It was my great pleasure to recently accept a new challenge at Rockwell Automation – that of regional sales director, North EMEA. It’s an exciting new role for me and I was equally delighted to pass the UK reigns into the capable hands of my successor and colleague, Phil Hadfield.
The change will mean a lot more travel for me, and it will allow me to focus my energies on helping Rockwell Automation to drive industry 4.0 innovation at a local in-country level, throughout our customers’ international frameworks.
I believe this is essential to the successful expansion of digital transformation throughout EMEA, and for us at Rockwell Automation, the process begins with sharing best practices from our teams and customers at a country level into our teams and customer applications further afield.
In the coming days, weeks and months, I am visiting Rockwell Automation offices throughout the north EMEA region, and it’s remarkable to see the strength and depth of talent working for the company.
It’s also reassuring to see, first-hand, how the customer-centric approach that creates the strong relationships and deep understanding between us and our customers, permeates the whole company. It is this deep understanding that I shall be seeking to build upon. It’s something that I consider central to our continued success.
It’s also a wonderfully exciting time to be taking an international position, not least because of the important industrial trend towards re-shoring and near-shoring.
For anyone unfamiliar with this terminology, our EMEA president Susana Gonzalez recently contributed to an article in FDi Intelligence – offering her thoughts on how industry 4.0 technologies require skills more readily available in developed economies.
In fact, as the article states, more than half of the world’s smart factories are in Europe, and 32% of the world’s greenfield investment since 2009 has been into the region.
I am excited to be a part of this – in my new role, you could say that I’ll be working further away to help enable manufacturing to grow closer to home. Our region is one of huge potential in industry, and there has never been a better time to be in it – a time of immense human possibility.
Technology Plus People
Industry 4.0 brings the technologies that underpin this potential. I believe we will see clusters of industrial expertise form around industry-sector knowledge hubs, and I think there is already evidence of manufacturing becoming more distributed; closer to the markets it serves.
But the most important factor remains the people of industry. It’s people who will take successful pilot projects and turn them into large scale industry-wide practices. It’s people who will be changing enterprise approaches and practices to enable the adoption of new technologies and new ways of working. And of course, it is people who will be upskilling to fill the shortfall in available expertise, especially around IT and data in the manufacturing environment.
The cultural change required within industry to make the best of the digital transformation opportunity is significant. There is no doubt that the companies who are making the most of the burgeoning opportunities are those which adopt a culture that encourages and adapts to the changing needs of industry 4.0. Companies that are investing in their most valuable asset – their staff. And when you invest in staff, you invest in people, and when you invest in people, you expand human possibility.
Get in touch with me today to discuss the Industry 4.0 journey of your company.
Published July 1, 2019