Weblog - Schneider Electric

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With annual revenue about $10bn, and 75,000 employees in 130 countries, France based Schneider Electric is high on the world list of major automation companies.
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Aggressive French Giant
Sept. 2003
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  1. These are primarily anonymous weblogs. Blogger names will be included only if specifically requested.
  2. Both positive as well as critical comments are welcomed and encouraged.
  3. Except for key top-executives, names of people will not be included.
  4. Personal attacks and needless "rants" will be edited or discarded.
    If you feel that your weblogs are being unfairly eliminated, or have some special news or advice, please feel free to email Jim Pinto directly: jim@jimpinto.com

    Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are not Jim Pinto's personal opinions.

Weblog Comments - Schneider Electric

Schneider weblogs discontinued, effective immediately

These weblogs were initially started with some success, and I continued this as a service.

The "anonymous" weblogs have been an experiment - allowing company employees to vent, when management takes no notice. Unfortunately, apart from the occasional positive blog, this has deteriorated to a mostly negative tone. I put in a lot of work and get nothing positive in return.

As someone suggested, "Negativity breeds negativity!". So, with very little in the way of positive results, I am stopping these automation company weblogs.

These are difficult economic times, and Schneider is doing about as well as most other industrial companies, perhaps better than most. I wish the company and its employees continued success.

Please feel free to send me an email: jim@jimpinto.com


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Seems ironic that the NA Executive Leadership came from the Industrial sales side of the business. It looks like SE has done away with the "Industrial" sales force and all the directs are on the "Construction" side, no?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hiring 10 outside firms to sell strategic control products doesn't say much for the company's confidence in our sales force.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I believe the new rep's you may be asking about are the recently terminated ABB rep's. Rumor has it that ABB displaced these independents in favor of Baldor factory-employed rep's. I guess this is traditional "economies of scale" type re-distribution of resources.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Who are the 10 new sales rep organizations that SE hired? Why all the secrecy?

Friday, February 24, 2012

The 10 new sales rep organizations that SE hired - how are they doing?

Friday, February 17, 2012 - About the "SE hiring 10 Manufacturers Reps" question:

These companies are specialized, small, skilled / established companies that were discarded from the competition and came to Schneider proposing partnership.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Does anyone have the details on SE hiring 10 Manufacturers Reps to sell Industrial Control in the USA? I couldn't find any info beyond the press release. Why wouldn't they name the new sales agencies in the presser? What will/have they done with their direct industrial (non construction) sales force? How long would you give this initiative?

Friday, November 11, 2011

It looks also that corporate don't want to market or expose Square D products to customers. Has anyone noticed that?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Schneider Saudi Arabia is NOW out of Water, Industrial, Oil, Gas and Petrochemical markets. The company shifted its focus to only infrastructure projects.

For Oil, Gas & Petrochemical, it happened when Schneider decided not have Joint Venture with Square D local panel-builder. So, based on this decision, the company don't turned their back to Oil and you know Saudi Arabia have plenty of oil. In fact the country has the highest petrochemical & oil production in the world so can you imagine this? They want to leave this market for ABB & Siemens.

And even the government has started to invest in Mining (> $100B), the company is still sleeping & not following. God bless Schneider management !

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In reply to the comment about is the BMS unit of Schneider launching a BMS product line: The answer is yes: they launched StruxureWare last year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Well, the French do so love the French, don't they?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Schneider brought in an SAP know-it-all to "innovate". Spare me. The chance of success approaches zero with that pompous fool at the technical helm.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

No comments here since February. Why do you continue to be so limited? It seems like all we have here is a bunch of complainers about Rockwell, ABB and Siemens. Why don't you open up more businesses from around the world, I see you have just Yokogawa from Japan - there are so many more, and many more from Europe.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

MouseHow HR works at Schneider Electric

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Read Jim Pinto's latest column in Automation World, February 2011. This specifically discusses reasons why anonymous weblogs are so popular.

MouseKeep Motivation Up in a Down Economy.

During a period of recession, leadership skills are truly challenged. The solutions derive from strong management, which motivates good people to do what it takes to win during tough times. Mechanisms must be created for the workforce to share their feelings. It's the bad times that make good companies so much better during the good times.

Monday, January 17, 2011

French Schneider closed-mind is also existing in Saudi Arabia. You can see how Schneider will bias customer to Merlin Gerin products even when the project is following ANSI standards.

I was working in Oil & Gas Division in Schneider (but I quit). Most of Oil & Gas bids here are requiring ANSI equipments. Also, infrastructure segment (outside my responsibilities), there are very old ANSI equipment made by Square D or GE. I heard that Square D was having local factory before merging under Schneider. Schneider have not promoted Square D here even the brand is known and favorable. Local consultants or contractors are only familiar with Square D load centers and safety switches where Schneider do not have equivalent Merlin Gerin products.

We have been exhausted by the French mentality. They are pushing us always to sell Merlin Gerin on every opportunity. Schneider have local factory for only Merlin Gerin. They think Oil & Gas local companies like Aramco or Sabic will accept Merlin Gerin products through making nice exhibition or seminars! Every time, we ask French support to localize Square D products, they turn every thing up side-down.

