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By Gregory Hale
There is an old saying that says “strike while the iron is hot” and that thought applies well to today’s manufacturing automation workforce.

“Industry expertise is at an all-time high, but it won’t be there forever,” said Mike Caliel, president and chief executive at Invensys Operations Management during his keynote today at the 2012 North America Invensys Foxboro User Group meeting in Boston. “The profile of the collective workforce is changing.”

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Changes are occurring at breakneck speed, Caliel said, and Invensys is working to stay one step ahead of the curve.

“The velocity of our business has increased exponentially,” he said.

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With the rapid increase in the environment, that means there is a need to add context into the equation and to work more effectively across the enterprise, whether it is the plant floor or working in conjunction with the business network.

“We have to listen and understand and have a more structured and disciplined approach to deliver technologies,” Caliel said.

Working more effectively is what Invensys’ new movement toward modernization is all about. They want to work with customers that have a huge amount of legacy systems and help them improve their productivity.

Invensys knows manufacturers are not going to rip out systems and replace them with new ones, so they created a modernization program to create an upgrade plan and path to get outdated equipment up to today’s standards.

Over the past four years with the economy not doing very well, manufacturers may have left any upgrade plan hidden in the closet because of cost constraints. But with the economy on the cusp of change, manufacturers need to as productive as possible.

“As we turn the corner to recovery, manufacturers need to make sure they are ready to get the most out of their system,” said Dave Gaertner, modernization practice director at Invensys. “Industry has talked about manufacturing and business system integration for years. The technology is now here.”

One of the main pillars of modernization is ensuring a secure environment. Most of these legacy systems went online before cyber security was a factor in the equation. It is now so Invensys wants to create a secure environment through:
• Cyber intrusion avoidance
• Intrusion detection
• Hardening
• Integration to active directories

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