At the 2017 Emerson Global Users Exchange in Minneapolis, held Oct. 2–6, it was clear what Emerson wanted attendees to know: The company wants to help its customers be top-quartile performers. As I learned through sessions, keynotes, networking, the exhibit floor and a tour through the company’s new Rosemount facility, Emerson certainly offers the right breadth of technologies to achieve its goal with the right amount of customer buy-in. Below are my top takeaways from the event.
- People are important — According to Mike Train, Emerson Automation Solutions executive president, sixty-five percent of projects over $1 billion fail. The secret to being a top-quartile performer is personnel. In the opening session, Train discussed how the efficiency era (leadership by cutting costs) is over. The more profitable a company is, the more it can invest. When companies invest in their employees by enriching their careers and helping them contribute, they are on their way to top-quartile performance.
- Digital transformation — At a press conference, Emerson Chief Technology Officer Peter Zornio said, "You can’t efficiency your way to top-quartile performance." Embracing digital transformation is essential to reaching the top. Zornio explained the five essential competencies of digital transformation: automated workflow, decision support, workforce upskilling, mobility and change management.
- Rosemount facility tour — One of the most eye-opening parts of the event was a guided tour of Emerson’s new Rosemount facility in Shakopee, Minnesota. My group was led around the floor to observe how the company implements efficient practices in its operations. Employees worked to fill orders accurately and quickly in an environment that Emerson has worked to make employee-friendly. The company designed the facility to be smart about space and cut lead time safely. Part of the tour included a stop by the Interactive Plant Environment immersive training facility, which houses classroom space and real equipment for students to learn how Emerson products work in a plant.
- Skilled trades — While in Minneapolis, I heard a lot of talk about the workforce, skills gap and how to elevate education to attract more young people to the industry. Stan Shoun, president of Ranken Technical College, said the No. 1 thing the industry asks for is work ethic. His institution seeks to foster this in addition to work-based learning. They have middle school programs to promote skills early. To invest in skilled trades, Emerson partners with institutions like Ranken.
To learn more about Emerson Exchange, visit emersonexchange.org. The 2018 event will be held in San Antonio, Texas, Oct. 1–5, 2018.