JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 215 : 21 August 2006

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

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12 mins.

The NEW Invensys Culture - took a lickin' but kept on tickin'

Just six years ago Invensys was one of the top industrial companies, with annual revenues of about $14B and comparable market-cap. But, after several unwise acquisitions the stock declined drastically and many of the best-performing companies in the group were sold off to stay financially afloat.

The NEW Invensys is a prime example of a corporate culture that has survived under continued adverse conditions. A major share of the credit goes to the people who have remained with Foxboro, which remains the central core of Invensys. The ethos of excellence that stemmed from that source has now spread to other companies in a unified group. The culture of engineering excellence and customer orientation seems not only to have survived, but is now thriving sufficiently to generate a strong turnaround.

A new level of pride in performance has developed at the new Invensys. A majority of talented employees saw the clear business improvements and chose to stay with the company, even though the business strategies were often translated into actions that were sometimes perceived as "cold" and "heartless". Of course, some good people left; but many of the best people stayed, retaining the tremendous depth of talent that has survived with this unusual company.

Invensys is now in the hands of Ulf Henriksson. The new CEO is very hands-on, though less charismatic than his predecessors. He is steadily turning things around with practical operational moves and putting the business back on track.

The good news for Invensys was that although there were difficult years during the business downturn, apart from high-profile exits, many talented people at Foxboro and other group companies stayed on stubbornly, continuing to generate good performance. An internal program called "1x6" gained momentum: Pull together independent business units into one unified IPS by 2006. The executive team was driving a clear strategy to take advantage of excellence across the various group companies in terms of technology and talent.

In October 2005, Invensys started positioning itself to become the leader in asset performance management (APM). Then on April 11, 2006, the second phase of the new industry leadership program culminated with the release of InFusion - the world's first Enterprise Control System. InFusion was the ideal delivery vehicle for APM in process plants, whether or not the processes are controlled by Invensys.

Foxboro was certainly the jewel of Invensys, but the unified IPS has itself become the jewel of Invensys today. For years, many of the good people who stayed on with the company after the acquisition (dubbed the "old guard") had refused to give up their Foxboro identity. But the recent changes, leadership and optimism have brought strong allegiance to Invensys. The resulting culture may be even stronger than the wonderful Foxboro culture of the 1980s.

Peter Martin, VP of Strategic Ventures at Foxboro, who provided significant inputs for this article, says:

    "It still surprises me that after 26 years of service - starting with Foxboro in the 1970s, with a sabbatical for a few years - I still feel like one of the new comers. There are many top Foxboro people who remained with Invensys. Along with the good people who joined Invensys over the years, there is a very good basis for a stronger culture-for-excellence than ever before.

    "Our results have been multiple - including the excellent financial performance improvements, growth in market share, and growth in customer satisfaction. This makes an old Foxboro person like me more excited about the company than I have been for years!"

Pinto's Point:
You know, I appear to have been pillorying Invensys for years, fueled by negative weblogs from people who seemed to have had no other outlet to complain. This review shows the positive side.

There's an old saying, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." There are those who complain, and those who solve problems. I'm happy to present this story of the Invensys culture that "took a lickin' but just kept on tickin' ".

Click Invensys/Foxboro Culture - Complete article on Automation.com website

Click Invensys Process Systems website

Click The Invensys Saga

Click Read comments and provide feedback on the Invensys weblog

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ABB continues to deliver strong results

ABB reported a sharp increase in orders and profitability for Q2 2006. Earnings (EBIT) increased to $640M (10.7%) from $371M a year ago, reflecting good growth in the two product divisions. Net income was $367M, with cash flow from operations at $337M.

ABB is clearly benefiting from the strong global demand for improved power infrastructure and increased industrial efficiency. Efforts by the solid and experienced management team continue to pay off and the next half is also expected to be solid.

Click ABB Q2 orders and profit rise sharply

Click Read comments & provide feedback on the ABB weblog

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Matrikon OPC Conference - Join the leaders

Among other industry leaders and gurus, I'll be speaking at the MatrikonOPC User Conference in Houston, TX. on Sept. 12-14, 2006. This will also be held in Cologne, Germany - Oct 10-12, 2006.

Matrikon is the world-leader in OPC technology and applications. This conference is for Process Control & Discrete Manufacturing Professionals. You'll learn first-hand from top-level presentations by end-users and industry experts on ways to improve your process controls, discrete manufacturing and industrial operations.

