Weblog - Invensys

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Invensys in decline - read the original article.
Invensys was formed by Allen Yurko, after UK-based Siebe merged with BTR. Siebe had previously acquired Foxboro, Wonderware, Eurotherm and several others. When growth eluded Yurko, he merged Siebe with BTR, another UK hodge-podge, and changed the name to Invensys. With further decline, Yurko bought BAAN, a bankrupt Dutch software company. Invensys continued a downward spiral.

Allen Yurko was booted out and Rick Haythornthwaite was brought in as CEO in October 2001. Haythornthwaite could not halt the slide and sold off the best parts of Invensys to raise money. In June 2005, Haythornthwaite exited, leaving Invensys in the care of hired-gun Ulf Henriksson, who joined as COO in April 2004 from Eaton, with a "golden hello" worth more than £ 2m in cash and shares. But then, after a series of unexplained decisions and mistakes, he was fired in March 2011, just before fiscal year end. Now what?

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Invensys in Decline
updated Sept. 2003
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Weblog Comments - Invensys

Invensys weblogs discontinued, effective immediately

The Invensys weblogs were initially started for the Industrial Automation and Process Controls side of Invensys - since that is my primary interest. Over the past couple of years, Invensys Rail has become a major part of the message flow, 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. In some cases, it's clear that just a couple of individuals are contributing a majority of the negativity. I have often eliminated some 10-20% of the blogs due to inclusion of names and offensive content.

In one recent case, no name was included but, from the context, it was clear who was being referred to. That individual wrote to me pointing out that I had allowed this, and that it caused him and his spouse some distress. I felt that it was I who had made the mistake in allowing that message to be published. There have been other instances.

In any event, this was the trigger that caused this weblog to be discontinued. I put in a lot of work and get nothing positive in return. As someone suggested, "Negativity breeds negativity!". So, this is a signal for me to stop publication.

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

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


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

According to the very indiscreet Riddett, our CEO is nowhere near as capable as his predecessor Henriksson and both he and the CFO, David Thomas won't last this year. Can you believe, Riddett actually thinks that his relationship with Sir Nigel Rudd might result in him being CEO of Invensys? This is the guy that tried to take a cab from Brisbane to Melbourne.

Monday, March 26, 2012 - RE: Obadia stated in his last town hall to IRAP he wanted transparency and for all to be treated well:

Within a year he has done at least 50 town hall meetings in IRAP. By transparency he mean sharing his academic powerpoints with the whole team and wasting their time. Nobody has any idea what is happening in IRAP business, what he has achieved for a year. People always see Obadia running and nosing around the office in addition to his appointed black forces. Yes, he treats all southern Europeans very well, especially the Spanish and French. Looks like a Guzman.

Monday, March 26, 2012 - RE: IRAP Redundancies - time to sack HR in Australia - what a debacle!

The old HR director in Australia has been redundant for the last 8 months. The HR power is now with the young IRAP HR VP based in Singapore.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Neither the standard delivery model nor the lines of business structure really exist in Rail. Just a smoke screen from Riddett so it looks like he is actually doing something. In reality, Riddett and his expensive IRG add no value whatsoever. Every Rail BU is structured differently and delivers differently. In fact BUs don't actually deliver the same products or services. Couldn't be more different. Lines of business are headed up by unknown junior managers with only local knowledge of the BU they are based in.

It's sad to see Rail hit these new lows, but probably understandable when you look at the total lack of leadership capability. Riddett is the worst kind of liability, a fool who thinks he's clever.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Happened to visit this website and feel sad to read most of these weblogs.

I have been working with IR Austrlia, IR Chippenham and IR Dimetronic and IR Beijing office, and feel good for the cooperation for most of the time, although I think there are some communications that should be improved for better understanding.

The standard delivery model maybe is difficult, but since all of the equipments are standard products, why is there no basic standard project proposal? The site engineering maybe has some specific requirements but this is not the key issue. Anyway, A Project is application of the Equipment.

I have also some friends/classmates worked in CNPE, the feedback for the cooperation with IOM is also OK, the main issue for contract cost increasing is maybe because of strong RMB/USD exchange rate?

Invensys' stock market valuation is just about 2B Pounds, Hollysys' is also about 500MUSD. If China market is well managed, the share and value of China Market valuation of Invensys should be at least 1B Pounds. This is the key problem. Invensys has mature (maybe not advanced) railway signalling and NC technology/products but cannot manage and adapt to China market.

But, I don't think Invensys marketing guys understand what is the typical feature of China Market. I think most of this type of Market should be very similar: the customer relationship and different level of politics should be well managed and deeply involved. So, in order to realize this 1B pounds stock market valuation, Invensys maybe should treat China Zone (in the future maybe India Zone) for another 1B stock market valuation realization) as a very high level local center with very strong local Marketing & R&D & Manufacture & Project Delivery department etc, all these above resources should be followed with the market. It is a strategy issue.

So many rumors showed that the shareholder of ISYS just want to quit the exiting businesses, I just wonder whether there is coming winning days of its China Market (and India Market in future).

A sincerity cooperator.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Well, every now and then I'm checking by and reading through the posts in this weblog - and I start wondering. I'm with Invensys now for more than 20 years and each time I come here I wonder if this is the same company that is written about here as the one I'm working for. My impression is that this weblog is mostly for people who are disappointed for several (maybe good) reasons and are looking for some place to let the steam off. This is not the Invensys I know and work for.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - Re: To the Nuclear Engineer who just posted about blowing the whistle and contacting the NRC. Do you really feel that was the best option?

In rail, I was a Director who took the internal approach of attempting to handle a serious safety issue like this directly with Executive management. It went absolutely nowhere. It resulted in a personal decision of me not wanting to be associated with a company that cared more about sales than it did about safety, so I simply quit.

Safety is a serious issue in rail, and when Executive management discounts the seriousness of safety of an entire industry because it's more concerned with sales, it didn't leave much room for me to do otherwise.

I totally understand going directly to the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction). Maybe that's what I should have done. Maybe that's what I still should do.

Sunday, March 25, 2012 - To the Nuclear Engineer who just posted about blowing the whistle and contacting the NRC.

Do you really feel that was the best option? Did you at least try to express your concern internally to management first? You probably could have talked directly to Mike Caliel about it -- he seems approachable and probably would have thanked you. I can't imagine them firing you for expressing concerns about safety. Probably a good thing for you that you lawyered up with a drastic move like the one you just made.

Saturday, March 24, 2012 - For the blogger who lambasted me about not whistle blowing on the things going on at China Nuclear.

Of course, I feel obligated to see if the broken system will correct itself. However, patience only lasts so long. Therefore; yesterday Friday 23, 2012, I filled a 13 page allegation with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission outlining all the potential violations at China Nuclear. In addition, I have hired a Law firm that specializes in whistle-blower actions to advise me and protect me from any retribution from IOM management.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

IRAP Redundancies - time to sack HR in Australia - what a debacle!

People on Thursday were told that the pay out would be in their bank account by Friday afternoon -it's Sunday and they still have not been paid. Will HR actually ever do the right thing? This is not the first redundancy they have had to do. I hope the managers are actually taking notes.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Obadia stated in his last town hall to IRAP he wanted transparency and for all to be treated well - he makes a great politician as neither happened. HR director is on a power trip and enjoying laying staff off it is disgusting. People have been treated with no respect whatsoever, the Executive team (who have always acted like like teenagers are now behaving like 10 yr. olds going to a birthday party). To the staff that are left, jump ship now - it's only going to get worse. I am totally ashamed I once worked for Invensys Rail . Bring on the litigation. Treat this company how they have treated staff for years, with no concern or respect Thanks for making me redundant.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What is Riddett going to do about standard delivery model. There is nothing standard in Rail. In IRNE engineering reports into the project delivery team and is completely independent in IRSE and IRAP. In IRSE the delivery commercial activity is done by project delivery people and in IRNE is a separate commercial function that also includes bidding ! Absolutely nothing in common.

Don't even get me started on lines of business. That doesn't exist in Rail except on PowerPoint. R&D is a shambles with pseudo Spanish ownership until things are late then it's somebody else's fault.

The IRG HQ function now consists as expensive people providing no added value and who work from home even when they live near the office. Riddett has an office in Louisville, London and Chippenham. This extravagance could be justified if he had a double-digit brain cell count, but he has really become a comedy figure across the global Rail organisation.

Friday, March 23, 2012 - Re: Redundancies in IRAP

Sounds like Australia is just catching up with the US in the way they axe people. That's why human beings were renamed "human resources".

Well, we do have some idiot called Riddett at the helm - so no surprises there. But the cut of redundancy entitlements took us all by surprise - rumours of a class action are rife.

Brisbane redundancies yesterday started at 2pm so the news could not reach Melbourne people in time — they even called someone in from their day off, asked them to DRIVE into the office - a total disgrace.

The business development team in Brisbane has being decimated, with 2 redundancies and one resignation. The team now consists of 2.5 so the question is without an actual team of WORKERS how are we suppose to win bids? Answer: we are not. Australian operations will slowly be closed down. Time to get out and leave this life-sucking company, me thinks.

Friday, March 23, 2012

I just heard that IOM had a division sliced off and sold to Starbucks! The statement was made that Starbucks wanted to in-house its expresso machines and setup barista automation. Two questions:

  1. Is the technology safe enough? A faulty coffee cup cost McDonalds millions when it drained the refreshing, yet scalding, beverage on a woman's lap. What will happen with an automated espresso machine? Possibly Chernobyl times 10.
  2. Will us IOM resources now get Starbucks employee discounts? I doubt the engineers will because they are expendable. Cognizant may only get a half-discount to reflect their low offshore rates and production. But us Leaders should get something significant.
These are serious concerns, so please do not respond with insults about ObiWanJebedia or Kermit Ribbett's piss-poor leadership skills or the money they are spending on their spouses during The Spanish Inquisition trip. Believe me, an Executive retreat in a 3rd-world country is no picnic. They'll all most likely come back with Montezuma's revenge and when you are as full of it as most of them are, that combination could easily lead to extreme weight loss and depression. Then that little coffee discount won't be so appealing to them then, huh.

Please answer responsibly.

Friday, March 23, 2012

IRAP redundancies in Brisbane continues - 3 more - Melbourne guys do the numbers!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The depth of idiocy at Demontronics was not really known until recently when they visited us in California. It is appalling that people who know as little about railroading as they do about speaking English are possibly going to be allowed to run all of R&D. In a way, I'm glad that it happened this way, as it as just the motivation I needed to fix up the resume and prepare my exit. Another engineer leaving, I'm sure this will make the execs happy. They'll have room to keep raising the DNA of the company as they did with all their exec hires to date.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Good to see IRNE performing consistently year on year by withholding payments to suppliers at year end again. What happened to the NR fair payment charter?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

There is something very wrong in the way Invensys Rail is trying to restructure itself. I think all employees understand that costs need to be controlled. However, the so called BIP just seems to be an endless series of minor redundancies spanning almost a year. Why can't we just get on and complete the restructuring, and then focus on growth? Morale has virtually collapsed with this death by a thousand cuts and productivity is at an all time low. Yet we have to listen to a complete moron called Kevin Riddett, talking complete rubbish together with other IRG people who are paid a lot for absolutely nothing. Standard delivery model? Lines of business? Riddett couldn't explain or make sense of anything. Absolutely nothing has changed and it's just a load of powerpoint.

Meanwhile the endless and sometimes pointless BIP goes on.

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - Re: Redundancies in IRAP

Sounds like Australia is just catching up with the US in the way they axe people. That's why human beings were renamed "human resources". Good business practice dictates that they be dealt with like any other excess "resource". It's no game for woosys. Ask Mitt.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Michel Obadia and IRAP Singapore HR haven't learnt the lesson "don't do upon others what you don‚t want others to do onto you". Aussie folks, chins up; screw up the projects and teach them a lesson why moving the HQ to Singapore is a huge mistake. Once Obadia is removed, we will see the day the HQ is returned to Australia. In the first place, in all honesty, what's the use of being in Singapore anyway?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Well, the beginning of another round of redundancies in IRAP. Shame, shame, shame on HR - not allowed to send farewell emails to work colleagues; supervised exits; thanks but don't come back. That's it, for years of devotion and all this so as not to let other people in Melbourne know the numbers.

So, here they are; 1 in Perth, 4 in Sydney, 4 out of R&D Brisbane, 1 out of marketing, 1 admin and even the store man. Did they forget we have mobile phones? Access to social media?. All this before lunch and more to come tomorrow. Michel Obadia, you said you wanted this done "straight" - this is a disgrace. People are made to feel like lepers, and if you trusted us to do the work for years surely you can trust us enough to say a proper goodbye. Time to sack HR in Australia.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It is $500+M in pension? I just can't understand - What is the pension policy of Invensys? Why is there such a huge pension liability?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - re: Invensys has no debt and makes a profit every year, so how can it possibly go bankrupt?"

"Debt" is not the only thing that forces bankruptcy, and to say there is no debt is just lying to yourself and to others. What about the $500+M in pension issues that looms? What about the financial ramifications of all the BIG HITTER projects that many have posted about on this blog that must be dealt with soon? Then add to that the poor Executive Management, continued poor decision making, the trend of losing core talent across all business segments, an overall deplorable R & D pipeline, customers being forced to find alternative products/services, etc. These don't even touch the poor overall organization of the company, nor the famed HR "group", nor all the back-stabbing that goes on. The fact is, none of this is new, and it's been trending negatively for some time now.

Monday, March 19, 2012 - re: "does anyone know whether there is any active attempt to sell Invensys?"

This was a serious question. Invensys has no debt and makes a profit every year, so how can it possibly go bankrupt? Before the refinancing and restructuring Invensys was close to collapse. Billions in debt and losing money fast. Even then it didn't go bankrupt, so why will it now? Please offer some evidence to back up your claim.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rail is also a ticking bomb, with Riddett insisting that problems don't exist and demanding increases to forecasts even though they are not real. He seems incapable of understanding numbers and I'm told just mumbles requests for more. He won't listen to anything we tell him and just refers us to Jesus Guzman for decisions. It's pointless pretending IRAP is a BU as we simply do what Dimetronic say while Riddett watches on, helpless.

Monday, March 19, 2012 - RE: "Another time bomb is ticking in IOM"

That was an ominous and ridiculously vague post. If there is something going on, why don't you actually give us some real information?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Another time bomb is ticking in IOM (like China Nuclear). The country leaders and others are busy trying to cover up. Millions of dollars would be gone in no time. No realisation so far.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 re: "does anyone know whether there is any active attempt to sell Invensys?"

This was meant as a joke, right? The way things stand right now, everyone is satisfied waiting to buy their little piece of Invensys at bankruptcy court.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 - Re: "is this the end of the off shoring experiment?"

Not by a long shot. A huge restructuring effort is quietly being implemented. Mexicali to WP. Monaco to Sterberk. Belluno to Qingdao. Controls NA is shutting down the Annex (UL Certified lab). Some personnel and equipment being moved to main building. Clean room that was moved from Holland, MI will go to Matamoros. Electronics group will be shut down and the work will be outsourced.

The three engineers that left recently (1 in October, 2 in the last two weeks) will be replaced with engineers in Matamoros. They did interview people in Carol Stream, but that was simply a dog and pony show.

