Emerson Global Users Exchange Let's Do Better: How to Improve Project Performance

Author / Editor: Dr. Jörg Kempf / Dr. Jörg Kempf

Are you too struggling with high project expenses and extended targets? To overcome outdated project approaches and to promote the process industries, Emerson Process Management has dedicated itself to this objective and this also was the central theme of the Global Users Exchange 2016 in Brussels. A keyword that was propagated again and again: “Project Certainty”.

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The figures are mind boggling: According to industry data, 65 % of projects worth more than one billion dollar fail, meaning that companies exceed their budgets by more than 25 % or miss their schedules by more than 50 %.
The figures are mind boggling: According to industry data, 65 % of projects worth more than one billion dollar fail, meaning that companies exceed their budgets by more than 25 % or miss their schedules by more than 50 %.
(Picture/Source: Emerson Process Management/IPA)

Admittedly, it was surely peculiar that heavily armed military forces were on patrol at Brussels Central station — as everywhere else nowadays in Europe’s capital city — and also the tighter security checks, which one had to undergo before registration, were an — unplanned — novelty for the Emerson Global Users Exchange 2016, which took place for the third time in Europe after the ones in Dusseldorf/Germany (2012) and in Stuttgart/Germany (2014).

Despite this, around 1000 visitors found their way to the “Square Congress Center” from April 12th to 14th, just three weeks after the dreadful terrorist attacks and the tragic events in Brussels, in order to exchange views on process automation, process optimization as well as operational excellence. Therefor, this year’s event took place under the motto “New Reality. New Opportunity”.

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The three-day program of the conference included around 150 presentations, which covered a broad spectrum of topics, more than 70 percent of which were contributed by users/operators who shared their experiences with the participants. This fact underlined the requirement of the event: the users should learn and benefit from each other, based on success stories, best practice tips and proven project solutions. The common objective was to operate more effectively and efficiently with the help of automation solutions.

In this context, Roel van Doren, President of Emerson Process Management Europe, pointed out the huge leverage effect of process automation. Van Doren especially emphasized the effects on project business, which is becoming increasingly more complex in spite of traditionally only around four percent of project investments going into automation. The consulting firm Independent Project Analysis (IPA) demonstrated the sensitive nature of the issue with the following figures, which were presented at the event:

  • Every year billions of dollars are wasted due to exceeding project durations in the oil extraction or the gas extraction and production, hydrocarbon and gas treatment, chemical industry, pharmaceutics and other process industries.
  • 65 percent of the projects of over one billion dollars falter.
  • Companies exceed their budgets by more than 25 percent or miss their targets by more than 50 percent.
  • Operational problems usually occur up until the second operating year.

The IPA–analysts concluded that this downright poor project performance often causes manufacturing to refrain from new investments.

Emerson wants to handle this problem now — the magic word is “Project Certainty”. This slogan summarizes the certainty with which the complexity in projects can be overcome. “The industry is at a turning point. Projects are not viable due to the current overrun of budget and target”, said Jim Nyquist, President of Emerson Process Managements Systems and Solution Business. “In order to achieve groundbreaking project performance, a transformative and comprehensive approach like Project Certainty is needed.”

But, what exactly does “Project Certainty” mean? Continued on the next page ...

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