Until last five years, we & local partner succeed to build local factory for assembling Square D equipment. Of course Schneider gave us permission. Last year, JV shall take place but French refused. Anyway, the factory still going on and local partner got license extention.

Out of this, I want to say French or Schneider was not supporting Square D? I don't know why they acquired Square D. GE or Eaton (competitors) won jobs as a result of our internal fight. GE is now pushing busduct and Schneider prefer Square D to loose business rather than competing against GE.

So, if somebody want to see French or Schneider closed mind, then come to Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

There were rumors that Schneider Electric Buildings (former TAC) is soon launching a new BMS. Are there any hard facts about that around?

Thursday, September 16, 2010 - from a Canadian:

Looks like Schneider Canada is doing pretty good. Positive growth this year, positive orders and positive sales. So far so good. I enjoy working for Schneider, it is a good place to be. My manager is excellent, doesn't micromanage me and gives me the freedom to make my own choice (and picks me up when I fall). It is a good place to learn and develop real skill.

Too bad about the pension disappearing, but the investment option and stock options are still pretty attractive. A lot better than I have seen at other companies. All around, I give Schneider the grade: A-

We need more orders to keep the backlog going, focus on developing Solutions in renewable and energy efficiency. Train their staff to become knowledgeable experts and lose them in the market place.

Monday, August 16, 2010

This company is poised to lose a lot of talent in the US. While management continues to pare down the workforce, they will be the only ones left to service the customer. This will eventually lead to mass exodus as satisfaction with the products will wane. They are slow to react, except in court (See Scott Electric - Pittsburgh). I have experienced it first hand in the largest market in the world, as I watched the competition listen and learn from the customer. Schneider continues to ram its products down customers throat, whether they want them or not. Vertical integration works only when you can service the markets. It's easy to fill up plants with low margin product orders, but if you can't manage the projects the pair with failure will result.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I worked at Schneider for 6+ years in Services. Went through a tremendous amount of growth, through aquisition. True with growth comes change; constant in fact. So much so that it is beginning to confuse the customer. With so many aquisitions a problem arises: how do you integrate the services teams of all these companies? This is an area where they are falling short. Agressive growth will be met with an inability to service the customer properly, which in the end will ultimately determine it's success.

Another huge problem with this company in my opinion is its reliance on distribution for sales. While it is a successful strategy to date, it is another level of confusion for the customer, due to the fact that some aquisitions do not use distribution channels. Ultimately they wil be forced to migrate away from this philosophy of sales due to the customer need for direct technical solutions abilities.

While thier product is strong, thier internal sales force is weak on technical knowledge which forces the operations teams to work that much harder. Problem is they have cut to the bone and can't support their growth platforms for long. A few major orders could hit the books and it would be a disaster, as they will be forced to deal with the support factor that is expected in the emerging market of data centers and major financial customers.

Still Schneider is a formidable company with a great brand recognition - until the French finally kill it off with thier One Schneider initiative.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The May 13 Weblogger may want to check the facts. ELAU - Schneider Packaging Solutions has become the Schneider Global Solutions Center in Germany. Their sales have grown by over 40% in 2010, after only a 7% decline in 2009, while the competition was down well over 20%. ELAU is alive and kicking. The next generation of Pac Drive is being launched with SERCOS III. They are leading the industry in innovation, robotics and Packaging Solutions for their customers.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Schneider has aquired some parts of AllStream. I hope this turns out well, sounds like an interesting opportunity!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What will Schneider do with this aquisition? Remember Berger Lahr, Elau - good companies, now nothing. Welcome to reality!

Monday, May 3, 2010

SCADAgroup is not only ClearSCADA, it is also:

  • SCX6 Add-ons to ClearSCADA
  • Trio Radios
  • Accutech Wireless Instruments
  • Serck Controls (Systems Integrator UK and Australia)
Schneider are moving to solutions provision for Water, Waste Water and Oil & Gas. Check out acquisition of CIMAC in the UAE.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Schneider Electric has bought Scadagroup in Australia. Scadagroup is supplier of the scada system ClearScada.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Interesting news from JimPinto's eNews No. 273 - 12 October 2009

For sale:

  • Rockwell - whether they like it or not.
  • Invensys - whether they like it or not. Their pension planwas under funded, and was a poison-pill for potential buyers.
  • Honeywell - the Process Systems Division is likely to be divested by a hungry-for-growth-and-glory CEO Dave Cote.
Other (than GE) Buyers :
  • ABB - Joe Hogan (ex-GE) would find GE's Automation businesstoo small. He is more likely to be focused on Rockwell. ABB has the cash, and Joe Hogan needs to make a move. A bigger ABB would create a global alternative to Siemens.
  • Siemens, the largest industrial company, has never been ableto make a successful acquisition. They'll be in the bidding.
  • Schneider - one of the winners during this decade. They couldwant GE's software business to add to Citect. They may also bein the market for DCS player. Invensys would be a good fit and make Schneider a world player in software and Process Control.
Click here (Click)- GE will emerge as next big automation player

Sunday, March 8, 2009

I have noticed an increasing tendency at various Schneider product departments to pare back product offering in the name of simplification. Is it me, or is the company beginning to reduce itself to a seller of things favorable only to Scheider efficiencies, and to hell with the customer?