Here are some of the case studies and other sessions:

  • Bill Finn - Santee Cooper, 4th largest public power generation company in North America: OPC in Action - Application of Turbine in Monitoring and Controls.
  • Eric Murphy - OPC Foundation and MatrikonOPC
    OPC In Mission Critical Applications
  • Andrew Higginbotham & David Tappen - Washington Gas
    Leveraging OPC Standards-Based Connectivity
Additional valuable session topics:
  • Future of Real-Time Architecture
  • Working with Poor Implementation of Cyber Security
  • OPC - Taking the Fear Out of Sarbanes Oxley
  • Impact of OPC in the Control Industry
  • Future of Technology: 3 & 10 Year Vision
  • Using OPC in Discrete Manufacturing
  • Achieve a High Availability SCADA System
  • Combining Standards: ModBus and OPC
  • Bridging BACnet and OPC for Building Automation
  • Using OPC to Coordinate Supervisory Control
Hands-on Training and workshops:
  • OPC Level I & II Workshops
  • Executive OPC Standardization Roundtable
  • SCADA Security Class
There are leaders and there are followers. Come grab some leadership!
Call Matrikon at 877-628-7456 ext 4099

Click Review MatrikonOPC speaker abstracts

Click Online registration for MatrikonOPC User Conference

Click MatrikonOPC training sessions and workshops

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Universal Solidarity Movement

Driving on the endless Interstates of the American heartland, my sister and I were discussing things "from afar". And as we were driving, noticing how beautiful and peaceful everything looked, a 1990 Grammy-award winning song by Bette Midler came up on my iPod - "From a distance":
    From a distance, there is harmony
    And it echoes through the land
    It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace
    It's the voice of every man

    From a distance, we all have enough
    And no one is in need
    And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease
    No hungry mouths to feed

    From a distance, you look like my friend
    Even though we are at war
    From a distance, I just cannot comprehend
    What all this fighting's for

Many people have asked what my sister does, and so I'll tell you. She is Director (in India) of a significant peace group called "The Universal Solidarity Movement".

This completely non-religious movement was started by a group of people who decided to "light a candle instead of cursing the dark". The darkness of fear is increasing in the world. Real happiness is missing and people look at each other with suspicion.

The aim of this Movement is to help people rediscover their inter-relatedness - to one another, to Nature and Creation. It aims at re-establishing bonds of friendship between people, celebrating their differences as a source of enrichment and bonding with one another in fellowship.

How can this be done? There are two modules:

I - The Five Paths for personal transformation

  1. Become a 'Peace Person' by praying daily for Peace and reaching out to your family, neighbors and others in peace and genuine concern.
  2. Skip a meal once a week to be in solidarity with hungry people in other parts of the world. Feel hungry constructively, for a change.
  3. Do a good deed a day with out a selfish motive - not just out of politeness, to impress others or to oblige a friend.
  4. Honor all human beings (make them feel special)
  5. Respect Mother Earth and conserve her resources.
The Movement has no entrance fee for membership. The Five Paths IS the fee. Practice the 5 paths and you become a member. Stop, and you drop out.

II - The 10 points for Social Transformation

    This is an action program which is directed to social change in each country. Persons or groups can decide on any one and practice this as their contribution to build up their society.
This Movement was started in India when the country experienced its first major act of terrorism in 1993. It began as a youth movement, but is now being taken up by adult groups. It is spreading to Europe and other countries, where groups have been formed. You can become a member of USM simply by practicing the 5 paths; stop, and drop out.

Form a USM group in YOUR hometown.

Click If you want to know more, visit the Dharmabharathi Website

Email directly to Dora Loretta Pinto
Click lorettapinto32@yahoo.co.in

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The great Blimericks (Bush Limericks) contest

Hey, join the Blimericks contest, starting now at Blimericks.com.

