You took over as the MD of Invensys India during a very challenging phase of the world economy when the recession was knocking on the doors. How has been your experience till date in spearheading the entire operations of Invensys in India?The world was reeling under one of the severest economic downturns in history when I took over as MD of Invensys India. Global economic troubles continued well into 2009, but we now see silver linings in the Indian economy, which managed to weather the downturn with remarkable resilience and success. Prudent macroeconomic management saw us through. It has been a real good time to look into inefficiencies and costs in the system, and eliminate/manage these tightly, while trying to maintain the bottom-line. During this period, we also focused on providing the best-in-class services to our valued customers, thereby strengthening our relationships and laying the foundation for future business prospects. With a strong presence in core sectors of the economy, Invensys is well positioned to tap the growth of the Indian economy. With GDP growth rates slated to be in the range of 6 to 8 per cent over the next couple of years, the future looks bright for India and Invensys.
Invensys is a significant player in automation, control, performance and optimisation of core process industries. What is your approach to enhance its market position in the current scenario?
We continue to stay customer focused, invest in the country from a technology and people perspective to ensure that we create and deliver value-addition to our customers’ businesses. We have strengthened our services focus with appropriate investments. We have enhanced our infrastructure and facilities to better serve our customers. We have further automated our systems and processes, to render a better quality of order servicing and project management. Invensys is the first process automation company with a unique integrated portfolio of trusted and proven technology solutions dedicated to enabling global businesses to continuously and immediately improve performance at every level of the value chain – be it oil, gas, power, or other process industries. We want to be a driver of positive change, collaborating with our clients to help them meet increasing challenges they face like cost of growing their complex manufacturing plants on a global scale, and continually upgrade manufacturing or production infrastructure.
Can you give us more details on the recent merging operations of Eurotherm, Wonderware and Invensys? How is the group positioning itself now?
Invensys Operations Management has a unique positioning in the marketplace with the combined strengths and offerings from Invensys Process Systems, Eurotherm and Wonderware, all strong brands in their own right. With this consolidation, we are securing a strong position in the market to tap the integration requirements of process industry customers. This also allows offering end-to-end solutions to our customers. This strategy is able to offer a unique and differentiated value proposition to the customers.
IPS recently opened its largest facility in China. Do you have similar plans for India in near future?
Yes, we do have and are implementing it phase-wise. We will soon have new facilities in Chennai, Kolkata, Jamnagar and Mumbai. With expanded infrastructure and establishing new facilities where our customers are, we believe we will strengthen our market position in India.
What are the potential growth opportunities in India?
The key industries wherein growth is slated are power – both fossil and nuclear, oil & gas – both upstream and downstream, specialty chemicals, metal & mining and pharmaceuticals. India’s growing economy demands continuous investment in power generation be it fossil, renewable, or nuclear power. Major gas discoveries by domestic explorers provide scope to limit the import dependency and increase the number of gas-fired power stations. Thermal power generation will continue to dominate. Although gas will gain market share at the expense of oil, coal will hold its ground as fuel supply. Some greater long-term gas potential exists through recent discoveries. Over the longer term, expansion of the oil refining system is still needed. The downstream oil market needs to see continued high spending in new crude distillation capacity, improved plant upgrading capability and better storage and distribution logistics.
Brief us on IPS’ Immersive Virtual Reality Process (IVRP) technology. How is the potential in India?
Immersive Virtual Reality Process technology is a next-generation human machine interface (HMI) solution that will revolutionise the way engineers and operator trainees see and interact with the plant and the processes they control. IVRP will deliver a wide range of client benefits that will help improve plant safety and security, ensure environmental and regulatory accountability, and increase production and efficiency while controlling feedstock and material costs. Energy, chemical, oil and gas, and other vital process industries will also be able to apply the technology to meet the knowledge-management, training and retention challenges they encounter in the face of an aging and dwindling industry workforce. IVRP can create a three-dimensional computer-generated representation of either a real or proposed process plant.
There has been a lot of buzz about wireless devices in industrial environment. How do you see the adoption of wireless in industries, especially in India?
Thanks to standards and innovation, wireless technologies offer a compelling mix of cost and performance that will promote adoption in various areas of the enterprise. In order to move beyond experimentation, toward a future where wireless could be used in control applications, there must be an overarching framework to accommodate and apply multiple wireless technologies. Making the most effective use of any of the wireless technologies requires resource planning, performance management, and a common wireless systems management platform. The consequences of unmanaged wireless proliferation are already becoming evident in India. Anxious to capitalise on the growing interest in wireless networks, vendors are quickly adding wireless products to their portfolio by replacing wires with transceivers. End users are buying these ‘point solutions’ and, most often, are initially enjoying immediate success. When the first wireless solution from one vendor works well, they buy a different wireless point solution from a different vendor and hope to enjoy the same success. But as this scenario plays out in different departments and in different company locations, the joys of wireless freedom begin to fade. Users may begin experiencing increased interference on the links. Transmission may be interrupted. There may be availability problems, data loss and performance degradation. These are the symptoms of a wireless infrastructure that has evolved in an ad hoc fashion. The technology that potentially offers a way to improve productivity, and efficiency as well as cut costs, can also add uncertainty, cost and vulnerability if it is not implemented with a focus on systems management. Where enterprise-level management has been considered good practice for wired networks, it is increasingly becoming critical for the operation of wireless networks. The key is managing the point solutions.
What is your outlook on the current power situation in India? What are your recommendations on improving the current demand-supply scenario?
The government of India has been working hard to increase the supply of power in the country. The most common means of generating electricity have been burning of coal (thermal power), tapping the natural flow of rivers (hydro electricity) and burning natural gas and petroleum. Burning coal and oil contribute to pollution and global warming. Hydro-power is clean but not always green as large dams can destroy natural habitat and displace people. Modern science has enabled us to tap energy from renewable natural resources like wind, bio-gas and solar energy. However, these are still limited in their scope and potential. To develop new and affordable technologies to tap these sources of energy, and develop new clean coal technologies, we have to invest more in research and development and also seek international cooperation. We also must reduce pollution arising from energy production that causes global warming. Nuclear industry is the only energy-producing industry that takes full responsibility for the disposal of all its wastes and does not contribute to global warming. Even the cost of fuel for a nuclear power station is very less than an equivalent coal fired power station. Presently, only 3 per cent of India’s energy needs are met from nuclear sources. India plans to produce 20,000 MW from the nuclear sector by 2020, increasing from the very low level of 3,700 MW at present.
• more@click-Code: ADI02254