Saturday, January 24, 2009 - from 'Camp Follower':

It looks like a new regime has been put into place at Schneider. What I find interesting is that past executive leadership positions have been staffed by personnel with operational background. The new lineup looks to have come up from the sales and marketing ranks. This represents a significant shift in corporate philosophy or am I reading too much into it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Arne Frank no longer heading TAC? Have I missed something? According to a German news article Arnee Frank is no longer CEO of Schneider's Building Automation Business / TAC. Who is his sucessor?

Monday, January 12, 2009

I was with Schneider Electric and involved in pursuit of an automotive plant project (circa 2000). During internal discussions the team responsible for automotive projects admitted that SE needs integrated motion solutions to woo machine makers. There was blank expressions as even by then, it was told that many in the team had brought this to the attention of executive management. In fact (typical in SE fashion, executive management disbelieves middle management), executive management had also commissioned a study to be told the same... The group discussed that if SE was not going to decide otherwise, SE might as well give-up it's intentions for automotive plant projects...

Fast forward 2000-2008, these years it seems that SE albeit at a glacial pace is putting this into place. So the pieces are falling in but it's my opinion that the window of opportunity has slipped by for the automotive plant projects (this is where the big PLC projects (500 - 1000 PLC CPUs) are sold bringing in the bragging rights...)

However, I believe that SE can profit from packaging, food & beverage and consumer product plants that will be the focus of current economic activity. So I believe that SE is offering a solution (integrated products) but NOT the integrator (System Integrator) per se. Therein the difference.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I am attending Schneider's Global OEM Initiative event in Monaco. It certainly appears they are trying very hard to become a solution seller in the machine builder space. Many new products being shown that will be released in 2009. Integrated architectures and application knowledge in certain machine segements. Interesting, but we'll see if they deliver like they say.

    My apologies. Due to spam filters and other reasons, the weblogs have been blocked. The problem has now been corrected, and your comments are now coming through. Please continue your weblogs.

    Jim Pinto

Friday, February 15, 2008

Schneider is a solution seller. They have bought Berger Lahr, a motion expert in Europe, and push now the motion solution in the market. Also the new M340 PLC is a solution PLC, integrated CAN Open port to combine it with a Lexium 05 and server motors from Berger Lahr.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is Schneider now a product or solution company? Can anyone give some update? When I was there from 1996 to 2000, Schneider closed down SAS, the solution arm. Made it clear to the market that they will sell PRODUCTS thru distributors, key accounts, OEM and SI (in that order of importance). I heard they have changed their approach 4-5 year back....Automation, Solutions etc etc are back in favour. True?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 - Life in Rockford after Schneider acquisition.

It's been a "good new/bad news" story. The good news is that the former IBS operation is no longer in an environment where we're living to refinance the debt. There's also a noticeable absence of the almost-daily e-mails about executive comings and goings. Also, the recent decision by TAC (the unit under which IBS was put) to move its systems products production from N. Andover to Rockford has meant additional manufacturing jobs in Rockford, at least temporarily.

The bad news is that after all the Schneider rhetoric about buying IBS for its extensive peripheral product offering, it turns out that TAC doesn't really want these products and is happy with a limited offering of purchased products. Current plans are to outsource the piece parts production from the Rockford plant to the cheapest vendor. Long range plans are to discontinue thousands of part numbers, import actuators and valves designed and manufactured in Italy, and eventually move zone valve production to China. The Rockford plant will become an electronics manufacturing facility.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Schneider Electric SA won compensation from the EU on Wednesday for its refusal to let the company buy Legrand SA in 2001, the first time a court has ordered regulators to reimburse a business for losses due to a takeover ban that was later overturned.

The EU's Court of First Instance ruled that Schneider should be paid back for two-thirds of its losses caused by a delay in its EU-ordered divestiture of French electrical equipment group Legrand as regulators examined the deal for a second time.

It did not give a total for this figure, which a court-appointed expert will calculate in the coming months. Schneider finally sold its majority stake in Legrand to Wendel Investissement and private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for euro3.63 billion (US$4.96 billion) in 2002.

The European Commission said, however, that the court had rejected the major part of Schneider's claim for euro1.66 billion (US$2.27 billion) in compensation, which includes the difference between the original purchase and resale price. It said it would decide whether to challenge the ruling before an autumn deadline.

Schneider said it was "pleased" that the ruling recognized its right to compensation from the EU's illegal ban on its Legrand bid.

A similar compensation case is pending before the court as AirTours - now known as MyTravel - is seeking EU compensation for money it lost when regulators forbade its 1999 bid for First Choice Holidays, another decision overturned on appeal.

Wednesday's ruling sets a legal standard for EU regulators to be liable in such cases, saying there had to be "grave and manifest disregard of the limits of their powers of assessment" - meaning their refusal to allow the company a hearing to argue its case against new theories before the European Commission makes a decision to ban the deal.

The court said Schneider should have been allowed to argue against the Commission's theory - first mentioned in the merger ban - that the takeover would buttress Schneider's dominant position as a supplier of electrical panel-board components and Legrand's leading position in the electrical equipment market segments.

