IA Insider: Automation and Control

Automation Company Yokogawa Back On The Growth Track

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Moving Outside Japan: Initial Steps by Segments

For the Industrial Automation and Control (IAC) business over the next four years, their regional targets will be the BRIC countries, Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania: new frontiers and sales channels will be opened in Africa, Central Asia and South America. Their strong Japanese home market position will be defended by offering services that enhance productivity, safety, energy saving and environmental conservation, plus using their system integration capabilities, including third party products, for production management and control systems. An expansion into the new market of high performance materials for secondary batteries is also planned.

The industry focus will be on their target industries of oil and gas field development and production (upstream), electric power and speciality chemicals: Yokogawa plan to set up centres of excellence in Japan, Singapore, the USA and Europe, to bring together industry-specific control expertise. This will include energy saving and plant energy management in Japan, gas drilling in the United States and Europe, oil drilling in the Middle East, fine chemicals in Germany, and electric power in Australia. They also plan to actively enter the renewable energy market including biomass, geothermal, wind, and solar heat power generation.

The most competitive Yokogawa sensor products are seen as the pressure/DP transmitters and the process gas analysers: rather than in-house developments, Yokogawa say they will consider expanding the sensor product line via alliances and acquisitions.

Business Structural Reform: Concentration on Automation

A theme throughout the presentation is an emphasis on globalization of the business, and also of avoiding the previous problems with the exchange rate, which made the Japanese operations expensive. More of the production, engineering, R&D and administration will be transferred to group operations outside Japan, and international procurement expanded. The system for “recruiting and utilizing human resources from other countries” will be strengthened, and the human resources development system improved, to allow the dynamic transfer of personnel between group companies, including the Japan HQ.

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* Nick Denbow is the editor of Indsutry Automation Insider