Our management thinks we are stupid and treats us as such. Now that the job market opening up, more people will vote with their feet.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

So, does anyone know whether there is any active attempt to sell Invensys? Is this ultimately what the board is aiming for and does anyone have any evidence to support this? It does seem strange that none of the big players in this field hasn't shown interest in acquiring a business that, for all its faults, does still make a profit year-in-year-out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Barcelona? Sir Nigel Rudd has lost the plot. Should not happen. If US Executives are allowed to bring partners then we are looking at embarrassing stupidity. Terrible behavior and disastrous business results. Seems the Invensys problem starts at the top.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do not forget it was at this very same sales event last year that a notification was sent by Wayne Edmonds office to the attendees; absolutely no kids were allowed to be at Hawaii, even if parents pay and some missed attending Hawaii, despite all the hard work we put in. And then we learnt that Mr. Edmonds were there with his two daughters in a luxury suite next to my colleague. The executives are all the same and no compliance to rules. Ask him to tell this was not true if he can.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is this the end of the off shoring experiment? Invensys Controls is closing a factory in Mexico and transferring the work to West Plains, Missouri.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ironically despite what Invensys says, it would still be cheaper to cancel Barcelona than to go ahead. Guess the party goes on - including golf, massages and a visit to Barcelona FC. Tough at the top of a faltering business. Can't wait until the AGM.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I thought Rail was the issue, but IOM seems to be a disaster. If half of the posts below are true then things will get worse.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - re: "rather than banter about the short comings, look to do something positive and constructive."

You can tell this poster is likely either Executive Management, or someone "camping out in their job" because that is the trade mark response all over Invensys, especially in Safetran. It all comes from idiots running the company and not trusting and empowering the dedicated employees that have spent a lifetime in the industry, who know damn well and good how to make positive things happen. Rather than Executive Management empowering their work force, they "direct" action, with absolutely no working knowledge of how to actually and successfully complete the task at hand. Then they DO empower HR to get into the middle of operational decision making to make sure that every employee understands who wears the pants in the family.

Well, I think I can safely say that this will all end like the Progressive Auto Insurance commercial where Safetran's pants spontaneously burst into flame.

This is not the way Safetran built it's business. Things began to go down hill when they sold out to chaps that run things VERY DIFFERENTLY.

Do you think there is a reason why our ancestors left Europe to find a new beginning in America? Do you think Safetran Executives (and other Invensys Executives) have sold their souls to work against the very machine their ancestors were trying to get away from? And what about Invensys selling it's soul to China? This looks pretty ugly, but it's what companies do when they have lost your way.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Re : To the blogger :"The biggest problem is IOM management seen $$$$ signs, and anything can be done for enough money."

We don't have to look at sales of control systems. What about food produced in China for personal consumption? The tainted milk melamine scandal, fresh meat that can glow in the dark or exploding water melons as a result unethical farmers over-applying insecticide? It is not hard to find blogs in China reporting this. Is this the same as a seller only interested in the dollar sign?

Further to your point, while tainted milk and exploding watermelons are tragic occurrences that should be avoided; do you have ANY MAGNITUDE of the loss of life and the 1000+ years of cleanup a Fukushima type meltdown causes? Just look at Chernobyl as your example. I don't see Disney wanting to build a theme park there, "come ride the Radiation Express, it's sure to kill (I mean thrill) you!"

You really need to get you priorities in focus, exploding watermelons? We will just sell them to Gallagher I am sure he will find a humorous use for them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stop complaining about Barcelona! I finally get a chance to take my wife on a great, free vacation(spousal travel is approved in US) and you jerks are going to screw me out of it! Please stop and consider how your rants on this blog could affect one of your coworkers vacation plans, then maybe you won't be so selfish.

Oh, and to the nuclear engineer who said like the Japanese disaster "x 8". Seriously? And your brilliant idea was NOT to go public or be a whistleblower, which could potentially affect your salary or worse, prove you vastly incorrect, but (according to you) save scores of lives; no, your genius dictated that you post anonymously on a primarily employees-only blog. You got one thing right - nuclear engineers are just sad.

Back to packing! Now, where'd I put that bathing suit?

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Re: "The biggest problem is IOM management seen $$$$ signs."

Re: I assume that this blogger is working in the nuclear project.

Yes, I have been intimately involved for over a year, although, my participation in this enterprise is coming to an end for ethical reasons. You can only bang your head against the wall so many times.

Re: I could be stereotyping that this blogger is from China.

That's a funny one. I told you earlier that I spent several years in atomic weapons manufacture and subsequent stewardship. Believe me, we figured it out. I am all American. Once again this was not the most fulfilling use of human endeavors. I get the same feeling from China Nuclear.

No, if I was CNPE I would cancel the Invensys project and purchase a control system from Areva. You remember the Chinese are just copying an existing Areva design that has been in service for many years. Areva has a purpose built reactor protection system just for this plant design.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Re : To the blogger :"The biggest problem is IOM management seen $$$$ signs, and anything can be done for enough money."

I assume that this blogger is working in the nuclear project. Next, I could be stereotyping that this blogger is from China. I am willing to wrong in my assumptions...

Invensys Operation Management is NOT the only company to be accused of having interest only in the dollar sign($$$).I have also personally seen and witness a competitor of Invensys, with a very large current & newly installed DCS based, cohered and colluded with the end-user to specs out Triconex, even though the the competition safety system is less than ideal in system architecture.

We don't have to look at sales of control systems. What about food produced in China for personal consumption? The tainted milk melamine scandal, fresh meat that can glow in the dark or exploding water melons as a result unethical farmers over applying insecticide ? It is not hard to find blogs in China reporting this. Is this the same as a seller only interested in the dollar sign?

It takes two clap a hand. A seller and buyer who is willing to accept it. Selling to China (i.e. Chinese end-users) are more complex and less straight forward. There are no such thing as a perfect system to begin with. Some specs written especially by Chinese end-users are simply not practical, achievable but with difficulties and try to cover everything under the sun. I guess this is a method of self preservation of their own position and job security.

If you genuinely feels that the Foxboro I/A and the Tricon specs "will fail" the Chinese test miserably, rather than banter about the short comings, look to do something positive and constructive if you are involved in the projects.

In the quest of the Chinese Government ambitious plans to build more railway lines and more nuclear power plants, then can there be other "better" INSTANT technology currently that can pass the "Chinese test"? Can the Chinese Government wait for more "mature" solutions to appear?

Finally, if you feel that there is a better China made systems like Hollysys, Xinhua Control, Sunnytech and Supcon currently out there that the China Nuclear Plants SINOPEC or CNOOC can trust to deliver major turn-key projects, well I would say think again at this current moment. It will take a long, long time to achieve a creditable reputation. These local Chinese DCS companies should start innovating and stop the imitation and copying of foreign control systems.

That is why currently you will find Hollysys systems being used to do Tank Farm monitoring while foreign DCS are used to control the main process in a SINOPEC plant OR maybe it can be used to control a Chinese government sponsored refinery in countries like Burma or Iran where there are international trade sanctions involved.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Re: The biggest concern is the 2.5 years behind schedule

Another thing I would like to address - I have seen this bantered about in Tricon sales material and it was definitely sold to the Chinese that the Tricon is certified by the USNRC for use. This couldn't be farther from the truth. The USNRC is a regulatory branch of the US government. They are not in the business in CERTIFYING commercial manufacturer's equipment. The USNRC would never take on the liability. The USNRC does look at the testing and certification done by a manufacturer such as Tricon and says, "Under certain circumstances, in the right applications, with the right equipment set, this may be installed. However, it is the responsibility of the licensee (utility) to prove it to us (USNRC)".

That is why you only have seen Tricon's used in the least critical applications in US commercial nuclear plants such as turbine control (which is non-safety). After reviewing the testing submitted to the USNRC (this is public domain material) the Tricon has many, many weaknesses and failures. In addition, the Chinese requirements for testing greatly exceed the Tricon testing done for the USNRC. Do you really expect a different answer? To redesign the Tricon to pass, if it can pass, will take by estimates at least an additional year.

This is not to mention the Foxboro I/A equipment that was sold with the Tricon which is made to a much less stringent standard. From testing published by Foxboro, the I/A equipment will fail the Chinese requirements miserably. Talk about selling a pig. The biggest problem is IOM management seen $$$$ signs, and anything can be done for enough money. Not when you are talking about redesigning your entire product lines.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Continuing poor judgement from our leadership. £60m profit warning but then spending millions in an Executive meeting in Barcelona. Very naive and thoughtless as employees lose their jobs. Sounds like HR influence continues to get it wrong. Still Wayne is supposed to be in charge.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - An answer to this question: Whether our Chinese friends already know these or not?

These problems are being hidden as much as possible from the Chinese, although, a Chinese nuclear requirement HAF604 is putting pressure on IOM to STOP delivering product without the proper certification/paperwork.

QA procedures where?

IOM has a global quality program and a handful of specific procedures reworked for China Nuclear. These procedures are direct copies of the standards used in the US. In addition, the contract specifies that the supplier MUST conform the standards of the country of origin in this case the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (USNRC). Once the USNRC is informed about all these violations I am sure they will descend on Foxboro like a plague. This is my opinion after 30 years in the US commercial nuclear industry. There is NO way the USNRC would allow a project this important to be run so haphazardly.

But who should be responsible for the project delay?

The delay is clearly shared on both sides. However, IOM does not have to intestinal fortitude to simply explain to the Chinese that IOM is making a one-of-a-kind system. In essence, IOM is reverse engineering efforts on an Areva design. You know what happens when you reverse engineer someone else's. IOM inherits all the same errors. I told IOM management to explain it simply; you can get your reactor protection system (RPS) in a year and it will blow up in your (Chinese) face in 6 months, or you can wait until we stop this roller coaster and get the RPS in three years and it will last for 50 years. It's your choice.

Whether another similar Fukushima Accident will happen in China in the future?

I have a degree in Nuclear Engineering (NE) and 30 years experience (including a stint at an atomic bomb plant). I never met one NE at Foxboro. IOM is rushing full steam ahead with incomplete designs not understanding the dynamics of nuclear reactors. Yes, we are looking at Fukushima times 8. I am very, very sad at my chosen profession.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Edmunds is well meaning and of much higher intellect compared to Hendriksson. However, poor judgements like Barcelona will not help his tenure. He also needs to get on and make the necessary changes to poor leadership appointed by his predecessor. Worrying about too much change is not helpful when the business is tanking. Change is needed and should not be left until too late.

Monday, March 12, 2012 - Re: The biggest concern is the 2.5 years behind schedule

My God, whether our Chinese friends already know these or not? QA procedures where? But who should be responsible for the project delay? Whether another similar Fukushima Accident will happen in China in the future?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

So we're about a year into Wayne's tenure, and all that's changed is that the stock price is underwater and, if anything, the organisation is more confused. Go anywhere in Invensys and you'll find the same sorry story: endless reorganisations, inexplicable Peter-principle promotions, clueless management flying the world to circles of excellence which are anything but. Incredible that world leading brands and products - Foxboro, Wonderware and the rest - are floundering in the dirt, following attempts to integrate them, which were obviously doomed to failure. Lions led by donkeys.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

With business FALLING and LOSS making, still Barcelona is a MUST? Get rid of cronies immediately. Clean up APAC, Sing - they have different rules? So called leaders with no idea of ground realities and no inkling of customer requirements. Get rid of them. Remember the Golden Rule - "Without customers we do not exist". Stop this Barcelona extravaganza!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Gentlemen, you are always looking for an IOM post, here are my thoughts.

IOM is currently embroiled in the China Nuclear project. For those of you who don't know, it is a nearly $ 1B project to provide a complete reactor protection system and controls to eight (8) Areva design nuclear plants currently under construction.

The first two (2) control systems are 2.5 years behind schedule and as of public announcements from IOM management it is $70-80M in the red. The projection, by IOM's own accounting is these projects will be lost losers. My question is, can a $3-4B company take a bath on a $1B project? I think not.

My biggest concern is the 2.5 years behind schedule; this is causing serious errors on judgment in safety and quality. For example, IOM is pressing full steam ahead manufacturing equipment without purchasing orders and/or specifications (not even to consider correct specifications). IOM does so much work over, it's one step forward and two steps back. All under the guise that IOM can release conditional releases and fix it later.

The last example was the main control room, back-up panels and emergency shutdown panels from Tecnatom through a sub-vendor. These panels passed the sub-vendors QA, Tecnatom QA, and the illustrious IOM QA, and delivered to China Site. Only then was it discovered by the customer that the wrong specified cable was used (thousands and thousands of meters to be replaced).

I can go on and on, like the sub-vendor supplying class IE equipment has been working for over a year without a purchase order. Now I don't expect people not in the business to understand, but in the nuclear industry we have a stringent QA program based on 18 criteria to prevent these things.

When I personally was asked to write a corrective/preventive action on sub-vendors performing safety-related work without a IOM purchase order or specification, I asked what part of the 18 criteria do you want me to write against? They violated them ALL.

IOM China Nuclear makes a regime change every 6-8 months. The latest "brilliant" idea was the Project Command Center PCC. Staffed seven days a week, 12 hours a day to keep a pulse on the project. What a joke! People need to wake up and see China Nuclear is dragging down the company and at best IOM is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. China Nuclear has already hit the iceberg and the bridge is under water.

The last thing: Many at IOM have told me that the USNRC doesn't care what happens in China Nuclear because it's going to China. THIS IS WRONG! China Nuclear uses the same QA system and QA management as other parts of Invensys including Triconex, which does sell directly to US Nuclear Utilities. So what makes a regulator think that, just because IOM QA management lets China Nuclear run wild and violate every policy and procedure, that there is not a trickle down affect in other IOM businesses. My next call will be to the USNRC.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Invensys lost £ 60M in IOM china nuclear projects and £ 20M with cost overruns in Invensys Rail. Yet we spend millions flying executives all round the world to meet in Barcelona next month. Worse still, following that, different regions will start organizing their own annual conferences to discuss their AOP. Take for instance IOM APAC that flew in more than 300 Sales, SCM and Delivery executives to meet last year in Singapore Sentosa island resort for their Annual Sales Bootcamp. Is this how we spend millions? What a load of crap! I thought there was one time our CEO and CFO were forcefully encouraging use of video conferences and teleconferences. Double standards.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Project Tiger is a Chinese project. The corresponding Invensys project is Project Deer. Riddett's idea was to put both projects in a large cage and see what type of merger occurs. Early predictions are a fatter Project Tiger and a thinner Project Deer.

Why didn't our Aussie friends put Riddett in that Brisbane can and just drive him around for a couple of months? The stock price may actually recover by then!

Friday, March 9, 2012

To stop using Cognizant is a big mistake for the UK. IRNE unlike IRSE is quite comfortable with woking with emerging market partners and saving money. IRSE is only interested in preserving Spanish jobs. The bigger Invensys situation is not important to them.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Invensys is a dead brand, our customers cannot even spell it. It's stupid. For the sake of pride PLEASE refer to Westinghouse, Safetran, Dimetronic etc. in future posts.

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - RE: As a shareholder I will be at the AGM and will want answers from Sir Nigel Rudd as to why he allowed an expensive senior management get-together in Barcelona.