The refusal to hold a hearing deprived Schneider of any way of knowing that the Commission was likely to block the deal unless it made the changes the EU was looking for, the court said.

The court's support for a company's right to defense against antitrust charges also figured in another judgment Wednesday that overturned a Commission decision preventing South African diamond giant De Beers from buying rough gems from Russian rival Alrosa.

The Luxembourg-based tribunal granted Schneider the right to claim compensation for two-thirds of the loss it had when it had to postpone the sale of its 98 percent holding in Legrand to Wendel and KKR beyond an agreed-on date.

Schneider sold Legrand well below the euro7.9 billion (US$7.2 billion) it paid in 2001 to create a world leader in low-voltage electrical equipment such as fuse boxes, plugs, switches and other electrical equipment around the house.

The court did not give Schneider the right to its full losses, saying the company had contributed to its own woes by assuming the real risk that the takeover would fail to win EU approval and it would have to resell its Legrand holdings.

Schneider also won expenses it incurred during regulators' second examination of the case in 2002 after the court overturned the EU's refusal.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Steve [steve_mcquinn@yahoo.com] writes:

Schneider is introducing new PLC Modicon M340. It looks quite intresting. 8MB of RAM included in CPU on SD cards, no battery, USB programming. I think it will be a successful PLC.

Monday, May 7, 2007 - Patent lawsuits:

That's a joke. Ask the good folks at Opto if the pain of those lawsuits is gone yet. I put Schneider on the "do not buy" list during that fiasco and no reason to change my view now.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Just a thought, could the recent announcement of Schneider becoming a high level member of ODVA be some sort of payback from the whole Solaia / 318 patent issue? I know Rockwell had filed an antitrust lawsuit.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Kavlico is not an automation play per se. Its part of the "custom sensing" group that primarily sells into the automotive and aerospace market. The core R&D and technology could migrate over into industrial sensors though.

Sounds like the APC merger ( to pair with MGE ) is going forward.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I read comments on Groupe Schneider and have seen no mention of its acquisition of Kavlico, Inc. in the USA. I wonder how a sensor company primarily serving the aerospace and automotive industries and HVAC fits into their "automation" scenario? Do you have any views on this acquisition?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

So, is Schneider buying Dedicated Microcomputers or not? How would that work with the Integral product line acquired with TAC?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

If you look at the detail of the Schnedier aquistion of Citect you will note purchase is made via Schneider Holdings Australia. Citect has about 80% of SCADA market in Australia. Hard to imagine I know, but there are other places in the world besides the US.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Why would Schneider by Citect after passing on opportunities to buy Intellution and Wonderware? Citect is a nice package, but virtually zero market share.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Schneider's version of the Proface product DOES have drivers for Rockwell, Siemens, Mitsu and Omron by the way. Timely discussion on Schneider HMI (or lack of it)! Schneider is buying CiTect.

News Extract - Sydney, Australia.
Schneider Electric offer for Citect (Australia).

    Citect today announced it had entered into a Merger Implementation Agreement for the proposed acquisition by Schneider Electric Australia of all the shares in Citect.

    Under the proposed transaction all Citect shareholders will receive a cash payment of $1.50 per share plus a fully franked special dividend of $0.05 per share. This equates to approximately $80 million for all the issued ordinary shares in Citect. This represents a 42.2% premium to the price of Citect shares based on the closing market price on 18 October 2005, and a 59.9% premium to the volume weighted average price of Citect shares for the 30 day period up to and including 18 October 2005.

    The meeting at which shareholders may vote on the scheme of arrangement is expected to be held in late December. The Directors of Citect have unanimously resolved to recommend to shareholders and optionholders that they vote in favour, in the absence of a superior offer. Citect’s ability to serve its customers thoroughly and globally will be considerably enhanced with this new development. The Citect Board believes that the strategic fit with Schneider Electric will enable Citect’s customers, employees and partners to participate in a promising future.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Actually Total Control Products was bought by GE Fanuc around 1999. Proface is more well known as Xycom in the US. As far as their offerings, Schneider markets their line of HMI's as the Magellis line and Xycom/Proface are run as a totally seperate company-sometimes they even compete against themselves.

Friday, October 14, 2005 - Schneider HMI offering:

Schneider did make a significant HMI acquisition in '02 when they purchased Digital Electronics (maker of Pro-face product - also known in North America as Total Control Products). Since then they've rolled out an offering from Digital branded as Tele however only for connection to Tele (Modicon included) PLC's. Unlike A-B's latest HMI offering which does permit connection to non-A-B products, Schneider seems to have chosen this path perhaps in the hope that Pro-face will target the non-Schneider customers. Whether that works is still to be decided. On the SCADA front Schneider may have thought they were getting some of that technology with the Digital purchase however they must realize by now that's not exactly the case.

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

The reason Schneider has not improved its HMI / SCADA offerings is because there's nobody at the company who:

  • Understands these technologies
  • Recognizes the need to have a stronger offering
  • Wants to do any work

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Schneider has been known for its aggresive acquistion policy. Why have they still not acquired anyone to strengthen their weak HMI / SCADA offerings?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What a poorly expressed reason for selling automation products through the entire Square D channel. You would think Schneider might have mentioned some value to a customer for this distribution channel change of direction. The specialized distributor will have its margins eaten away by the broad line distributors.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

How does the Schneider distribution change help Graybar? They already had access to the PLC products for 2+ years. This adds the "rest" of their distributors and provides more competition for Graybar on the low-hanging fruit.

