needs and activities of PEMEX. However, it is important to keep in mind that Emerson is a global company that already has experience in collaborating with international companies such as Exxon, Shell, and Petrobras. Moreover, Emerson works with multicultural and multidisciplinary teams, meaning that the employees who execute projects for PEMEX today are not necessarily all located in Mexico. For example, the Emerson team working in the Etileno XXI project for Braskem Idesa in Coatzacoalcos is comprised of staff from Costa Rica, India, and the US, among other countries. In this way, Emerson brings the global experience of operating a US$22 billion company into the Mexican market, as well as the best practices from the different players that have collaborated with us. Additionally, we have observed that there is an interesting mix of Mexican and international consortia being formed to take advantage of the Energy Reform. We have identified that most of these consortia have employees that were previously working for PEMEX or for international companies that have collaborated with us in the past. We are proud to offer the same global standard of experience to customers in environments as diverse as Angola, Iraq, and Mexico.

Q: What role do your partners and distributors play in providing the service that you want to deliver?

A: We are proud of the network that the company has built in Mexico over the past 60 years. Currently, we have more than 20 local business partners (LBP), and Emerson works with the LBPs in developing their capabilities from a technical, engineering, and training standpoint, and offers them certifications to encourage the companies to stay updated. A great example is the Fisher certification for authorized service providers, and every year the certified companies undergo an audit and a re-engineering training session to maintain the high standards required to hold the certification as an authorized service provider for Emerson’s process management. The LBP network is extremely important for the company, and it will continue to have a prominent role in the future, as these are the people that help us to execute projects, whether it is a refinery reconfiguration or the rehabilitation of an offshore platform. Moreover, the LBPs have been highly exposed to PEMEX’s way of doing business, and that local expertise added to Emerson’s international experience makes us confident of our success in this market.