This expenditure is nothing compared to the IRAP MD's & his newly appointed teams expenditure on travelling and meetings across APAC on a weekly basis. It is more than a year and no return benefits on this yet. Almost everything is being reinvented.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I don't know about any secret Project Tiger. But, according to Riddett, Wayne is in China this week trying to do the deal to sell our IP for something that will boost the stock price before the year end results show how bad things are. Riddett says that Wayne is under huge pressure to recover the stock price with some good news.

Thursday, March 8, 2012 - To all Rail bloggers.

Stop wasting your time posting about Riddett. It's widely known that he is an embarrassment to American Executives in Invensys. This guy actually turned up in Melbourne Australia and tried to get a cab to Brisbane! For those unsure, that's over a thousand miles. That is what really makes us fellow Americans want to hang our head in shame.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

If Riddett is correct and the cash conversion in Rail is as low as 25%, then this once jewel in the Invensys crown is well and truly in deep trouble. This division averaged over 80%. If you've met Riddett you will not be surprised. He has been at the helm for a year and a half now as he was appointed COO in Oct 2010 and since then things have deteriorated almost month on month. No cash equals no real trading profit. Most fools know this. Riddett is still learning. Can we afford to wait for him ? Can Edmunds and Thomas afford to ignore the obvious?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Riddett has publicly requested all Rail BUs to stop using Cognizant. This is largely because Jesus Guzman told him to do it. In the UK we want to continue as although Cognizant sometimes promise more than they deliver, they are a good technology partner. However as far as R&D is concerned, we do whatever Spain wants, and with over 20% unemployment in Spain this means paying people to leave in the UK and recruiting the same roles in Madrid.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The stories about Dimetronic's partner Fermak are true. The executive team have been arrested for bribery and corruption and the CEO is on the run. Dimetronic has recently won several public tenders for Rail projects with Fermak in Turkey.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Why does your organisation speak harshly of us at Cognizant? This is senseless. We did proper work and completed numerous projects for Rail. You have no product that is new without us. I think Mr. Riddet will make you come back. We are not holding hard feelings against you. We want to be your partner. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

As a long-time railroader, who still proudly wears The Lazy S, I'm disgusted by the contents of this blog! Our own employees are bantering about ex-employees, then seemingly validate all of their reasons for leaving in the first place. Why are we giving these people the satisfaction of knowing they got out "while the gettin' was good", and all of us are dumb enough to stick around a sinking ship or crashing plane or antiquated company or any of the other phrases mentioned in here?

We are not embarrassing them; they have left. We are embarrassing ourselves and we look like petty "newbies", completely out of touch with reality. Who's the real idiot? Riddett, or all of us that stick around and follow him into the fire?

Luckily, I have my railroad retirement, but Safetran turned out to be a lot more important to me than just a second career. I have made real friends here and I really don't see all this doom and gloom. But even if it is there, isn't it just simpler to leave? You guys seem to have a lot of answers, so wouldn't other companies pay dearly for employees that smart? Why stay here, and post this venom so that the ones who left (that seem to be so bad) can read this and laugh at us for staying behind? Why give them the satisfaction of knowing they had such a strong impact on your lives?

I like my job and the company. I don't agree with all it does, but I'm still here and I still get my paycheck every week. I don't focus on the ones who left, and I certainly would never let anyone I disliked know how bad they ruined my career or hurt my morale, especially if I thought they would find that funny! I don't believe most predictions about the future and, as a former railroader, I know my friends who remain, our customers, don't think all of our products are crap. They like a lot of the products we make, including the new stuff.

I don't know who this "everyone" is that every poster (positive and negative) seems to speak for. But, when having happy hour drinks within my circle of co-workers, none of you on here speak for us, so that's at least 6 IRNA employees that none of you speak for.

I don't expect this post to change anything on this blog, but I did want the silent readers to know that not everyone is represented by the passionate few who keep this blog on their Favorites bar. Now I'll go focus my prayers on Congress passing the surface transportation bill, hopefully that is something we can all agree on!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

There are a lot of rumours and some press reports that Invensys Dimetronics partner in Turkey, Fermak has had it's company officers including the CEO arrested for bribery and corruption on bids. Google and see.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

As a shareholder I will be at the AGM and will want answers from Sir Nigel Rudd as to why he allowed an expensive senior management get-together in Barcelona and why we are planning to give away our IP to Chinese companies.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

What is Project Tiger and talk of giving our IP to Chinese companies? I doubt that Wayne Edmunds would ever consider doing something this stupid. Riddett is talking rubbish.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I thought the Kevin Riddett web conference was amazing. Riddett demonstrated his extraordinary intellect and was very creative making up words new to the English language such as 'principleness' and 'neatfulness'. He was also totally accurate to describe Rail's cash situation as 'uninteresting', unlike the stunning content of the call. Things then further improved when Jimmy Krankie came on the call, live from Louisville, to thrill us with the innovative standard delivery model. Riddett completed the call in style, commenting that he wanted to close the call as he'd run out time. Your future has a high degree of certainty with this level of leadership.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Here's more facts:

  1. IRNA continues to meet its numbers, regardless of the whining on this blog.
  2. IRNA met its Feb numbers, the highest in its history. Relays it not, that's impressive. It means big bonuses, growth, and more money for R&D. It sounds like you think this is a college engineering technology place. It isn't. It's a business. The goal is to meet your numbers. We are doing that. You are still getting paid, yet you continue to whine. Nice. Make your predictions, but stop making them way out ( after PTC is over in 2016 ). Then when they are wrong, we can be free of this street corner "the world is ending" prophecy.
  3. IRNA holds the majority of LTPA crossing contracts at Class Is, even without the crossing guys that left.
  4. GE is selling off its portfolio and focusing on projects. I wouldn't be surprised to see them dump all wayside next year. They own very few LTPA contracts at Class Is and aren't even participating in PTC. They continue with layoffs and have a hiring freeze. You're impressed with the dog-and-pony show they did at the RSSI, so you're really gullible. Nice try at sounding like you know something, but it's clear you don't.
  5. As for the personnel stuff, you sound really bitter. I'd suggest therapy and moving on with your life. It's funny how some people obsess over people whom I am certain consider them insignificant. This guy must have really damaged you and I'm sorry for that, but that's what family medical leave is for. Use it, get better, then come back and lets go to work and stop cyber-stalking!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mike Caliel has lost a great deal of respect and undermined his leadership by not cleaning out the merry band of Sudipta yesmen. Weak act, Mike.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Well, I visited the Taipei office recently and I must say that all the previous negative posts are unfortunately quite correct. The place is a bloody shambles with a narcissistic manager whose main goal in life seems to be to make himself look 'big' regardless of whether it is at the projects expense or not.

I will not dwell on my visit and thankfully I do not have long term commitments to the company. But, it does make one a little sad, given the heritage. One further point that made me smile was the display of the company 'values'. Does this company have 'integrity'?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - Regarding IRNA's (Safetran) cocoon:

You are correct. One should just deal in facts, as follows:

  1. Safetran R&D has had a lot of key people leave since 2008.
  2. Safetran leadership (including the former R&D director) have been very poor at coming clean with a strategy for this location. This level of uncertainty only creates poor motivation, which has been the norm for the past 2 years.
  3. Safetran is primarily a Crossing company and both Crossing PLMs resigned last year. Another leading Crossing authority resigned earlier this year. Everyone knows this.
  4. Safetran is presently doing well in sales, but that is primarily due to sales of legacy items like relays etc. Read other recent posts here.
  5. GE is actually doing very well with new product development - just look at its portfolio from the RSSI show. This does not include what they have in the pipe that they did not show. They have finally got their act together and have a good strategy.
  6. The highly successful GCP 4000, SSCC3 products were entirely engineered by R&D. There was little or no participation by Marketing - not even requirements. This is one of the biggest problems at Safetran: Marketing are good at blaming R&D for various faults but do not themselves provide any thought leadership, requirements or anything that actually helps with a strategy. Everyone knows this. After all if they did provide thought leadership and then things were not successful, everyone would see the Emperor with no clothes. God forbid that that would ever happen ! :) !
  7. Many customers across the industry are questioning the direction in which Safetran is going, specially with all the resignations.
Regarding the guy who quit: There is no point wading into personal issues here. People across Invensys Rail know of his behavior quite well and the destructive influence that he created across the organization.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Did anybody attend todays all-hands web conference? Kevin Riddett: A man depriving a village somewhere of an idiot.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is Riddett the dumbest CEO in Rail history? Ignore the competition and our cash position, which we are told is around only 25% conversion. This guy is way out of his depth.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Well, today we had another "all hands" web conference with Kevin Riddett. At least this time he wasn't reading aloud like a child. Still the content was appallingly boring. What was all that rubbish about standard delivery model? It was just a load of bland statements about using common sense, good execution and best practice. Meanwhile, in reality, all BUs do things differently. Complete rubbish.

Riddett has no idea about business and sometimes sounds like English is his second language. What was he on about, saying that orders are going really well as are sales. However cash is "not interesting". Not interesting! We are being told it's the number one priority at the moment. If it's not of interest, why are we so focussed on it? He talked unbelievable BS about ignoring the competition and just do what you said you will do. Apparently we shouldn't waste time on benchmarking ourselves against the competition as we "might pick the wrong competitor"! Is he a complete idiot?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Does anybody know any detail about Project Tiger that Kevin Riddett keeps talking to people about? According to Riddett, it's Wayne's idea to give all our Rail IP away to Chinese train manufacturers in order to gain access to Chinese markets and more importantly global opportunities. Nuts or what ?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - Re: IRAP Isn't Dead - Yet

Being a long time IRAP employee, I have seen many changes in the company including numerous names. We are due to learn about some further downsizing and whilst more change will occur. I will be fine. They can't afford to pay me off.

We should therefore just stick with the tried and proven points machine and Westrace which is really what will keep us all in a job.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Singapore is growing - Don't worry, IRNE announced another Director last week after just making 20% of its workforce redundant. The rules are different for them!

Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Re: "No cocoon needed!"

Those record sales you speak of are due to the high demand for the old school products, such as relays and other hardware due to PTC work. It's certainly not based on technology products. When PTC spending is done, so are those double digit increases in sales you refer to, and that's when the game is over. With the possibility of PTC implementation pressures easing up, the reality may show up much sooner than I even thought.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I worked at Robert Shaw for 17 years (before it was sold to Seibe). In my contract, it stated that Robert Shaw was supposed to match my contribution to my pension. I just received a packet that tells about how I can get my pension in a lump sum instead of monthly payments. On the front page, it shows the amount in my pension. The amount is about what I remembered it was for my contribution but nothing was in the packet about them matching it. Does anyone know if Invensys will still match their part of our pensions?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

No cocoon needed! Safetran remains a leader in new products, thus the continued growth in sales (no comments on sale once again increasing by double digits?). GE actually just ha a layoff due to declining sales. Guess our customers don't like good products, huh? You need to speak to facts, as they always upend bad opinions.

As for your continued obsession over departed leaders. Get over it! I personally spoke to this guy and saw the HUGE number of congratulations and thank you emails he got when he left. As an earlier poster clearly stated, he left to enjoy more fame and fortune and you guys remain here on the blog whining about him. And he never even reads the darn thing.

Saturday, March 3, 2012 - Re: "Please step out of your cocoon"...

Thank you! I've always wondered who posted on here. For Safetran, I see it is a low-level clerical type since you obviously have no knowledge of the GCP5000 effort or how much work went into iVIU towards the GCP5000. Your and your other low-level co-workers can continue to post about the business and technology all you want, because now the rest of us know you're too low in the organization to really understand what you are talking about. It's like the drive-in clerk explaining to McDonalds about why they should rename The Big Mac to Big'un because it would be easier to spell.

Or maybe you don't know because that Director you keep complaining about was one of the geniuses that designed those products, dating back well before 2008. If you were higher in the company, you would have known that he ran Marketing since 2002 (2 yrs. unofficially), and was the driving force for those products you actually liked. So, in a way, you were complimenting him and criticizing him all at once! Please don't get your little hopes up yet either, because I saw 3 proposals in the week since he left where his new company is being asked (yes, ASKED) by IRNA to take on joint ventures with us. Most likely, they will all be major successes in terms of revenue (there's books in the library that explain why businesses use revenue as one of their metrics, you seem to have forgotten the record-breaking revenue numbers since 2008).

I'd suggest writing nicer blogs about him so when you do finally get down-sized, he can get you a great job at his new company, as he is already doing for a few of us. Or you can just hang around, getting angrier and angrier.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Who said IRAP is dead? Just have a look how the Singapore HQ is growing - two more VPs were added just in the last couple of weeks to the growing team.

Friday, March 2, 2012 - To those claiming awesome Safetran products:

Please step out of your cocoon for a bit. I too thought that Safetran products were one of the best. And they were. At one time, about 4 years ago. The decline started in 2008. This has been mentioned several times here.

At last year's RSSI show, GE products were clearly more innovative and (from a railroad perspective) more applicable. Safetran had the same products on display - GCP4000, GEO, Comms, ARGUS etc - that they have had for years.

And why would you expect any different - many of the key R&D leaders have left (or been driven away) Safetran in the past 3 1/2 years. Very few good R&D engineers are left - actually all it would take is for 3-4 top engineers to leave and it is mostly over for Safetran (from R&D perspective). Developing products for the rail industry is not easy and growing new talent takes a lot of time. Plus there aren't many people left behind to teach the newbies.

What Safetran is really good at now is politics and sticking knives in others' backs. An organization very often reflects its leader(s). This is one of the reasons this blog was rejoicing when a certain previous R&D Director left 3 weeks ago.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - Re: "Exactly, and the GCP-5000 is being developed which continues the trend of adopting contemporary technologies both in hardware and software."

It would be interesting for you to tell us just who is doing the R & D for the 5000, since the R & D department is totally decimated. I do think the GCP had its place, but due to all the issues it had in the field (overly complex to apply, very expensive, not to mention hardware failures that were unresolved for years), most of the customers have chosen to move on to GE's competing products. By the time Safetran rounds up enough "resources" (all you insiders know I'm an insider now by my word choice here) to actually do some R & D work on it, the market will be lost to the competition.

As far as the old school "hardware" products are concerned, I think Safetran has a good solid play in that space; but that means Safetran is no longer a technology powerhouse, but more of a commodity manufacturing business. Some very smart US competitors have been working the system for years to guide and "squeeze" Safetran into this position, and now it's done.

This is a trend that has been in evolution for 6-8 years, driven by the idiocy of Invensys Executive Management and the brilliance of the competition. And now it's so far along that there is little chance of recovery. Great job Invensys! You've turned one of the leading US Signal Technology companies into a really large mom and pop commodity manufacturing business, while at the same time damaging many careers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012 - Re: Pension Buyout

I'm an active US employee and would take the buyout in a heartbeat. The money is stagnant now. Why not give us the opportunity to make it grow a little?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - Re: The comment about Matt Hall's involvement on China Nuclear, "despite Riddett's open ridicule about Matt's involvement in the China nuclear debacle"

I can tell you first hand that he had none. He was the FD of Europe and was not the main driver of this. I just wanted to clear this up.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - "Safetran has the GCP4ooo that can't be surpassed by any other type of equipment in the rail industry. It has flexibility than no other company offers."