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Extract from news - (BUSINESS WIRE)--July 14, 2005

    In response to growing customer demand for automation products outside traditional industrial applications, Schneider Electric will now supply Telemecanique(R) programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and other related products through its entire Square D(R) distribution channel, the electrical industry's largest. The move by one of the world's largest suppliers of electrical and automation products reflects the evolution of Telemecanique PLC hardware and software, which today makes it simple to apply the technology to a wide range of commercial and process applications.
This must be Graybar flexing their muscle. Let the blood bath begin with Modicon and the support they will give to the non-traditional distributors.

Monday, April 18, 2005

I noticed that Schneider has not introduced a new platform in 10 years. They have however added new processors and modules to the Quantum and Premium line as well as the new Unity software. Is there a reason for this? It concerns me since I am looking for new PLC technology that will be around for the next twenty years.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I'm a MODICON end user for 15 years and I'm afraid of the new software of Schneider UNITY.

  1. All the Quantum CPU I bought between 1995 to 2003 are not able to run UNITY.
  2. I have to buy new CPU (Thanks Schneider).
  3. For the CPU which are usable with UNITY, the CPU usage decrease by 45% because when you migrate an application to UNITY the used memory increase by 80% (Thanks again)
  4. I use Premium too, since 2002, normally I have to be happy to have the same tool for both PLC, but UNITY don't provide all the Concept function library we use since 1995 for the Premium. We have to work in a different way on this PLC, where is the benefit of UNITY?

Monday, February 21, 2005 - Rueil-Malmaison (France):

Schneider Electric has agreed to acquire Canadian-based Power Measurement, Inc. (PMI), owned by a consortium led by GFI Energy Ventures LLC. PMI is a leading designer, manufacturer and provider of enterprise energy intelligent systems for energy suppliers, service providers and large energy consumers. PMI had sales of $57 million in 2004.

PMI is a leader in offering energy suppliers and consumers complete enterprise energy management systems through the integration of hardware, software and professional services, enabling clients to optimize their energy needs. PMI has a large and diversified global customer base across multiple sectors.

Friday, January 7, 2005 - Schneider Electric Acquires Magnecraft Product Range:

Rueil-Malmaison (France), January 6, 2005
Schneider Electric announced today the acquisition of the Magnecraft product range from MSD, Inc., a leading U.S. supplier of industrial relays. These products represented $14 million in sales in 2004. This acquisition will significantly broaden Schneider Electric’s line-up and make the company one of the top three global suppliers of industrial relays.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004 - Brian Robinson wrote:

Schneider has acquired Andover Controls in addition to TAC. Why two companies in the same markets?

Wednesday, October 6, 2004 - Re: Graybar Automation:

One needs only to visit their website to realize the strides that this company is making. There is a wealth of knowledge there, although it is a bit tedious to get to.

What I discovered is from their main site (www.graybar.com) you need to cursor over "Suppliers/Markets" for a drop down menu to appear. Click on "Automation" and a splash page appears. Buried on the left side under Literature is "Technical Library". Clicking on that prompts you for an email address and a first time, short registration page. Once completed, you have access to over 2000 documents and links for the Schneider automation products.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004 - from a former marketing manager in Eastern Europe:

Just to give you some ideas about Schneider's evolution in Eastern Europe.

In the early 90's, Schneider market share was about 2-3%, Siemens and local suppliers dominated. In the last 10 years Schneider truly became one of market leaders. This is mainly due to their open partnership policy, very oriented towards the local SI channel. They are well established in Russia, Poland, Czech Rep., Ukraine and other countries. BTW on many automation markets they are known under Modicon name, and what's interesting is that in some countries Schneider still continues to promote the Modicon brand (f.e. www.modicon.ru, created in 2004!).

In Eastern Europe Schneider now has about 15% market share, and it is in 2nd position after Siemens. They continue fast growth, which is not the case of Rockwell which prefers to get business through few key partners and, in reality, can not exploit many market opportunities as Schneider or Siemens are doing.

I agree that the new brand policy is quite NOT relevant nor to the current Schneider (& Modicon PLC) position, neither to their growth ambitions. Nevertheless remind that they try to capitalize on the Modicon name by now naming ALL new PLCs "Modicon xxx".

What is working really well is their clear and consistent strategy on local partnerships with System Integrators. In this, Schneider is much stronger than their competitors. This is the key advantage of Schneider in automation and this explains the fast Schneider growth in emerging markets.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Will Lenel (Security) be acquired next to complete Schneider's portfolio in Building Automation?

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Nic Gihl doesn't have anything more to sell, at least at this moment. Remember this is the guy who sold TCP to GEF in '98 and in '02 sold his portion of Digital Electronics (maker of TCP products) to Schneider. Some say he sold the same thing twice which can't sit well with corporate types like Schneider. He'll have to start delivering results instead of taking contract buyouts (like he did from GEF) and moving on to another company he's quietly acquired while working for someone else.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Nic Gihl and James Potach, both of TCP/GE/Proface/Xycom fame, have been brought over from Proface by Schneider to turn around the automation group in the US. No word on who will replace them at Schneider owned Proface-USA.

