Regardless of sector, industries everywhere experienced a major reset as the global economy suffered one of the worst recessions in terms of scope and severity. Fortunately, recent economic indicators point to a recovery, albeit a slow and jittery one.Companies that have survived the downturn need to act early to place themselves in the best position possible to capture the growth that this recovery will bring. I see companies that are willing to invest in people, technology, safety and service as the potential winners in this reviving market.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but we at Emerson continued to invest over the last couple years while the market weakened. As a result of this investment, we have the expertise, products and solutions to help our customers maximize their growth and profitability.
Take the issue of diagnostics as an example. Proper diagnostics—integrated from control systems to field devices on through to final control elements—are critical to optimizing process efficiencies and safety. Furthermore, diagnostics will help companies that are now running with a leaner or a less-experienced workforce to better operate their plants and processes.
In Emerson's PlantWeb™ integrated digital plant architecture, today's process plants have a proven concept that delivers results. With WirelessHART standard in place, it is both easier and more economical to take plant diagnostics to a new level. End-users can now take full advantage of PlantWeb's many wireless devices, including wireless adaptors, wireless pressure and temperature transmitters, wireless vibration monitors, wireless valve-position monitors and more.
Safety is another critical factor for business success in the process industry. As process safety often has direct consequences on personnel and the environment, it is of paramount importance to Emerson. Natural resources are under increased demand as global demand continues to grow. Oil and gas companies are drilling deeper these days. Power and process plants have scaled up. Operating conditions are more demanding than ever. Clearly, while we need new products and technologies to answer these macro trends, we also need the ability to test and prove out new technologies and products under real operating conditions to ensure safe and sound operations. To that end, Emerson recently opened our new $30 million Emerson Innovation Center, in Marshalltown, IA. It's capable of high-capacity testing with flow lines to 36", complete with performance diagnostics, interoperability and other support labs to ensure that products work as designed and reliably.
We can do all of the above correctly—and plants can take advantage of it—but without proper and regular maintenance service in these plants by qualified personnel, even the best-manufactured assets will age and deteriorate. The inevitable results are reduced returns on initial investments on one hand, and greater potential for safety-related incidents on the other. Here again, Emerson is offering a practical, value-added solution: Every day, our well-trained, certified service technicians are helping end-users unlock the potential of the equipment installed throughout their facilities, and proactively identify optimization and maintenance issues that must be addressed in order to ensure the sustainability of their operations. MT