Exactly, and the GCP-5000 is being developed which continues the trend of adopting contemporary technologies both in hardware and software. But the GCPs aren't the only very worthwhile products that Safetran continues to produce and improve; there is also the Argus Event/data recorder that also beats any other rail supplier out there, BAR NONE.

The SEAR and SEAR2/i one could argue are teetering on the ragged edge of being obsolete, but Argus is inexpensive, contains functionality that customers both want as well as need, and it's a living product, utilizing a contemporary CPU at a good clock rate and uses a Linux OS.

There's a lot to bad-mouth Safetran for after Invensys got its teeth in the company, but there are Safetran products far and away superior to anything any other manufacturer has out there.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - "because they don't have anything in the pipeline that actually works to serve as a replacement."

Woah! Bullshit! I must call bullshit on you, so sorry, no offense, all that. Safetran has some seriously awesome products in the pipeline which are being fielded even now, all of which utilize technologies that are contemporary but even more so, all of which afford hardware and software updates that will keep them contemporary as PTC gets rolled out over the next decade.

When it comes to gate mechs, signals, data recording, wayside communications, interlocking, and developing PTC overlays for interlocking, Safetran is still in the game and is, I would argue, ahead of other notable corps like Wabtec. It's why there are still rail supply companies that fear Safetran despite the company hanging from the chains by the neck swaying in the breeze. Safetran has plenty of fight left in it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - Re: reason for the £20m write down in Rail?

The real reasons are simple. When Riddett took over the operational business in October 2010 he dismantled every bit of governance put in place by Drummond. With virtually no understanding of the Project business, he embarked on detailed reviews of manufacturing, supply chain and continuous improvement. It took over a year before Riddett even visited IRAP and then did his usual 24 hour visit to make sure he was back in Louisville by the weekend. Asking all the wrong questions he didn't and still doesn't have a clue.

Meanwhile the Auckland project had been in trouble for over a year - cost over runs, no control on variations and now monthly reviews by Drummond and team. The same on Metrol in Australia. At the same time the IRAP were expanding the operation, recruiting, opening new expensive offices. Project labour rates went up to compensate and the business became uncompetitive. A perfect storm. Meanwhile Riddett, completely oblivious, blundered on asking the wrong questions and generally making an ass of himself.

Matt Hall, a proven CFO from IOM quickly grasped the situation despite Riddett's open ridicule about Matt's involvement in the China nuclear debacle. Hall has been trying to come clean on the size of the problems in IRAP and other BUs, yet Riddett insists on making forecasts that cannot be achieved.

This will end in tears. It's a matter of when, not if, and who will still be in position, Riddett or Wayne?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IRNE Pension ditching former employees, paying bills late etc. nothing new and has been going for more than 2 years, no change there. R&D Rudderless, late over budget - well one would expect that when in the planning phase every manager and planner just looks at their own project, but forgets the fact the a large number R&D designer work on more than one project at time. There is no link between workload and resources - been there done that. Organisation and how it works - somewhat difficult when there is continual restructuring and no consolidation or logical communication or explanation given.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

IRAP is dead now. Invensys lost the compass lines in Singapore due to the failure of technology on DTL. Our reputation is shredded. LTA are very influential globally and we are dead in the water. The Dx technology is old and not what customers want. The former Technology VP had a good strategy with COE's; it was badly executed but it would have worked in the end. The loss of Denmark is another heavy blow to us. Drummond's vision of being number 1 is over. We will retreat into our declining core markets. Hopefully we will be bought by one of the bigger players to save us from this Spanish takeover (who aren't as clever as they think that they are, BTW).

Monday, February 27, 2012 - My last Year at Invensys Controls

To my friend at Controls South America. You need to ask yourself "is there a future in working in the Cold Controls Business"? This business is dying, you need to make a plan and get out. Maybe a few of the old guys like Balcunas can see it out to retirement, but otherwise get the Hell Out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I am a former employee; 16 years service. I too received the pension payout offer last week. I'm 15 years from retirement and the estimated pension is about $820 monthly. The payout offered is $57,000. It seems low, but consider that in the next 15 years, that principal should double. At $820 a month, that lasts over 12 years, which takes me to age 77, the average mortality for a male. That sounds about right as far as funding. But I believe I will take my chances and roll it into my 401K, which, although not insured, tends to yield at least as much. And I have about 20 funds and stocks from which to choose.

Invensys is obviously trying to ditch former employees who haven't yet retired, from the liabilities column of the pension fund, and gambling that it won't cost as much in assets. With all of the dishonorable and probably illegal stunts that the company has pulled in the past (paying bills on average 110 days late; scanning a printed sheet of barcodes on the last day of the quarter and claiming to have built product that doesn't yet exist, so the plant manager can get a fat bonus) - I don't trust them any further than I can throw them. I prefer to sever this last business tie and leave Invensys to its fate, which eventually will be belly up.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The last post about IRNE technology not working is rubbish. The R&D function remains rudderless for almost 2 years now but, despite this, the technology is being delivered and does work. The problem is that it's virtually always late and over budget due to the lack of leadership.

This, together with the pretend line of business organisation that nobody understands or can explain, means the confusion will continue. Can anybody post on here what this organisation is and how it's supposed to work? At the moment there is no accountability.

Monday, February 27, 2012 - RE: any reasonable cause for the additional cost £20M for Rail Project.

When IRAP kicked out SystemtICS from Singapore DTL to help Dimetonic Rail9000, 35 R&D staff's 2 years effort were gone. When IRAP P transitioned ATC cubicle design to Dimetronic, 12 staff's 1 year effort were gone. etc etc. etc.

Monday, February 27, 2012 - RE: Guzman yes-men management principle (practical) #3

Case in point is the Singapore DTL project. The customer requirement specifically requires a distributed architecture to allow system fallback to the station. Systematics does this. In fact it has a world class distributed architecture. Unfortunately, the development of its Train Management System application was running late and was not going to be ready to meet project milestones. Rail9000 has a TMS, but it's architecture is an antiquated centralised architecture that cannot deliver the fail back requirements as specified. A hybrid of the two systems may have delivered all the requirements but Dimetronics have taken over the project and kicked all other Invensys divisions off the job. So Dimetronics are either not giving the customer what they asked for or there is some pretty rapid product development going on in the back ground. It would have been better for all, including the customer, if they'd just shared the sandpit.

Monday, February 27, 2012 - RE: Rail Northern Europe really does have the atmosphere of a closing down sale now:

Right. Both IR NE and IR AP have the atmosphere of a closing down sale because the Rail is now globally lead by the Dimetronic.

Monday, February 27, 2012 Re: "(Sirius, Westect, Futur) has fundamental flaws"

Guys, Could you please address these flaws? We often say that if the question could be launched, then the half of the solution already got. Don't be so sad; the World will surely continue and Life will be surely continue and All will surely be better!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Rail Northern Europe really does have the atmosphere of a closing down sale now. Rumour has it that the technology for the flagship "Modular" still doesn't work and that the technology behind all of Rail's train control systems (Sirius, Westect, Futur) has fundamental flaws that cause it to shut down every few hours. Staff in IR NE are so demotivated they just can't be bothered to try to fix these issues and staff in IR AP and IR SE just don't have the technical competence. It's a sad end to a once great company.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I have been working for Controls in South America for years but never had saw such a kind of confusion and very bad Top-management in our units. Balcunas hired a lot of VPs and Directors to become more "professional" the company, but believe me, they are all lost and un-focused for customers. We are losing market share and we will lose more and more with the new strategy of move the cold controls to India. Controls in South America is going to countdown to extinction !

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guzman yes-men management principle (practical) #3: If the newly conquered project uses IRAPs SystemtICS, ensure it is replaced with Dimetronic Rail9000. Continue your non collaboration with IRAP R&D, make them fail and convince the client the Rail9000 is superior. Don't let the SystematICS engineer to learn the Rail9000 and this to ensure you have a case to sack them in the name of "poor performance or bad attitude/behavior".

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guzman yes-men management principle (practical) #2: To ensure your yes-mens redeployment, play tactics for not providing enough support for any project lead by non-Dimetronic team. When the impact on downstream deliveries becomes the headlines, just march in and show up your CBTC sign card. Ensure the project director now report to a young leader from the yes-men team. Change all directors, managers designations in the organization chart to engineer roles. Remember the formulae connecting the leader integrity and your required transition period. Less integrity means better and faster results.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Just cannot understand and figure out any reasonable cause for the additional cost £40M for China Nuclear Project and £20M for Rail Project. Anybody could provide any reasonable causes? Whether these costs will be reduced in future actually project implementation? Whether the stock price will be bullish in future?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - Re: pension benefits - one time offer of a lump-sum payment?

Have not received anything, but paying a lump sum (presumably at less than if an individual stayed to retirement) is a way to decrease the pension liability and perhaps make way for a sale, if enough people bite.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I was a US based technical person for less than 10 years for Foxboro in the '90. I'll share the Pension lump sum offer: $20,000 or continue with the pension of $300/month upon retirement, which is 15 years away.

This sounds exceptionally low and that the monthly pension was not indexed for inflation or market performance. Do others have similar offers or expectations about the lump sum or how it was calculated?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

In Rail there was Project governance under James Drummond. The former CFO was appointed into a specific project governance role and Technology, Manufacturing/supply chain, resources/HR, legal and global sales and marketing all provided oversight. All of this was removed by Riddett. As a former manufacturing President in NA he understood nothing about projects, still doesn't and saw no value. Probably urged on by BU Presidents, especially in Spain who did not like any scrutiny.

The results are now just starting to become apparent. The £20m cost increases in APAC are just the tip, as unapproved deals and terms will become apparent especially in Spanish projects where they ignore Riddett and do what Jesus tells them.

Unfortunately for Rail, Riddett's blind ignorance and arrogance has had a huge toll on Rail. My fear is that the worst has yet to come, with corruption and bribery involved, especially with Spanish projects which were historically heavily governed by Drummond. The Dimetronic leadership historically turned a blind eye to this kind of thing. The IRG organisation went for a while with no legal SVP and still has nobody senior in most of the roles that were removed by Riddett.

Wayne's misadventure with Riddett will prove to be the worst thing to have happened with Rail. The legacy of a £20m write down this year is not over. Watch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - Re: "Controls Division is bleeding Engineers. 2nd in 4 months."

It's all relative. Safetran's Engineering group is obviously larger than Controls'. If Controls lost Engineers at the same rate we would be clean out within 6 to 12 months (not counting any replacements of course). Yet another is on the pot. That makes 2 in the last 2 weeks. Rome is burning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I hate to change the subject from complaints about management but ... did any of you get a package regarding pension benefits titled, "It's Your Choice"? More specifically, a one time offer of a lump-sum payment? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ok, let me take on the topic of stock market value of Invensys (ISYS)stock - only the facts, straight from Yahoo Finance; go check it yourself.

Compared to owning just a no-brainer DOW JONES index-tracking fund, here is how you would have made out: If you've had ISYS instead of the fund for the past 5 years, you would be around 20% under. 2 years, about 33% under. 1 year, about 40% under. Just in the past 6 months the DOW has GAINED 20%, and ISYS has LOST 5%. If you use NASDAQ for the comparison, it looks even worse.

Any questions?

Monday, February 20, 2012 - Re: IRAP Project Management

The company spent millions of dollars to transform IRAP into a Project Delivery Lead Company. A highly paid Head of Projects was brought on board, next came the Project Management Office and all we ended up with was an increased workload for us all. This resulted in major losses in the Auckland Resignalling Project, the WA Level Crossing Program and Metrol, just to name a few major projects. They couldn't even manage to do what they said they would do. We haven't won any major projects recently despite the engineering team efforts and we are just waiting on the next round of downsizing to occur.

Monday, February 20, 2012 - Re: GCP4000

Safetran does produce some great products and in IRAP our sales staff only want to sell Invensys products. As an engineer that has also worked with the competitors' products, they are often as good if not better than ours. Why then do we have these ongoing internal arguments with our sales staff that have no idea or detailed understanding of what the completion is selling, what the customer wants and rely on what someone has told them? Isn't it time they actually learnt some of the product detail or maybe HR should be employing technically based staff into these roles and not just used-car salesmen.

Monday, February 20, 2012 - Re: IRAP Project Management

From my experience of the application of processes and procedures - very few IRAP PM's are actually accredited or qualified. Therefore you would expect commercial hemorrhage.

However, the losses incurred of late e.g. the Auckland project, were not entirely down to poor PM; it is far more serious than that. It was in fact down to a split-second decision of under estimating the initial estimate of $100m dollars, including a risk contingency. The risk contingency included for an unproven WT mark 2 still in RD. This naive decision was taken purely to satisfy UK. This was then fast-tracked and delivered at a cost that is now recognized as a significant loss. The thought showers that led to this decision was taken covertly of course. I am expecting some views contrary to what I have described, but it's all gonna take that asbestos-covering-backside mode of communique.

Monday, February 20, 2012

In Rail, Project governance is taken away because it does not work well, with lack of integrity.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Invensys Rail Australia is changing our approach to doing business and delivering work. This is part of the plan to overcome the major losses that has come from the poor management of several major projects during the last year. Whilst we don't know what caused all of the losses, we are still a great engineering company, but with a poor delivery track record. Any change here will help to keep us in business which is what we are wishing for.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Project governance taken away? Wonder if anyone knows this.....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I have been reading this Weblog for a long time. As a long time previous employee, I feel I need to comment on the previous statement that Safetran is long in the tooth on technology. In regards to crossing technology, Safetran has the GCP4ooo that can't be surpassed by any other type of equipment in the rail industry. It has flexibility than no other company offers. I won't try to sway others' previous comments, but I know this product is above any other competition.

Sunday, February 19, 2012 - Re: My last year at Invensys.

I was wrong. For years I have been saying that Invensys should be entering new markets and leaving the appliance industry behind. I based this idea on the career of a friend of mine. We both went to college together and did the same course. By chance my friend went to work for Omron Healthcare and then Emerson Healthcare products. Today we do similar work but my friend earns much more, has much more opportunity of advancement. More importantly he works for an organisation that has growth, new products and markets and he enjoys working for Emerson. Don't forget he does similar work to me.

Invensys cannot make the move to more profitable markets. The investment would be too great and the strategy would be too risky in implementation. As well, if any individual share holder thinks that the Healthcare Industry is more attractive than the White Goods Industry, that share holder can simply sell the share in Invensys and buy a share in say Omron or Emerson. The strategy can be implemented quickly and with little risk. Of course the shareholder might take a loss on his Invensys shares.

For an individual employee it makes perfect sense to retrain and go and work in a more profitable industry. Why not go back to night school and get a degree in science and then go and work for Emerson or others. If you work with patents, why not go back to night school and get a law degree then work as a patent attorney. It all makes sense on an individual level.

But for poor old Invensys Controls, I am afraid they are stuck in the appliance industry until they disappear.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 re: I beg to differ on the poster for Quantum in the US.

To directly address each issue you have outlined, First: There is a lot to be said about simplicity, but to paraphrase a popular theory of Albert Einstein; He said, in effect, that "everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler." Second, why would you attempt to discredit Quantum when Safetran is camped out on some of the oldest "technology" in the signal industry, most of which they spend lots of time trying to buy up EOL parts off eBay and other secondary markets just to keep "in the game", because they don't have anything in the pipeline that actually works to serve as a replacement. Third, I cannot imagine that anyone that actually understands how screwed up Safetran is would dare to compare some of the R&D work I personally witnessed coming out of Safetran to any other major signal company's work. Especially when it comes to vital controls. All I can say is, it's certainly not SAFE tran anymore.