Tuesday, June 8, 2004

The 15 May 2004 weblog wondered why Square D is spinning off an Automation Division. This reminds me of when Square D spun off Automation in the early nineties and the Automation profit center was relocated in Milwaukee. All I can say is, hang in there.

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Schneider has acquired Andover Controls in addition to TAC. Why two companies in the same markets??

Saturday, May 15, 2004

News is that Schneider will create a separate Automation Division, in an effort to disconnect high tech. products from the non-technical Square D family. Feedback and/or comments will be appreciated.

Monday, May 3, 2004 - from Ray Sansouci (RSANSOUCI@MICROESYS.COM):

A few months ago, someone asked what happened to Mark Fondl and Ray Sansouci. For the last almost 5 years now, I (Ray) have been President & CEO of MicroE Systems (www.microesys.com) We make high precision optical encoders and motion control systems. April 12, we announced the signing of a definitive agreement to be acquired by GSI Lumonics (GSLI) (www.gsilumonics.com) so I will be working for them when the dust settles.

It has been a great 5 years. You can contact me at RSansouci@microesys.com


Thursday, April 8, 2004 - Regarding the Schneider and Modicon buzz - from a satisfied user of both Premium and Quantum:

Schneider (with its Telemecanique brand) parnerd with and then bought AEG (with its Modicon brand). It was 10 years ago and the portfolio was quite complicated, if you add the Symax (Square-D) in US, a line in Germany and some other lines in France. But this is old history. The company has suffered to find the right path but I've heard their new offering is a merge of the up-to-date ranges.

Have you heard about Unity, a new common and advanced software for both Modicon Quantum, Telemecanique Premium and slot PLC Telemecanique Atrium"?

Oops - another word! Now all PLCs are under the same umbrella, easy to support worldwide because the software barrier has disappeared. Premium and Atrium has been hugely repowered as they clearly stated as strategic in the portfolio. One guy from Schneider explained to me that each line was optimized for a kind of process (mostly discrete for Premium and mostly continuous for Quantum). They are all Modicon PLC under the Telemecanique brand.

As far as I know, the developementd of these products was done in France, Germany and in Massachussets.

Thursday, April 8, 2004 - Regarding where Twido comes from:

Actually, Twido is not from Taïwan but from France.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 - Re: Ref - IDEC/Schneider PLC weblog, 13 Jan 2004:

The Schneider TSX07 was the IDEC Micro3 except that the firmware for the two products were completely different and hence the software of one was not compatible with the other. The TWIDO is the IDEC MicroSmart, except again, the firmware is different so the same rule applies.

The original Micro-1 was branded to Square D and also sold in the USA by IDEC. Too much fighting between the two companies for marketshare led to the change in the firmware and shapes of the subsequent designs.

In terms of the Square D specifying and engineering products only to have the customers purchase IDEC that is not true. Most of the support was handled by IDEC for both SQD and IDEC Micro-1 products.

Sunday, January 18, 2004 - Ref - IDEC/Schneider PLC weblog, 13 Jan 2004:

TSX Micro is a Telemecanique French original. The brand labelled IDEC product that you are referring to is TSX Nano. The brick type PLC that has 12DI/8DO (I think). Not sure about Twido though but I heard it is from Taiwan?

Saturday, January 17, 2004 - Graybar Automation:

How is Graybar doing with their National Automation effort? Square D is a big component of that inititive. Has Graybar's partnering with Phoenix Contact caused any conflicts or issues? I see the Graybar/Phoenix Contact "Team" at many local ISA Shows.

How do the Square D High Tech Automation Distributors and Graybar get along? My impression is that Graybar is a solid house but has more of a proclivity for contractor sales and datacomm vise automation. My concern is the technical support; can they cut the mustard?

Saturday, January 17, 2004 - Response to quick question about IDEC:

Square D (pre Telemecanique) had a brand label agreement with IDEC for low end PLCs and ice cube relays. The old Symax Model 50 flat pack was an IDEC PLC, as well as the Square D Micro and assorted accessories that was launched in 1991. There were plans to brand label the IDEC equivalent to the SLC 500 but the aquisition by Group Schneider put a stop to that.

The Model 50 and Micro sales weren't brisk because customers knew they were IDEC products so they let us do the spec work and engineering/programming and then they bought the product from IDEC. Nice, Huh?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - quick question for this weblog:

Does Idec Izumi manufacture some of Telemecaniques' and some old Square D PLC's? I noticed, in looking at Idec's Micro Smart series of PLC, that it looks very similar to the Telemecanique "Twido" and I think the TSX Micro is Idec's old Micro3. If this is so, I could see Idec building / designing the product for Schneider rather than vice-versa. Am I right?

Thursday, January 8, 2004 - From a former employee:

Well, to be fair, the documentation and the software from Telemecanique has improved a great deal with TSX Micro and Premium in the late 90s. I would even judge PL7 software to be better than Concept on the whole and I was marketing both in Asia. BUT you are dead right about support, availability and those French comm protocols...

