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Creating the Digital Factory: Emerson Offers Help with the How

Emerson’s Operations Consulting Group will combine the company’s expertise in its own products such as wireless sensors and Internet of Things applications with its experience implementing new technologies in facilities.

With many manufacturers unclear about how to implement digital production technologies, Emerson has launched a consulting service designed to help them develop a roadmap for digital investment and successfully implement the change management needed to realize the benefits of the new technology and operational practices.

Emerson’s Operations Consulting Group will combine the company’s expertise in its own products such as wireless sensors and Internet of Things applications with its experience implementing new technologies in facilities. The company announced the new group October 3 at its Emerson Exchange event in Minneapolis.

Emerson officials say smart technologies allow companies to obtain real-time information not just on production processes but to improve performance parameters such as safety, energy consumption and emissions.

“We have quantified the opportunity in each industry and it is Emerson’s mission to help customers target these losses with scalable plans to recover what some call ‘dead money’ in their plants,” said Thomas Waun, general manager for the new consulting arm of Emerson Automation Solutions.

Emerson drew on research conducted with IndustryWeek in assessing the issues with IIoT implementation. In a survey of manufacturing executives, 60% reported having IoT pilot projects under way but only 5% had a clear business case justification. Respondents said barriers to progress included: company culture (47%), lack of a clear business case (41%), and a lack of clarity on which technology path to take (34%).

The consulting group will have more than 100 industry consultants who will help manufacturers. Emerson said they will be supported by more than 5,000 project and applications engineers.

At the Emerson Exchange event, company leaders said the era of operational gains from efficiency programs was drawing to a close as these programs are offering diminishing returns. Automation, Waun asserts, offers “the highest impact lever to both accelerate and sustain behavior change and deliver results.”

Emerson officials say their deep industry expertise will give them a leg up on existing management consulting firms. They claim such firms “lack the specialization and resources for end-to-end execution required to fully realize a successful digital transformation, frequently providing guidance without the ability to deliver.”

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