If you know anything about Safetran, it's that for several years now they have attempted to build things that were far above them technically, and they have executed very poorly. What they have now are lots of technical products that are very long in the tooth, "supported" by a totally empty/deprecated pipeline of R&D work.

I do agree with you on one thing, the Quantum Engineers certainly didn't think like the Safetran Engineers!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Are you guys seriously telling me that Wayne Edmunds and David Thomas approve spending a million bucks on a get-together in Barcelona? I don't believe they would be allowed. If so I wonder why we bother with a CI programme!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

In one Invensys operation, a good month equals a free doughnut and an apple on your coffee break!

Friday, February 17, 2012

With Leaders going to extravagant, yet useless, functions, an HR team brimming with ineptitude, and a work force who spends its days taking informal (and apparently vastly incorrect!) 'votes', while engaging in sporadic bouts of heel-clicking as they celebrate the Hope and Change that comes with a mid-level Manager's departure (my world is so better now, Mama! Can I sleep in my own room tonight?), it's no wonder that Invensys Rail will soon be a bowl-a-rice addition to China's workforce.

If Loserville couldn't even handle one hard-ass Manager (although it seems he did have a friend helping him put the hob-nail boots to the collective throats of the 'waah-waah, it hurts Mommy' crowd), then they're just gonna love the Chinese work ethic! But buck up, lil' campers! I'm certain Beijing will see the value of that Conrail-gained 1980s railroad knowledge, and your jobs will be safe forever.

Give it a few months and click those heels again, see if you can get back home with your precious little dog, and we'll ask about morale then too. See if that meanie ruined it at the new place yet, while ours will be sky-high no doubt!

...and if ya ask nicely, I just know she'll let you sleep in your own room tonight.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The annual leaders jamboree (I have attended many) is an utter waste of time. Typically the budget for the event is around $500k and the actual cost to the business units in flights and lost time etc .will be the same again. $1m bucks for hubris and back slapping after the disastrous year we have had is a disgrace.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The annual Exec extravaganza - if its anything like Malaga - it will be a ball. Photo shoots, massages, day-tour excursions, lots of drinking, food galore and, of course, very little time spent on working out a strategy to go forward - ENJOY while it lasts.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Just when you thought you'd heard it all! Apparently a £60M profit warning is not serious enough to curtail Executive excess. Employees further down the food chain are working hard to reduce costs and make savings. However come April the Ulf legacy Invensys Annual Leadership party is happening again.

Even if one actually believed this event to be essential and of value, you'd think there would be an effort to do it cheaply, in say an Invensys facility, or to minimise hotels and travel, hold it in Dallas, Chicago or London. Oh no, it is in Barcelona in Spain. A week spent in a very expensive hotel in an expensive city, to which everybody has to fly - even European based Executives.

So, thats around 200 business class or even first class flights, most of which will be long haul. A week in a five star hotel with all the subsistence. A two day extravaganza with stage, cameras and production team. A major dinner party to complete things. How much do you think that'll cost ? Even without the Executive's time and costs, we must be talking millions.

Then again, if you can casually write of £60M profit, whats another few million?

Is Wayne's way working ? The results and things like this say it all.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

HR has screwed up again. One would think the idiots would know that China is an important client. In America, it is Politically correct to promote a woman. My mother was a president of a university. My sister in law when she was a VP visiting GE Midwest was replaced by the CEO of her company because Midwest GE executives 10 years ago did not want to work with a woman. Think what the Chinese are thinking?

My question is simple. As they have historically appeased the client, why are they changing their tack? Or is this just a way to rapidly remove the woman by promoting her again? Or is HR too stupid to see they are pissing the client off? When will the new CEO realize HR is the problem? If HR continues they will promote the woman to Russia where all men believe a woman does not belong in the job market. This will be even worse. As you may have guessed I am not an Invensys employee.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - To the CEO of Controls:

Consolidation of plants and selling part of the Carol Stream building isn't the answer. You need to invest in Engineering to regain market share, not decimate them. With Engineers fleeing the burning building at this rapid pace, you will learn very quickly how much you need them. You can only live in your Porsche-filled dream world for so long.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - Re: "Controls Division is bleeding Engineers. 2nd in 4 months."

This comment is kind of funny, and shows how different folks have very different perceptions of how bad 'bad' really is. Safetran has been bleeding engineering and R&D talent at a rate of 2-4 a month for well over a year, and there is no indication of that slowing down. Lots of trickery has been applied in an attempt to slow the trend down, but hearing comforting words from inept management over and over again or getting a carrot hung out in front of you that is light years away only serves to convince employees they must leave at some point. As this trend continues, other segments of the business continue to back-slide as well because of all of the interdependencies. The machine is so large that sales do not reflect all the damage that has been done, but that's coming, and when it becomes obvious to those that have trouble seeing it, it will be too late to do much about it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You have to laugh (hysterically) at an organisation that believes the best way to rally employee engagement is a mandatory "values" screensaver.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I beg to differ on the poster for Quantum in the US. We have worked with their ex-employees for a few years now and it is clear why their owner sold the company. The products are simplistic, antiquated, and poorly engineered. The lead engineers have no clue how to develop professional products using a defined process. The money wasted on this Mom-and-Pop Job Shop is outrageous! There's no chance to recoup even half the amount we spent on this boat anchor. Whether more of the ex-employees leave on their own or not doesn't matter, because Management will be exiting this Market soon anyway and the remaining Quantum employees will get "right-sized".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wayne's world: Is it working?

When Sir Nigel Rudd's patience finally ran out a year ago this month, there were high hopes for change. The narcissism, bullying and sometimes irrational behavior from Henricksson was gone and his replacement, Edmunds appeared a more thoughtful and intelligent leader.

Embarrassingly overpaid fantasy roles such as Chief HR Officer, Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff were removed. Three roles that cost over £2m a year and delivered nothing. Just a legacy of the cringeworthy narcissistic Ulf Henriksson. A great start from Wayne Edmunds.

But then what happened? Sudipta was already in deep trouble with China nuclear projects, when instead of increased governance in a new constructive and helpful way, oversight was removed. Sudipta limped on until a £40m hole appeared and Wayne had no choice but to act. Why did Edmunds let this happen?

In Rail, Drummond was on gardening leave, effectively sidelined while the obviously ineffective Riddett appointed as COO took charge. Ulf was always threatened by Drummond and at the first opportunity had finished his career in Invensys. Drummond was first intoxicated by the rewards for his excellent performance; but then with the JMW-trained Henriksson demanding the impossible, the most profitable, cash rich division in Invensys started to fall apart. When Ulf was fired Edmunds wanted Drummond to return, which he did for some months but having found another CEO role decided that Invensys was not worth it and left.

By this time Riddett was already a proven mistake as Rail's COO. Despite this, it was Wayne Edmunds that appointed Riddett CEO of Rail. It's a common misconception that he was an Ulf appointment; it was Edmunds who appointed Riddett. The Rail CFO openly joked about Riddett and left the business within weeks.

Riddett, an incredibly incompetent leader who knew almost nothing about the global project business, started taking away all the global leadership governance that was in place. This was the time when Drummond was planning to increase central control. But Riddett, with only US manufacturing experience, did the opposite. Riddett finally realised he couldn't manage a global project business by sitting in his newly refurbished office suite in Louisville. But by then a year had gone by. Result? When the new CFO from IOM took a look and realised there was a £25+M problem, nobody had a plan, was in charge, or was leading. Riddett blunders on and no action is taken.

In the NOW, almost irrelevant controls the cuts continue. The overheads had already been moved to IOM by Henriksson to hide them. The current CEO and CFO are the former CFO and EVP for Risk respectively!

So is Wayne's world working or not?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Controls Division is bleeding Engineers. 2nd in 4 months. More to come, as many are unhappy and looking at other opportunities for good reason. No growth. No raises. No bonus. No advancement. Rigged performance evaluation system. At this point the majority of those left have probably 5 years to retirement if they stay to full retirement age. This company does NOT take care of it's Engineering Group, but this is an "Engineering Company". Our feeling is that management is simply biding its time until the "fire sale".

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I don't mean to pick on Mr 'My last year in Controls'. I am sure the sentiments are heart felt and genuine. However he (or she) is a such a typical example of a bitter Invensys employee. Mixing up the role and motivation of shareholders and employees is naive and nonsensical.

They behave as if the world of Invensys was unique and there are not many similar companies out there with similar products and similar problems. Just slip away quietly, why spread your negative poison here when you must know every negative word you write will damage the prospects of the people you will leave behind? Please just leave and let us who are left get on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - Re: "my last year at Invensys Controls..."

Outstanding post! I agree. 100%! And this advice is also a staple of Warren Buffet's speeches. When I realized I could not, in good conscience, invest my money in Invensys, I left.

I wish the best for Invensys, but I know a lot of these posters and they are spending too much time here and not enough time working, so I can't invest in them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012 Re: My last year at Invensys Controls

Some time ago a Stockbroker friends of mine ask me this question, "Do you own shares in Invensys?" My answer was, "Of course I don't. the products are old and the management is lousy".

My Stockbroker friend then asked, "Why are you working for them? As an employee, you have much more invested than any shareholder".

Of course my friend was correct. As an employee, all my pay, all my future pay and all possible promotions were in the hands of the management of Invensys Controls. That was a situation that I could not allow to continue. I had to leave.

Several other bloggers think I suffer from inflated self importance, should work harder, I am bitter etc, etc, etc. Well, to those people, I say, "Go out and buy some shares in Invensys. Go take one year's salary out of the bank and buy shares."

Put your money where your blog is!

Monday, February 13, 2012 - Re: "There are so many negative comments for Invensys Rail, but could anybody provides any constructive suggestions?"

That's the wrong question -- or I should say that's going at it bassackwards. The question to ask is "How are products/systems/services which Invensys Rail provides today compared to products/systems/services that Invensys Rail used to provide 10 years ago?

Look at the successful history of Safetran in the States. For something near 85 years Safetran was successful, provided quality products and enviable customer support. Well-respected, top quality engineering and technical support across all departments, able and willing to compete against much larger corporations to the point of winning bids and contracts not only on price but also win based upon reputation, quality and support.

Now look at Safetran, ever since Invensys bought the company. Safetran is 92 years old now and it's buried under so much Invensys and India shit that the company is gasping for oxygen, domain knowledge, is bailing out to competitors that still win big contracts, and the dwindling number of dismayed rail customers are forced to stick with legacy systems not because they want to but because they must.

Only after you compare and contrast the Invensys Rail companies of yesterday with the Invensys rail companies of today can you start to look at competitor products/services/support to get any hint of where Invensys Rail stands in the global scheme of rail. It starts to get irrelevant to compare what G.E. or Siemens are doing when you are tracking the downfall of IR as a whole.

Look at Quantum Engineering, Inc. out there in Florida in the States. Look at their history of success. Now that Invensys gobbled up the company in 2008 look at them. Invensys has been buying up successful companies and then turning them in to losers.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I can make a long list of companies that have been around over 100 years that hit the ground hard. I will give it to you that the company is better off losing a few "bad apples", and you obviously know who some of them are. The real problem is, dropping a few packages off such a large and heavy plane that's headed to the ground is not going to change the outcome a great deal.

Whilst that's said, I want to be around to help with the salvage operation.

Monday, February 13, 2012 - Re: "If you think this plane is headed toward the ground..."

Really? A single 'Director' (mid-level Manager) is so "damaging" to the company? Wow! And you and your fellow employees rejoice at this "great news" as if your lives will somehow be better. The problem with Invensys is that too many of its employees lack common business sense and focus too much on the "mean people". Are you hoping his replacement is better? Was Riddett better than what we had? The other Execs we now have, are they better?

This guy is gone ( good riddance!), but he's on to more riches and you'll still be on the blog complaining of his replacement. That's just sad, Dude.

Sunday, February 12, 2012 - Re: We took an office vote today:

I'd be interested to know who this "office vote" included. I'm sure it was only those that regularly blame the perceived or real problems of the organization on ANY senior person that leaves. Most likely a small group that will never be happy with any leader who doesn't prescribe to their precise plan for success? I always find it laughable that there are so many "highly intelligent" people with so little to actually contribute. If you feel you can truly do it better, then focus your energy on doing just that. Absolutely no one is stopping you from making career choices that could put you in that position.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

If you think this plane is headed toward the ground and destined for destruction, why don't you make it easier on the rest of us and lighten the load by leaving yourself? This plane has been flying for nearly 100 years and will still be doing so long after you're gone. We only have room for positive passengers, and although it is a shame about the other two folks that resigned yesterday, the leaving of the former Director of R&D will do nothing but benefit this company. I think it's time for you to wake up and understand how damaging this individual was to our organization.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

To the Safetran person that is excited about that certain R&D guy leaving; Were you aware that in addition to him resigning, 2 others from R&D resigned the same day? Those were folks that Safetran did not need to loose. That being said, your emphasis on a single individual or two shows how little you understand about how broken Safetran really is. It matters little who stays and/or who goes at this point (other than getting out and moving forward in a place where you CAN make a difference).

Safetran is a huge and complex machine, where the superstructure/framework/chassis is totally worn out, warped, and rusted through in a few critical places. Regardless of how many good parts (read employees) you put in the machine, they can only perform as well as the superstructure/framework/chassis allows. Think about things in the context of something you have close familiarity with, like a car, or a plane, or a nuclear power plant, then it's easier to understand that this flight is headed for the ground. Too bad Chesley Sullenberger is not the captain, because when this thing comes down, it's not going to be pretty. You're not just going to be able to walk out on the wing and wait for the next life boat to come by. Wake up dude!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

It's simple - focus on what you know and compete in those markets. Invest in establishing capabilities in other markets before you sell those capabilities. If you think about it as if it was your own business and your own money, it makes sense.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The employees of Invensys Rail North America are absolutely clicking their heels on this grand day after learning of the resignation of the former Director of R&D. We only hope that he takes his favorite pal from marketing with him. Both of these guys have done nothing but crush morale, destroy many careers and leave a trail of poor products that have left our customer's perception of Safetran in the toilet.

We took an office vote today and think this news deserves declaration of a national holiday for IRNA! As one of our managers in Louisville used to say, "there are 17 doors in this facility - pick one!" - and boy, are we glad he finally did!