Write your own GW Bush limericks - we all know how.
The beat seems to be like this or something close to it:

    da Dum, da da Dum, da da Dum da
    da Dum, da da Dum, da da Dum da
    da Dum da da Dum
    da (da) Dum da da Dum
    da Dum, da da Dum, da da Dum da
Ground rules:
  1. Entry FREE
  2. Everyone allowed - left/right, conservative/liberal
  3. Keep it decent
  1. Starts off at $100 (it's gonna grrrrow)
  2. YOU contribute, no limit
  3. No "overhead" - all money goes for prizes
  1. 1 first-prize - 40% of pot
  2. 5 second-prizes - 10% of pot
  3. 10 third-prizes - 1% of pot
YOU are the Judges:
  1. You can vote for your favorite on Blimericks.com
  2. Highest rated Blimericks will move top of the list
  3. You can change your vote as new Blimericks arrive
CLOSING-DATE - Election day November 2006

Click Start your engines - GO WRITE A BLIMERICK

Click Take a quick lesson on Limericks

Click Wikipedia on Limerick poetry

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Dr. Ted Mohns [drtedmohns@yahoo.com] extends the thinking on "asymmetric motivation" to the effects of predatory capitalism:
    "Especially since Ronald Reagan became president, the USA has increasingly rewarded owners of capital and corporations over labor. "Free market capitalism," while now portrayed as a near-sacred value, means the least regulation possible and implies little commitment to society by those with capital or by large US corporations, many of which are now globalized. Supply-siders argue their case unabashed, and VP Cheney said deficits don't matter. Meanwhile, powerful political interests work to cut Federal spending on social programs, to openly promote social Darwinism, and to ignore environmental issues while cutting taxes on capital and on corporations.

    "The burden of enormous government borrowings, on the other hand, falls mostly on those in lower tax brackets. Likewise, it's not coincidental that labor hasn't benefited from the recent economic recovery, even as corporations enjoy record profits and those in top tax brackets grow wealthier. Fewer people are middle class, the number who are poor increases, and the gap between rich and poor is large and growing.

    "This short-sighted and predatory form of capitalism has one interest - the bottom line - and has little sense of national identity or conscience. The pendulum has swung far in this direction at present, and threatens not only domestic manufacture but also knowledge-based workers as outsourcing to foreign nationals increases. As investment in the American people gets cut, America's ability to innovate and compete in the global economy will diminish. Reigning in predatory capitalism will require the public to both realize these issues and to regain the ability to conduct credible elections. Only then will government return to truly serving the common good and not just a well-organized, self-interested minority."

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Mike Marullo [MAM@oncfari.com] considers all professional societies in the developed world are "melting icebergs", and links that to "asymmetric motivation":
    "Practically every professional society or association is experiencing defections, a lack of forward thinking and unwillingness to face the fact that they have problems. Following the path of denial is apparently easier to endure than forging new frontiers.

    "The idea of consolidation with other professional associations is a good one. But most fear losing the identities and want to be the surviving organization.

    "However, I think there's a bigger issue. We Americans live in a highly developed industrialized region, as do most Europeans. Our markets and their constituents are for the most part, highly evolved, well educated and firmly established. The problem is, many are thinking more about retirement than about the next technical challenge.

    "Professional societies; who needs 'em? The developing regions of Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Africa, that's who! Like it or not, the general mindset in developed areas (like North America and Europe) is: Been there; done that; we already know it all! But those areas that are just starting out really need what professional societies are best at providing: Experience, guidance, education, benchmarking, policies, procedures, etc.). So, we had better start finding ways to exploit our legacy, and the resultant brains-trust, by recruiting from the international community. And that should be twice as hard as we recruit domestically.

    "Who knows; maybe we can even find a suitable repository for all the knowledge and experience that's walking out the door in the form of thousands of young, inquisitive minds eager to take on new challenges while learning from the experts before they all retire."

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Bob Fritz [rfritz@avtron.com] President & CEO of Avtron feels that charity does not solve the root causes of inequality:
    "I don't think we should spend other people's money to help people who may be too lazy to help themselves. They talk of a wealth inequality. They never mention a hard work inequality. It's their free choice.

    "I actually believe that poverty can be a life style choice, sometimes the choice of a whole culture. Why do you think India is making strides in software, industrialization, tractors, etc.? And yet, other poor countries choose to remain poor. Should we have "guilt" because we have more (and work harder) than some third-world people?

    "Should every educated person who gets a raise give it to the government to distribute as welfare? Heck, no. If some left-winger asks me whether it is better to give $1,000 to educate an American college kid instead of buying 10 high-school educations in the third world, my answer is "it depends." The American college kid might use the money wisely. The third-world country might be in poverty because there is no such thing as a private property right, no encouragement of business, and the dictator has taken billions for his account in Switzerland."

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