Thursday, January 8, 2004 - from a former employee - RE: Post of 20 Oct 2003:

The gentleman that posted is obviously a loyal Telemecanique employee in France; the reality is that 95% of all Telemecanique PLC sales are in France. In the rest of the world Siemens and Rockwell Automation dominate. Telemechanque PLCs have no appreciable market presence/share in the USA and the Schneider automation sales channel does not actively promote the Telemecanique PLC line. (Modicon Quantum is the focus)

Is it bad hardware? No! There are actually some elegent, well thought out features and the packaging is nice as well. However in the USA the big issues are poor documentation, complicated(un user friendly) software, protocols not embraced outside of France(Fipway, Unitelway), lack of comprehensive technical support and product availability. Bottom line: difficult to get the most out of the controllers for the average PLC user in the USA. Too many hurdles to overcome to get the real momentum you need to grow market share.

Thursday, January 8, 2004 - from a former Group Schneider Exec. - RE: Why did SE Acquire Modicon?

Anyone remember "Number 2 in '92...?" Even though a lot of money was thrown at it over the years Symax, a good PLC, just never took off. The rationale for the JV/Merger/Acquisition was that with the Modicon brand, Square D could give Allen-Bradley (now Rockwell) a run for their money. What Square D failed to realize was that the PLC war was over and that AB had won.

Compounding this strategic error is the reality that Square D was, is, and always will be, a construction/contractor oriented company. Hence, automation and controls always played second fiddle to the PE/DE side. All sales and marketing issues at the corporate, business unit and local field office levels, as well as critical sales channel issues had to be vetted and approved by the construction side. Also contributing to the failure of the acquisition was the fact that any talent that was left at Modicon jumped ship before the buyout. What was left were the C players, who hung for a few years and were eventually re-orged out of the organization; add this to some heavy duty politics and the net result was errosion of any market share and loss of key customers. In the interim Siemens has managed to step and fill the void as well as take some market share from Allen Bradley.

Monday, December 1, 2003 : Regarding the weblog post about Mark Fondl:

He has started a new company, Network Vision with a slew of other former Modicon employees. The company website is at : www.intravue.net

Not sure about Ray Sansouci though.

Saturday, November 15, 2003 - regarding the comments on "why did Schneider buy Modicon?" :

First, Schneider did not buy Modicon, Schneider was in a joint venture with AEG, which bought Modicon from Gould. As for the great company/technology/customers/people, Modicon started life with a 100% market share and managed to take it to less than 50% before Gould. With Gould ownership, market share continued to decline. I'm not really sure why Schneider bought Modicon, as the Telemechanque products are superior, as were/are many competitor products. The "old" Modicon was very successful in losing share and alienating the channel. If there is a suggesion here that Modicon would have been better off remaining independent, I would challenge that thought.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

I worked for Modicon/Schneider in the Asian HQ in the mid 90s. Few if any of the Modicon people are left today. The thing that continues to baffle us till now - WHY DID Schneider BUY MODICON?

Modicon is(was) an Automation technology/solution leader with strong market/cutomer focus. Loving care of the customer, providing solid solution were the hallmarks. Schneider came in with its "fast moving consumer goods" business models more suited for its circuit breakers/push buttons/contactors products. Doomed right from the start - to put it mildly. We were at first ignored, later assimilated, subsequently seen as geeks who does not understand the beauty of the French way.

I do not even want to go into the many meetings when 2 or 3 Frenchmen went on and on with their "ouis and bonjour" oblivious to all others around them. (I am Asian and I am not pro-English: Using a language that all present can understand is basic courtesy). I do not even want to go into the details of being placed at the lowest level of priority when it comes to country marketing strategies and account development plans.

If you are not prepared to love her - WHY MARRY HER?

  • Schneider is not after Modicon products/technology - their own Telemecanique PLCs are respectable PLCs with flexible and good design. Not particularly user friendly esp the older models but still good. Yes, I am saying that as a Modicon guy.
  • Schneider is not after the customer base - key Modicons account in AP and US are virtually ignored.
  • Schneider is not after the sales channels - all AP channels are moved into the Schneider ones. Few if any remaining Modicon channels are given the opportunity to sell Schneider products.
Why? Can anyone answer? Why marry us when you are not prepared to love us?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Does anyone know what happen to Ray Sansouci (President AUT/Modicon 1996-1999)and Mark Fondle(VP Marketing 96-99)?

Thursday, November 13, 2003

The lawsuit between Schneider and Opto22 has been settled. That said, Schneider is on my permanent never-to-consider-as-a-vendor list for taking the legal action in the first place.

The New York Times, among other papers, recently published a new Hubble Space Telescope photograph of distant galaxies colliding. Of course, astronomers have had pictures of colliding galaxies for quite some time now, but with the vastly improved resolution provided by the Hubble, you can actually see the lawyers rushing to the scene.

Sunday, November 2, 2003 - from a former marketing employee of Schneider Electric:

Many weblog readers may not be aware that Telemecanique had operations (sales, marketing & assembly) in the US starting in the middle 60's. These were then merged with Square D operations when Schneider purchased Square D in 1993. This was a logical decision, since US Telemecanique had no market share and was operating with a major deficit every year.