Our ability to retain high level people and railroad experienced personnel just improved dramatically. Let's just hope we can once again hire PLM's that stay for more than a couple of months.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Is Riddett still trying to govern Rail? I honestly didn't think that Wayne would struggle on with such a poor leader in a key role. Does he still sit in meeting picking his teeth, taping away on an Apple products and openly not listening or understanding what he is told? Does he still forget within hours what he has heard? Is he still unable to grasp anything numerical? Do people still openly snigger at him? From what I am told the answer is yes to the above. Open question: true or false?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Following Wayne's announcement of the £20m problem in Rail, has anything changed? I understand the problem is here in the APAC region, specifically Australia and New Zealand. However all I can see is more recruitment and increasing costs. There was talk about restructuring and cost reduction but nothing has happened. If the problems are real and our cost base is increasing then surely the magnitude will be increasing. I don't understand the total absence of action and just assume the problem has been fixed.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I came across this blog very recently. Honestly, I do not understand why you folks are debating / cribbing about the company publicly. If you care about the company then keep your complaints within the company boundary.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guzman yes-men management principle (practical) #1: do not practice theory. Practice whatever is beneficial to you and the people you like. Ensure all are yes men.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Singapore DTL was managed very well by the collaborative global team (excluding Dimetronic) lead by IRNE. Agree there was delay and cost overrun due to insufficient resources and lack of support from the selfish Dimetronic. Now how is it going with Guzman's yes men, the so called world's most excellent management team with an invisible PD and a trainee PM?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can't agree with the comment that there is zero communications in Rail! There are: One guy in IRAP asked if there is any CBTC knowledge-transfer programme in one of Guzman's town hall. He was thrown out the next day. Whoever opened their mouths in Kelvin's town hall are no more in Invensys Rail. Now a days. people don't open their mouths and Kelvin communicates his speech peacefully.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Someone asked about the status of products from Rail. Simple answer, if you are a railway looking for previous generation products that performed poorly against the competition at the time, backed up by an organisation that thought little of version control or data security, then Invensys Rail are is place to go! Of all the competitors listed on the 07/02 post, Rail has nothing to compete with the latest generation of products you could buy from any of them....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - Re: "To all you negative bloggers: shape up or ship out!"

Ah, nice to see you back again. Still maintaining that the Company's doldrums are all down to complaining workers rather than inefficient management, I see. Who, might I ask, do you think has greater control over policy and Company direction? Whose ideas and decisions control the future and fate of everyone? These decisions aren't made by us; we just have to live with them.

Oh, and I was particularly amused by your assertion that, "The silent majority have had our fill". I assume you have conducted some sort of poll to back up this 'majority' claim, and that it's not just arrogant presumption on your part? Oh surely not!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm curious as to what Sir Nigel Rudd thinks. As Chairman of a FTSE100 company, he clearly realised a year ago that he has an unstable megalomaniac at the helm with Ulf Henriksson. The latter had started making political comments and on his own, speculating as to the company ownership. He has to go as the turnover of good staff had got beyond realistic.

So, he appoints Wayne Edmunds, a popular choice, seen as rational and grounded. However after nearly 7 years of Ulf rule, guess who all the leaders were? Sure Paula left, but the rest were and are Ulf appointments.

The rest is history, as Wayne has not removed the dead wood. Freburger, Balcunas, Riddett and many others. Sir Nigel did not achieve his task by removing Ulf and then putting a lame duck in charge.

Will Wayne act as a CEO or just limp along ?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What on earth is happening in Rail? I used to work there and enjoyed a challenging period of growth and a clear strategy lead by a professional group of IRG leaders. Were there mistakes? Sure, but recognised quickly through a small group of HQ leaders providing oversight.

Only 2 years ago Kevin Riddett was a fairly irrelevant leader of a manufacturing operation in the US. It was around 20% of turnover and less than 15% of the group profit. Following some improvements that had started before he arrived Safetran returned to a normal margin. Ulf hailed Riddett as a turnaround star and fearful of Drummonds ascendance fired him and promoted Riddett.

The inevitable happened. Riddett, knowing nothing about 90% of the group, started dismantling all the HQ governance. He didn't even do this in a structured way. People moved, removed or left. No strategy, plan or direction. Zero communication.

With all control removed and a huge vacuum in leadership, in steps Jesus Guzman, the egotistical leader and fanatically nationalistic leader of Dimetronic. Riddett immediately appeared a joke-like figure and so Guzman stepped in an filled the vacuum, telling Riddett what to do.

Now Riddett's inadequacy is visible to all. The dismantling of the governance in IRG has had obvious results with contracts going to pieces and almost no regular oversight of the business.

Guzman runs riot, dabbling in China, Singapore and northern Europe but only for the single benefit of the Madrid organization.

We will see where it ends up. I do miss my time in Invensys Rail but am glad I'm not there right now.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

There are so many negative comments for Invensys Rail, but could anybody provides any constructive suggestions? How is the product/system competitiveness if compared to other suppliers (I.E. Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier,Thales,Ansaldo etc) in different markets? What are the different technical features for different suppliers? What are their respective advantages and disadvantages? Are there any possibilities to make a most adaptable system for the global market?

There are many genuine engineers in Invenysrail but it seems the management should be improved to be more competitive?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I have no idea who the Rail poisonous dwarf is in HR. I can only say from personal experience that the HR function is a waste of time and the poorest of the lot. Late, inaccurate and unhelpful.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Stop beating up Riddett. It's accepted that he has severe limitations both intellectually and experience wise. It isn't his fault he was appointed by Ulf. Another mistake among many. The interesting thing is has the APAC problem been sorted and is IRNA delivering? What the heck was the last post about Jesus Guzman?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - Re: Who is in charge in Rail?

Jesus Guzman is in charge and does what he wants. Riddett is simply a puppet who, from what I've been told, is not even able to go anywhere on his own as his BU Presidents don't trust him, especially with clients. Jesus Guzman is openly rude about Riddett, Hall, Crossfield and Obadia. According to Guzman, Hall was in charge when the IOM China nuclear problem happened and now is doing the same in Rail.

None of this is Ridett's fault. He may well be a nice person who is totally out of his ability range. Wayne seems to have faith in him. It will probably cost one of them their jobs.

Monday, February 6, 2012

One simple test of Mike Calaiel's leadership is upon us. Will he clean out the hangers on and yes men left from our last glorious leader? Will he get rid of our "CTO" (chief tyrant officer)?

Monday, February 6, 2012 - Re: I wonder who are you.

It's some fool from Dimetronic in Spain who thinks that his country is the centre of the universe. Nothing changes. Perhaps Invensys Rail is changing its name to El Rail de Jesus santa Maria Munoz Dimetronic S.L. Our prophet Jesus will lead us to the chosen land, which is a long way from Chippenham. Our new tapas product offering will become an industry leader.

Disciples such as Riddett will follow Jesus anywhere. Even if it's down the pan. Who is actually in charge in Rail?

Monday, February 6, 2012

To the blogger on HR. The HR team in Invensys Rail is the same, totally incompetent. If that were not enough they remain arrogant and completely unaware that they are "overhead". When we outsourced HR (did anything actually change and people leave the business ?) we should have done it completely to a local organization that can deliver and not some cheap, hopeless organisation in Manila who have no idea. The HR function in Rail is broken. The poisonous dwarf that leads it will make it worse.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I totally disagree that outsourcing does not work.....billions have been saved and many have become rich via outsourcing...so to those who profit...it works. To the customers, those left behind to "manage" from afar and especially to those who have lost their jobs...maybe not. Well, I guess America still benefits in the long run as some day those jobs will eventually be outsourced back, don't you think?

Friday, February 3, 2012 - Re: We were seriously thinking of buying the Invensys Rail.

I just wonder - who are you? Maybe your comments to some extent are right, but it hurt most of Invensysrailers, I think. Firstly, the value of the Invensysrail should be as a whole value, not by part; and secondly, if you are strong and powerful enough, why don't you do these business from the beginning, but not to buy these businesses to show you are actually a foolih rich guy?

Friday, February 3, 2012 - Re: "outsourcing to India, China et al. does not work."

Au contraire, it works fine for India, China et al. Infotech are doing very nicely out of us. It's not great from our point of view though.

Friday, February 3, 2012Re: 'My last year in Controls'... blah blah blah.

Typical of a lot of strangely bitter Invensys employees. 20/20 hindsight and a pompous self importance. If more of this bunch worked harder and stopped whining this would be a better place with happier customers, employees and shareholders. This poisonous inward focused drivel is destroying the business. If you are leaving just leave quietly and with some self respect.

To all you negative bloggers: shape up or ship out! The silent majority have had our fill.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Can anybody please tell me what the problem is with HR in Invensys? Serious question. The lunatics under Larson were supposed to have gone. However it's the same old s**t. I don't want a HR partner. I want HR people to do the day job properly. What is so hard about that? The rest of us have to perform. Why not HR ?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Riddett's agility video is another embarrassment for Rail. Received here in Australia as a joke. Colleagues in Singapore thought it funny. To be honest I fail to see the humour anymore. The current shambles is not acceptable. Wayne is now accountable if he is happy with Riddett.

It seems like a deja vu situation. All the IOM people blogging that Sudipta was a tragic choice and now the profit warning a year later. Here we are with the same on Riddett and nothing happens? This is not a learning organisation and seems doomed to make the same errors over and over again.

Thursday, February 2, 2012 - "Cutting in to vital areas to reduce costs and outsourcing core competence for short term gains in stock prices..."

Riddett isn't the only one doing that. Pretty much every major multi-national corporation has been for the past decade, killing the individual companies under the umbrella corporation. These people know what they're doing. They know outsourcing to India, China et al. does not work.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My last Year at Invensys Controls

Let us say a company had a problem, such as too much debt, and the Board wants to fix it. One thing the Board can do is to appoint a new CEO with a reputation in restructuring. Such was the case with Rick Haythornwaite. By appointing Rick the Board is saying we have a problem, we know what it is and we know how to fix it. Also if Rick is on a fixed term contract the Board is also putting a time on the resolution of the problem. With one appointment The Board is sending a message to the Market, potential buyers and employees. Rick was probably the perfect appointment.

Now look at the management at Controls. I concede that it is very difficult to get such a perfect fit with a manager such as Rick. Controls have had a revolving door of General Managers. Rick came to Invensys to do a job, then left. Now tell me what the current management of Controls represents. What problems and solutions is the current management espousing? The global environment is difficult but it will pick up. Controls have valuable and innovative products. The answer is No. The current management can do no more than close factories and drop product lines as they become unprofitable. An accountant fresh out of college with a spreadsheet could do this.

This is why I am leaving Controls; it has taken several years to get into this position, but it has been clear for many years that Controls was drifting and has no clear strategy.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Riddett visited us here in Australia and saw nobody, was here less than a day in Melbourne and apparently had to be home via Singapore for the weekend. Louisville to Brisbane to Melbourne to Singapore to Louisville in 5 days? Idiot explained. Five times on planes compared to seeing people. Has no idea.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - "And for those of you whining about Ulf, Wayne and others just wanting to run up the stock value: Hello!? That is a key part of their job..."

Well damn, and here the rest of us thought it was providing quality goods and services to customers at a fair price.

THIS is what is wrong with heartless, unethical multinational corporations. The almighty quatloo is the goal, grabbing as much as one can get and "shag the other guy, shag the customer, I'm getting mine!" and the health of the corporation does not matter.

Companies that are customer focused... Remember those? Extinct, gone the way of the dodo.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trivia - How many times does Riddett repeat the word, "particularly" in the Agility video? It's funny how every word mentioned about Riddett in this blog becomes credible after this video.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

We were seriously thinking of buying the Invensys Rail. Now we changed our mind. Probably the best deal will be to buy the Spanish ISRE and not the whole of Invensys Rail.

Monday, January 30, 2012 - Re: not managinging stock price:

This is the best post for a while. Under Ulf and Riddett it's all been about "me as well" products at the lowest costs. This has brought Safetran and the rest of Rail to where it is today. Cutting in to vital areas to reduce costs and outsourcing core competence for short term gains to stock prices. Sure, Riddett will personally get a bonus; but where is the business going medium to long term? If you want a leading indicator on this, then look out for the free cash flow as well as profit. In a long cycle project business you can manipulate profit but not cash.

Riddett will be exposed for what he is. Everyone knows it.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Anyone with a ounce of business sense knows that the way to manage a successful business is to NOT "manage" the stock price. This has been the fundamental issue since Ulf came on board. Please pay attention to what's going on in your businesses and not so much the results. If you focus on what is happening and try to improve upon it, the results and the stock price will follow. I look forward to the board taking a more active role in the major issues and opportunities at Invensys.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I don't care what opinions other people have of Riddett, I have personally seen his behavior here in Louisville. He is an arrogant bully who was only just kept in control by Terri Wiethorn the VP of HR. He threatened people, was personally abusive and basically is an animal.

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - To the poster on Safetran:

Are you really telling me that Riddett has just bought a new Mercedes S500? You are kidding surely? That's a $120k car. Rail just had a $30m profit write down with less than 12 weeks to go in the year. This guy must have photo's of Wayne car!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Read the analysis by Jim Pinto in his latest JimPinto.com eNews, January 25, 2012.

Click here Invensys Top-level Changes & Loss Warnings

So again, there are major changes at the top in Invensys. IOM CEO Sudipta Bhattacharya was fired after 3 years and Mike Caliel (long-time Foxboro employee and CEO of IPS who had quit previously) was appointed in his place. Here's a summary of what happened.

Ex CFO, now CEO, Wayne Edmunds has likely been spending most of his time looking seriously at how to offload the Invensys pension-plan that weighs down the value in any possible acquisition. Siemens will likely buy the IOM piece, while Rail will go to China. Who knows who will buy ailing Controls?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I've read this blog on and off for a couple of years. I'm now a former employee through my own choice and have no ill feelings toward the company at any level.

What I find interesting is that the majority of RAIL comments are negative and I'm guessing originate form IRNE. I spent a fair amount of time in IRNE and there is a general sense of entitlement and whining. Same holds true for pockets of IOM.

One thing every one seems to not really understand is that Riddett and other senior leaders don't make all the decisions. They have lots of managers and people who make decisions and either execute well or not. These earnings warning are the culmination of several years of issues building up to where they now had to be recognized. For sure James Drummond knew about the issues on Singapore DTL and Sudipta knew about issues on the China Nuclear. Let's be clear that while Riddett and Suidipta are accountable there are lots of other people who are as well.

Some of you are on this blog and have had a hand in shoddy work. And for those of you whining about Ulf, Wayne and others just wanting to run up the stock value: Hello!? That is a key part of their job. Clearly it has to be done intelligently, but stock value is a key component of CEO/CFO responsibilities.

So if you want to throw rocks take a look at what the stock price has done since the elegant Sir Nigel and Wayne took the reins. In case you struggle with math, the stock is down about 50% and that was before the recent earnings warnings. Most of you should lose your nappies and put on big boy pants - go to work and get a life.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Riddett gets a lot of bad press here and rightfully so. I have been in several meetings with him where he is obviously multi-tasking too much - Attention Deficit Syndrome ? - and does not really engage or is continuously distracted. He also does not bring the "gravity, leadership, polished persona to the job" like Drummond used to, but that is not directly his fault - he can't change his personality any more than you or I can. However, with all that said, the one thing that is true is that his given (?) direction, when he joined IRNA/Safetran - to cut cost, relocate manufacturing etc. It was not his mandate to bring strategic thinking to the business or to grow it.

His predecessor (previous IRNA president), who left / was let go by Drummond, clearly refused to cut the business without an intelligent, sustainable plan for growth. Drummond's plan was to turn all the BU's into just sales offices and consolidate all mfg, R&D etc. Riddett's predecessor refused to go along with this even though he would have benefited personally. Everyone makes choices; you, me, Riddett. That does not make him an idiot. It is the same as if you were running a business and had a lot to gain personally if you cut costs significantly. You would either go along and walk away with your bonus or would decide that your morals/ethics prevent you from doing this. Everyone makes a choice.

Everything that is happening at Invensys has to be read in the context of the business being sold - it has been in process for 2 years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - In response to the "Controls does not have salesmen. It has sales engineers."

While I somewhat agree with this statement and the rest of your post, honestly I'd say there are maybe two in the sales position who can have "engineer" as part of their title and get away with it, though they are not really engineers. The rest, for the most part, neither generate new sales nor have engineering knowledge. But they do generate nothing but frustration for the engineering and development groups. For these people I would extend your statement of not enough knowledge of the manufacturing capability to no knowledge of the engineering capability and little to no knowledge of the customer requirements and expectations as well.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I don't have an opinion on Riddett, but he does seem to lack skills that you would expect to see in a CEO. I listened to his recent Town Hall call and it was very poor. However the frustrations on this blog are understandable. But some bloggers are too quick to pin the blame without looking at the facts. Rail is a very long cycle business and the current issues in Rail go back to three key problems.

  1. Ulf insisted on a 20% ROS even though all our competitors have margins in the range 10-14%. This was all about getting the share price to £4. To his credit Drummond did occasionally stand up to Ulf but ultimately went along with this folly, fostering a terrible culture of fear and 'yes men'.
  2. In an effort to build the order-book quickly, Drummond bid large projects (CBTC mostly) with a sharp pencil in growth markets even though we did not have core technology ready. That is the story of Singapore DTL.
  3. The Drummond exec was far too large and bloated, with no strategy or plan to build global engineering capability.
So, whilst Riddett is probably not up to the task the real problems in Rail, go back to Ulf and Drummond trying to do the impossible (probably for personal share option gain), i.e. to dramatically grow volume whilst maintaining the exceptional margins made in the niche domestic UK and Iberian marakets. Any business school graduate would tell you that this was not a feasible strategy.

All is not lost here, particularly if we are bought as a single entity for one of our competitors. I still work alongside great engineers and managers and there is a lot of value in the business. So lets lay off personal attacks on Riddett and focus on the real issues.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Riddett may or may not be an idiot. However what is clear is that the problems in both IOM and Rail were being posted on here almost a year ago. So the leadership of both business divisions must have known about it. The problems that led to the profits warning were there under Ulf's, Sudipta's and Riddett's leadership. Both IOM and Rail are long cycle project businesses, so to pretend that $92M in cost overruns suddenly just happened is untrue.

Sir Nigel Rudd resolved one of these problems last February. However Wayne didn't act quickly enough and fired Sudipta after the event. Neither Sudipta or Riddett were his appointments. His failure to act on Riddett will become apparent when Rail fails to meet the post warning expectations and performance continues to deteriorate. Rail was a $1B revenue, 18% return on sales business when Riddett took over. Let's see where it ends up.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - My last Year at Invensys Controls

There is one issue at Controls that really gets under my skin.

In the game of Craps rolling a 12 (a double 6) is extremely lucky for the house. The chance of rolling a double six is 1 in 36. If a player has just rolled a double six, the chance of the next roll being a double six is still 1 in 36. The events are independent, one roll of the dice does not affect the next roll.

No. The chance of the next roll being a double six is more likely to be zero. By this time the table would have been over turned and the players will be trying to lynch the guy running the game, calling him a cheat. The dice are more than likely loaded. The events are not independent.

Now, look at the way many organizations run their project books, not just Controls. When a project is booked in the value of the project and the chance of success as a percentage is entered. The percentage is an estimate by the sales guy, but this is not a problem. The management will then multiply the value of the each project by the percentage and then add all the projects together.

Say there is a widget project worth $100 and there is a 25% chance of winning the job, this is entered into the system. Say there are four widget projects in the system all for $100 with a 25% chance of success. The management will multiply all the projects by value and percentage and add them all together come up with a value of $100. Saying; that in the year $100 worth of projects will be delivered. This is nonsense. However it does have the advantage of inflating the value of the project book.

A 25% chance of winning is very low; it is saying that the widget is not very competitive. If the sales guy has been to four clients and all are rated at 25%; this is saying that the widget is not competitive across a number of clients. The events are not independent. Using the mathematics of probability is incorrect. By visiting four clients the possibility (not chance) of winning any of the four projects is revealed as being lower than 25%. The sales guy could visit 100 clients with the uncompetitive widget and still not win any project.

A better system would be to look only at projects on the book with a chance of success over 75%. This would provide a much better estimate of what will be delivered in projects in any one year. Of course, the value of the project book would plummet. Management would have to come up a better plan rather than pushing things out until next year. It would require better more creative management - not a bad thing.

Monday, January 23, 2012 - Re the Safetran employee who said we haven't seen low yet.

Well, we must be getting close with the lowest customer quality levels I have seen in the last 7 years. Then there was the profit "adjustment" from years of incorrect pricing spotted by the customer. Now we are looking at another major quantity of customer returns and customer repayment.

Riddett sits in his refurbished office tapping on his company-paid-for Apple devices telling everyone who will listen about his new S500 Mercedes.

Mon, 23 Jan 2012

Controls news: Plant closings. Mexicali was announced this past Friday. Belluno and Monaco, you both are on deck. Be prepared. Rather than diagnosing and fixing the problem, washed up sales guy will throw a band-aid on it. Typical management thinking around here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I hear that the "idiot" Riddett is coming down to visit us this week here in Australia. This will be the second visit in his 18 months in charge. Apparently he is spending less than a day here in our Melbourne HQ. How this fool thinks he can manage a global operation from Louisville, Kentucky is astonishing.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I think the point the guy was making with the joke about the reversing valve and wall thermostat is that Controls is a marginal player in many marginal markets. To some extent I must agree.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I cannot comment on the downtown line or Taiwan. All I know is that Spain has apparently turned Singapore around, Taiwan is apparently under control. Riddett is universally seen as an idiot (people refer to him as the idiot) on four continents. Amazing but obviously Wayne is happy with things. Safetran apparently has more problems to add to APAC

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When the former CFO, turned CEO, is suddenly "surprised" by an aggregate of $92 million in project cost overruns, it certainly reeks of some form of impropriety or conscious omissions. My first impression was that they must have thought they could bury those numbers long enough to secure a good acquisition price for the company. Purely conjecture, but there is almost no way this information wasn't well known with the executive levels. There's something rotten in London.

Sunday, January 22, 2012 - Re: "Out of nearly 4,000 Rail employment, maybe 20 are even aware that this blog exists":

This is not even close to the truth. I don't know of anyone in Rail who doesn't read this blog, even if they don't post to it. The reason for the success of this blog is the lack of any confidence in the Rail management, total distrust of what few communications occur and a total frustration with an ineffective management team that seem hell-bent on bringing a once great company to ruin. I'm sad to say it after 30 years with the company, but I think we are finished.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I left Invensys almost 2 years ago, after over almost 30 years in various parts of the business. I left on my own - but it had more to do with personal differences with my boss than dissatisfaction with the company. It happens and I have no regrets moving on. However, my humble opinion is that Invensys has a lot more great people than jerks. I miss many of my friends there and I wish them nothing but success.

Does Invensy have issues? Yes, not many companies don't. Take a look at the other weblogs on this site. Rockwell and Honeywell comments are just as negative. The others have very few comments, which I would take to indicate things are probably either better, people have better things to do or they just don't have a clue about this site.

I am not going to go into Rail or IOM as I really don't understand those business models other than knowing that contract accounting in these businesses can easily be abused and lead to surprises. It was the same in the old Building Systems business as well which I know a little more about. My last decade at Invensys was spent in Controls. I know quite a bit about the Controls business and still work in that industry.

I believe Invensys Controls to be a great business. It played a huge part in keeping Invensys out of bankruptcy following the mess Yurko left and the mass business disposals to keep the company afloat. That was when Rail was in the "Development Division" which meant it was not yet worth selling but non-core to the Invensys management at that time. Controls has always had consistent margins and cash flow. Controls was for sale along with most everything except what evolved as IOM. Controls was kept because it did not attract a price worth Invensys giving up those margins and cash flow. It was for sale because it lacked the "glamor" of the automation business.

The Controls business has had an average tenure of its Presidents of something less than 2 years. Mark Balcunas now has the longest tenure of anybody in this role under Invensys. To my mind, he is also the best one they have had. Is he a washed up salesman? He was. When the old Climate Controls and Appliance Controls business were combined, he went from being the Vice President of North America Appliance Controls to the Maytag Sales role, which was in the process of merging with Whirlpool This was due to the early bias of the executive team being from the Climate business rather than any reflection on Mark. I envy Mark's career resurrection and my belief is that he deserves it. Is he perfect? Far from it, but he has done a good job.

The comment about the salesman carrying the reversing valve, the washer valve and the thermostat is a joke. Aside from the aftermarket business in the US and the Heating business in Europe, Controls does not have salesmen. It has sales engineers who are responsible for getting products spec'd into new models. They don't carry around anything other than a knowledge of the customers requirements, the engineering ability of the development staff and some but not enough knowledge of the manufacturing capability of the organization. It is similar to the auto industry. While there are some breakthrough developments, it is very limited because the customer generally does not want to fund it, it is unproven which is hugely important to the customer and it can be very expensive.

In my opinion, the primary management issues in Controls still revolve around biases. The US vs. Asia vs. Europe and lingering Climate vs. Appliance. The regional biases revolve around historic and cultural issues. These business have always tended to revolve around regional management structures. Over Control's history, sometimes these businesses have had a US dominated central executive team and at other times these businesses have stood alone. US managers have always struggled with understanding that the rest of the world does not necessarily operate like it does in the US. This has always been an issue and will continue to be until there is truly a "Controls" management team free from regional biases. As for the lingering Climate vs. Appliance bias, this is slowly going away as people move on. When these businesses were combined in the mid to late 90s, 125 senior managers were called together to effect the combination. Of those 125, when I left there were less than 25 left. I suspect it is even less now. A similar but much more difficult transformation will need to occur to get rid of the regional biases.

All my best to my good friends at Invensys.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Singapore DTL project must be a disaster by now, from what has been going around in the small circle of railway engineers, and the situation in Taiwan is even worse. The rumours going around in Taipei are that the English from UK and elsewhere are not concentrating on their jobs and work towards the successful completion of the project, but are just spending time in pubs and engaging in activities which are morally wrong. The authorities have heard about this now and will be commencing actions on the individuals soon. Those who fly frequently from the UK are also engaged in such activities.

Friday, January 20, 2012 Re: "…out of nearly 4000 employees in Rail, not one has ever come on here to explain what a success Riddett is."

Out of nearly 4,000 Rail employment, maybe 20 are even aware that this blog exists. The reason you don't hear anything good getting posted here is because only malcontents post here (including my own self.)

Still, one has to only wonder what Mr. Riddett's goals were for holding a frankly bizarre meeting of surviving employees since it ended up being kin to Captain Edward John Smith informing the crew that there would be plenty of ice for their gin even though the ship is sinking.

The reason why all the ink printers across Invensys ran out of paper immediate after the meeting is because everyone finds it rather dodgy to limit one's resume to just 2 pages. Somehow the meeting failed to instill confidence in the corporation's management.

Look yonder on the horizon! Is that rescue ship I see named Siemens?

Friday, January 20, 2012 - Spanish empire in Rail:

Sudipta in IOM was far better than Guzman in Rail. Rail is no more a UK MNC, but Spanish Co. May be thinking the whole world is substandard to Spanish.

Friday, January 20, 2012 - Spanish empire in Rail:

Does the company want to diminish the shareholders to Spanish only? If the project in Singapore is managed and directed by IRSE why the need to have the IRAP P and his team be based in Singapore? Why the IRSE continue to sack the Singapore team one by one and IRAP P keeps on recruiting in Singapore for the same project? Isn't it the IRSE that brought the project in to delay and cost overrun by not providing relevant product info and not collaborating to others in IRNE/IRAP for 2 years after the project start? Then why the project was transitioned to IRSE? What kind of strategy is this?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Rail is hitting a new low. It took some believing but unfortunately it's true. Riddett is, I'm sorry to say, way over his head. The town hall webcast was received with a mixture of humour and incredulity. He sounded like a 10-year-old in a spelling-bee. He is an embarrassment to Rail. Jesus Guzman wasn't much better with his Spain-only view. Neither are global leaders. A home grown plant manager and a Spanish R&D manager. Both in the wrong jobs and if left there will bring Wayne down. Still it's his choice.

Thursday, January 19, 2012 - My Last Year at Invensys Controls.

I once head a joke: What do you call someone with a reversing valve, a water valve out of a washing machine and a wall thermostat in their bag? The answer: An Invensys Salesman.

Of course Ranco reversing valves are no more, but the point is that the product lineup at Invensys Controls simply makes no sense. There are one or two products in each market segment, but Controls is not strong in any market segment. Worst still Controls have purchased companies and then proceeded to let these companies whither on the vine.

Of course a lot of what Allen Yurko did simply did not make sense. But no one at Invensys was able to integrate or develop the synergies in any of the companies that were purchased. No doubt this is an extremely difficult thing to do, but Tyco is able to do it, Emmerson is able to do it and Siemens is famous for it. Look at all the companies purchased by Controls, Firex, Paragon, Eliwell, Eberle they have all gone backwards under the stewardship of Invensys Controls, not to mention the companies that were sold, Fasco etc. Have I have missed any?

I cannot think of any manager at Invensys who ever shown any interest in putting together a sensible strategy to tie these companies together. In fact the opposite is true. Whenever mid-level staff has tried to work with other groups in the organization, it has been my experience that senior management will try to sabotage every effort. Petty land grabs and people trying to defend their patch is all that is on offer. When it was suggested that people at Controls should talk to the now sold Invensys Building Services about wall thermostats, there was hell to pay. Building Services might sell more wall thermostats than Controls and Controls might lose the wall thermostat business. There are people at Invensys who can close factories and shut down product lines; but show me anyone who can build a business.

The real issue for Controls is that all the R&D effort is fractured. With all these different product lines all the expensive R&D is spent on single products. There are no product families where R&D can be spread across. Of course this is not conceding that Controls does any R&D; Controls is more a jobbing shop.

What we can expect in future is a load of un-inspiring bean-counting managers who can read a spreadsheet and say "We will close factory X"

This is death for Controls hence why I have a plan to leave.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spanish empire in Rail: For two years after the project start, the IRNE consistently did not cooperate well with Singapore DTL project teams which used to spread over UK, AUS, Spain, Taiwan, India and Singapore. IRNE did not provide timely (1) CBTC product interface requirement to various subsystems within TDMS, ATS and PSD, (2) the product safety cases (3) type approval details, (4) Train borne ATC design and so on. Then the so called "We Know What we are doing" IRNE took over the project direction and management. The whole UK, AUS, Taiwan and India teams were thrown out of the project. All work taken over by the Spanish. Does anyone know how this project is doing now?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Riddett's town hall webcast meeting was one of the most amateurish and embarrassing I have seen. Slides flicking backwards and forwards out of sync with what was being presented making it difficult to follow. Riddett's presentation was terrible. He was clearly reading aloud and he sounded ridiculous, like a child reading a book. You could even hear his papers shuffling as he read them. People were actually chuckling in the large group I was in. Jesus Guzman was a lot better, talking freely and fluently although his heavy Spanish accent was difficult to understand at times.