The integration process of Telemecanique and Square D then started. New product development projects were shared; this is when I experienced the devious motives of the French management. All major decisions were made by the French, all based on their own culture and benefit. I do not believe Telemecanique products will ever be a major factor in the US. Their past history of 33 years (1960-1993) in the US market produced nothing but red ink, couple that with their unwillingness to develop product features or use brand names suited for the US market. The Schneider team has some great financial wizards, however the product side is lacking.

Saturday, November 1, 2003

I have posted a couple of times in the Invensys weblog; maybe a Schneider insider could shed some light on this.

I have heard that Scheider may be interested in Invensys Climate Controls (ICC) Americas. What I dont understand is where ICC would fit into the Schneider picture. Having acquired TAC/CSI, Schneider now has a climate control subsidiary. Adding ICC would create yet another subsidiary, in direct competition with TAC. History has shown that there is great difficulty, at best, in incorporating multiple vendors under one corporate umbrella.

  • Siemens has never been able to integrate Staefa and Powers, the 2 still compete against each other, and create brand confusion for the customer.
  • Johnson Controls Acquired ESUSA, but doesnt exactly know how to utilize the new company.
  • Invensys, themselves, made up of Barber-Colman/Robertshaw (Americas), and Satchwell (UK&Europe), have had little sucess in integrating their systems. Robertshaw line is dying a slow death in preference to Barber-Colman, and Satchwell product has faced great resistance in importing to the US market.
  • TAC, acquiring CSI, tried to utilize CSI's US presence, to my knowledge have had little or no success. Meanwhile, CSI is being sunset in favor of the TAC product.
The lesson here should be: know exactly what your going to use the company for before you spend money acquiring it. Using ICC acquisition to build on a solid product line (which ICC DOES have) is one thing. But to buy in order to simply gain an avenue to push the rest of you product base is entirely another.

Which is it?

Monday, October 20, 2003

I am working for the Automation product support of Schneider in Europe. I am reading logs about Modicon. The Telemecanique products have the same, or maybe better, options for the future. And that's what we can say because we are calling our customers each day. Most of the problems are with Modicon, while there almost no questions about Telemanique PLC's. And yes, we are selling also Telemecanique.

Sometimes it is better to produce a new product than to still keep working with old material. In the future there will be one software Unity for programming the high end PLC, like Quantum and Premium. Like the new displays at the end of this year, which are from Proface. Good example how Schneider is working with the bought companies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Reading the Invensys weblog - Schneider acquired TAC. Who is TAC? Maybe that's why Schneider might want Invensys?

JimPinto Note : In June 2003, Schneider acquired Sweden’s TAC, a major player in the global building automation and control market. Regional headquarters for TAC Americas is located in Dallas.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

I work for a US division of a Japanese parent company which was acquired by Schneider last year. We were told nothing will change under the new owners. We are not sure whether we can believe this statement knowing that Schneider spent over $200M to acquire our group of companies. We keep hearing that Schneider won't make the same mistakes they made with Modicon. That makes no sense when you consider the latest decision to pretty much kill the Modicon name and roll it under the Telemecanique name - an unknown brand name in the US. We're waiting to see if Schneider does shake up the current senior management lineup at the US division. Some people think that may be a good thing for morale. I guess my question is: does anyone have any personal experience with this type of scenario involving Schneider?

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Schneider reported to be the front runner to buy Invensys Climate Controls.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003 - name witheld by request:

Further proof that Schneider are phasing out any heritage of Modicon is the recent decision to elevate all of the French brand names to a major focus and to defocus the name Modicon. They had also tried to defocus Square D but rescinded that decision to try to hide the fact that it is now owned by a company from a country that is in great disdain in the US right now.

It is my understanding from talking with some of the Square D staff, that their sales are way down just since the Iraq war and several customers have specifically said it is the "french factor". I can only imagine that the news stories about France issuing French passports and sending military equipment to Iraq and training their army on how to use that equipment immediately before the war started, has only exacerbated the situation.

You also know that their intent is to phase out the Modicon equipment and to replace it with Telemecanique (French product). They believe that the Telemecanique equipment can replace the Modicon for all applications. The problem is, all they know is the OEM business and they really know nothing of process control.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - feedback on recent comments about SquareD (Schneider Electric) laying off 400 people - the fourth layoff in 18 months:

Some of the layoffs were due to restructuring, some was cutting out dead wood, and some was political. One may believe anything one wishes and make deductions - the simple fact is, SquareD staffing levels are a DIRECT reflection of sales.

Monday, December 30, 2002 - name witheld by requst:

I was recently dismissed from Square D (Schneider Electric) as part of yet another "reduction in force". On Novemebr 13-14, 2002, Square D eliminated 400 positions. This was the forth such reduction in 18 months. The real significance is that they are getting rid of many of the technical people. I was one of the few remaining "application engineers" for Modicon, Telemecanique and Sy/Max PLCs. Their focus is going totaly toward sales and turning their back on the customer, as far as after-sales support is concerned. Their long-term marketing strategy is convoluted at best, but I would not be suprised to see the French "axe" Modicon once and for all in 2003.

I am now working for a Rockwell distributor, and while the Rockwell future is uncertain, I think that the Scheider future is even more uncertain. Just wanted to add my "two cents".

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