As for content - there wasn't any. All generic comments about how everything is going well. Didn't we just announce a profit warning? The line of business (LOB) model was impossible to understand. Three unknown people with Spanish names are going to be responsible for all main line, mass transit, products and maintenance business. So what are the BU Presidents and their existing teams that bid and deliver this business currently going to do? The big unanswered question regarding what's happening to R&D was not covered. Waste of time and 25 minutes of my life I can't get back.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We had an "inspirational" talk today from the idiot Riddett and the real boss of Rail, Jesus Guzman. What a pathetic shambles! All we could hear was the rustling of paper as Riddett read badly from his script. People were just stood laughing at his total inadequacy. The "lines of business" we were being told about convinced nobody that we are going to get out of this mess we are in with our jobs intact.

How much longer Wayne?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

There are many other shoes that remain to drop in rail in North America. With poorly executed R&D on the shelf for technology products, with the inability to introduce or support the most insignificant technology-based product, with all the talent that has left and that is leaving in frustration of working for these incredible "Executive" idiots, and with so many other rail-focused companies stepping up their game in the North American market, IRNA is all but dead on the vine.

Everyone is so critical of Riddett, however, that's not what will be responsible for driving the last nail in the coffin for IRNA. It's Riddett's replacement that took things to an all-time low. He was a fairly weak salesman, and he's proven to be incredibly ill-equipped to handle the challenges of a business that cries out for a strong leader.

You haven't seen "low" yet. There is much more to come.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I worked in IRNE for three years but left to a competitor as I was told that all new business would go to Spain. IRNE pre qualified for the two Danish contracts and this was taken away with Dimetronic taking over the bids as they "knew what they were doing". Two bids and both lost. Spain totally uncompetitive. Spain is in recession so no more lucrative EU funded contracts. Watch what happens next.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The interesting thing is that out of nearly 4000 employees in Rail, not one has ever come on here to explain what a success Riddett is. Isn't it obvious to all who have come across him that he is not capable of operating at this level? We can't wait here in Oz for his global town hall web meeting. No doubt more genius insights from our "CEO". Incidentally, are we not going to stop calling Financial Directors, CFOs and MDs as CEOs. There only two of these in Invensys. Talk about confusing our customers. During the last visit of Magoo to Singapore the client thought he was meeting the CEO of Invensys. To say he was disappointed is an understatement. We've just lost the next Singapore contract for the North South East West lines and were told our total lack of capable leadership was the core reason. Spanish people that didn't want to be here, a French CEO and then another American CEO that appears clueless. That's on top of an Australian COO they are used to dealing with. Look, chaos does not do it justice.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Riddett:'All hands on deck'?
Obadia: 'The 5 pillars'?
Crossfield: 'BIP'
Traynor: 'Business streamlining'

In 5 years, a book may be available on airport bookshelves about this... And perhaps the future leaders of this world will pick it up, ingest the detais and say, "Never again". These 4 imbeciles will only equal diasater.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Communications in the IOM (dis)organization has been a problem from day one. I don't believe Wonderware distributors (who are Wonderware) have even been told that Sudipta is gone. Thankfully we have this Blog.

Someone below mentioned the status of LOB. Hopefully reality sets in and management recognize that LOB really means revert the business model back to pre the IOM disaster. The component businesses have different customers, different go-to-market strategies, different products - there is no synergy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

No matter how you dress it up, Riddett is responsible for Rail and the £20m hit. According to sources in Australia there is more to come. This idiot has been in charge for over a year and has done nothing. Even today he has only visited us once. Look, this chap isn't up to the job and there is no point in firing local management as they have customer relationships. Riddett is completely incompetent and if action isn't taken then those above are to blame.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I am still amazed at all the fuss on the share price - but then most of the news was buried a long time ago (like bidding at a loss for Singapore LTA). All this was known by the Directors and VPs of the Invensys Rail NE business at the time. The facts were masked by all in order to announce a major contract award. Taiwan is a hangover from many years ago and was always going to lose money. The real issues are closer to home though. The Network Rail part of the NE business has not performed well for a long time and when you add in SSL/SSR then you have the sum total of the Westinghouse business.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What an absolute disaster! Makes you wonder who was the previous CFO. Looks like my prediction a few weeks ago was heralding the truth. Collapse to 160 and then someone will buy. Either way, this mismanagement and surprise cannot continue and wouldn't anywhere else.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What a surprise, three months before fiscal year end! For a CEO (ex CFO) it is not great "value creation" news! I am wondering what is the role of Delivery; Finance and external (independent) auditors should have flagged this few months before. Are there any other hidden issues?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

IOM, don't fret. The China Nuclear job is a hangover from the Ulf and Paulette era (among a lot of other things). If the job can be successfully delivered it will be a real accomplishment. Keep positive. Management has now done the right thing (yes even David Thomas and Wayne). So focus on your job and don't be afraid to communicate to management. You should know that the days of management who think they are supremely better than you (with the exception of one or two who remain - hopefully will be purged) are over. Let's move forward and not make excuses.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Interesting isn't it? The China Nuclear problems have been a point of discussion here in on these weblogs for many months. Known problems internally and on external blogs, but a surprise to the management needing a root and branch review to discover. What does that tell you about internal information transfer within Invensys and in particular vertical information flow? Where there is no internal channel for comms, it'll find its way out in other ways, ergo this blog.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

With the Announcements of write-offs, all pieces of the Puzzle are falling in place.

  1. Sudipta got Fired for the £40 Million hole in IOM Results that he caused and hid. Miraculously Rail CEO still survives as he sits on £20 Million hole. Looks like no one wants to Captain that Sinking Ship.
  2. All that was written in the Blog regarding Chinese Nuclear Contracts making Losses and Invensys Management Cooking Books were finally proved to be True. This implies that employees and shareholders should trust this blog more than the "official" Invensys statements.
  3. If we dig further, we may find more worms inside this ditch. Invensys management has lost complete credibility. They should be sued for misguiding the Markets, the Share Holders and the Employees by precooking false profits on Loss-making orders.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Now the blood letting and recrimination has slowed down, it's a good time to take a look at what happened in Rail. Under Drummond there was a well educated, professional set of global executives that provided oversight and governance across the 4 business units. The latter didn't like it as they were asked difficult questions and in many cases stopped from taking poor decisions. Campion, Whitfield, Traynor, Drury, King, Barry and others had the ability and insight to alert the CEO to risks and problems. The CEO may or may not decide to listen and do something. But at least he had the opportunity.

So then Riddett, a local President of a small manufacturing part of Rail, gets appointed COO, and then CEO Drummond's team gets decimated to almost nothing. All governance is removed by Riddett, who knows almost nothing about the business and projects. He has no idea of what he is head of, the customers, the projects and the risks. For almost a year he does little to find out, deciding to sit in his expensively refurbished offices here in Louisville.

If you think having a small team of professional executives providing governance and oversight is expensive, try Riddett's way. The difference over the last 15 months is £20m, so far.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Profit warnings are issued, contracts run into difficulties and the share value drops 20% in an hour. Yet still we are supposed to "shut up and get back to work". Or maybe all this stuff is our fault for being a bit negative?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shedding more light on IRAP: Australia projects have problems, Singapore LTA project losing money, Taiwan long-standing issues. Incurring further cost building up a useless Apac headquarters in Singapore with a whole team of Directors both local and expatriates, little engineering talent and depending on expensive imports from Spain and UK. Where do you think all the money is going down the drain? More bad news to follow I hear.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Does anyone know what these new people in the ranks of VPs and Ds based in Singapore are doing for IRAP? It is strange that all these new comers are from non-rail; hopefully intend to make the current Aussie leadership team redundant.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Looks like the nattering nabobs of negativism that hang out in this blog may have guessed right for a change:

Extracts from Telegraph today - article by Emily Gosden :

    Invensys shares lost almost a fifth of their value after the technology group warned problems with work on nuclear power stations in China and rail contracts would wipe £60m from expected profits. The company had been targeting a rise in profits year-on-year but said that underlying operating profits would now fall "significantly" below the £262m for the 2010-11 year. Wayne Edmunds, Invensys chief executive, described the profit warning as "disappointing".

    Invensys said it had reviewed three contracts to install and commission control and safety systems on nuclear reactors in China, in its operations management division, and had discovered delays and extra engineering work that would cost it £40m. The problems relate to one contract, for four reactors, which was worth around $250m (£163m) and would now be loss-making. The other two contracts, which relate to another four reactors, were still expected to be profitable.

    The company said in its rail division it had discovered that project reviews which had been conducted at a local level had been "ineffective". It had now conducted a detailed "drains-up" review of its rail contracts which had revealed various problems with a number of small contracts, which, together, would lead to costs of £20m more than expected.

    While declining to disclose the specifics of the affected rail projects, the company said that it was not a case of there being a single "endemic" reason that affected all its rail operations.

    Invensys also said that its controls division, which supplies technology for white goods, had been affected by "weak" appliance markets in North America and Europe, but that this had been "partially offset" by continued strength in commercial and wholesale markets.

    Analysts said the warning raised questions about Mr Edmunds, the former finance director who replaced Ulf Henriksson as chief executive in March 2011, pledging an "increased focus on execution."

    Invensys shares have lost almost 50% of their value since January 2011, when they hit 364.3p. The company was relegated from the FTSE 100 in May 2011. The shares tumbled 44, or 19.4pc, to 183.1p.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Oh my god! Rail which makes up over half the profit of Invensys drops over £20m in profit. How on earth has the CEO and former COO survived? The disaster in Rail APAC has been on here for more than 6 months. Riddett is a disaster, which everybody has been saying on this weblog for over a year.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Wayne and his team have made two mistakes. Firstly letting Ulf's legacy (these problems didn't happen in the last 8 months - see postings on here a year ago) to remain buried. Secondly why didn't he fire the moron in charge of Rail? And Sudipta should have gone immediately. Riddett is an Ulf appointment and a complete idiot. In fact he is despised and a joke figure across four continents which is some achievement. Now his true capability is clear. What more do you want to see? Wait for it to get worse ?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Incredible. Just 10 weeks to go and all the time Riddett has been telling people in Rail that all is well. Seems posts on here about what was really happening in Rail and Riddetts capabilities (lack of) were true. Invensys in APAC must be making a loss this year while moving into lavish new facilities and recruiting! £20 million write off in Rail. What a disaster as it's all in emerging markets in APAC. Where is Drummond when you need him? Riddett is an imbecile who has been in charge as COO or CEO for 18 months. Come back Drummond please and let's have some basic competency.

Friday, January 13, 2012

During the Invensys Conference call for analysts and fund managers today, David Thomas the CFO (or "that plonker" as he is known internally) let slip that Rail's problems were in Australia. What a management shambles and all should follow the old UK "wise investor" practice of selling and/or running for the door at the first profit warning.

Friday, January 13, 2012

So, the shares are tumbling and at least one commentator has "lost confidence in the management". Come on Wayne - you have already fixed IOM's leader - how about getting rid of the idiot Riddett and giving Rail a chance?

Friday, January 13, 2012 - Blogger Thurs 12, opening statement, "used to work for Invensys Rail UK but was made redundant last year":

Thursday, January 12, 2012


    Q3 performance

    The performance of the substantial majority of the Group continues to be in line with management expectations. However a number of operational issues relating to certain projects within Invensys Operations Management and Invensys Rail will affect performance for the current year. We now expect that our reported operating profit1 for the full year will be significantly below last year.

    Invensys Operations Management maintained momentum with growth in revenue supported by continued market strength and its large order book. However a review has been carried out of the engineering requirements and associated costs for the three contracts to install and commission control and safety systems into eight nuclear reactors under construction in China. This review has concluded that there will be a delay in delivery and the need for additional engineering to be carried out on the first contract and, whilst some of this engineering will be reused on the later contracts, this will impact the division's performance this year by around £40 million.

    At Invensys Rail, the division has achieved notable recent successes in winning orders in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UK. However detailed reviews of a small number of contracts have identified the need to delay revenue recognition and provide for additional costs, which will result in the division's performance for the year being around £20 million less than expected.

    At Invensys Controls, the appliance markets in North America and Europe remained weak which was partially offset by continued strength in the commercial and wholesale markets.

    Going forward, we remain confident about the prospects for the Group.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Regarding the Safetran comment below: The poster is correct. The present head of Safetran is a salesman who believes in milking what he presently has to the max i.e. milk the current products to the max. It is well known that he is not a strategic thinker or planner.

This approach can and will work in slow moving markets like US rail. Only problem is that at some point there will be a strategic change in the industry, as is presently happening with PTC. That is when the current product portfolio can become a "boat anchor" and you need different products, but don't have them.

When electronic interlockings came out, everyone said that relays would go away. But Safetran still sells a lot of relays. Similarly, if PTC is successful, he believes that Safetran will still sell many crossing products (Safetran's main revenue stream). Hence even with PTC, he believes that things will sort themselves out and Safetran will not be affected. So why take the risk of new product development? Plus he meets his numbers and makes his bonus.

This is a valid approach and many of you would consider similar options as well. It remains to be seen if it works longer term or not. Probably another 3 years before the effects will be seen on Safetran, if any.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - My Last Year at Invensys Controls.

I would like to reflect on factory closures and moves to developing economies (low cost) and what has happened.

It is common to hear Managers at Controls say, "our clients moved to China and we followed them". An obvious strategy and probably "easy", but a strategy that was never going to provide a successful outcome. This strategy fails to recognise several key points.

Firstly that the economies of markets had changed - simply the sell price of many of our products had plummeted. Secondly the distribution methods of these products had changed. Thirdly our stocking and delivery policies on some products was so rigid, it is little wonder customers looked for other alternatives. I concede the second and third points are related

Lets take these points one at a time. The management of Invensys cannot be blamed for competitors coming into the market and lowering prices. However when you have been producing the same product since 1950's, basically unchanged you can't be surprised.

Also anyone who has been to an Invensys Factory In China or Mexico and a competitors factory will see the difference. It is not sufficient to simply transplant Invensys into a developing country. Anyone can see the extra layers of cost Invensys slaps onto its production. Have I flown to all these factories at great cost? Yes I have. However look at the products that come out of our competitor factories they are designed for low end markets. They not only use lower specifications but more importantly they offer very restricted line variations. I would reference Bitron or Carel.

Secondly, distribution. Recently I tried to see how easy it was to buy a direct replacement of all the Invensys products I was aware of from our competitors. I was able to get quotations on 90% of the products via the internet - hardly surprising. What did strike me was how easy it was, in fact it was easier that getting a quotation from Invensys. I could buy in box quantities; I did not need a distribution supply agreement. The cost was comparable with any price I could get from an Authorized Invensys Dealer.

I suppose my third point relates to my second point. After speaking to many distributors of our products it becomes evident that they stock alternatives to the Invensys brands. This is because it many instances it is so much easier to get a product direct from some manufacture in China than it is to get an original part from Invensys. This was confirmed by looking at Invoices and Order dates.

This is where the current management strategies have failed Controls. Simply moving production to China was a road to nowhere. Where is the recognition that Invensys Controls had to change? Where are the new product directions? This is where the current management has failed over many years.

In my next installment I will detail what our more successful competitors have done.

To the chap who thinks I should get back to work - I suppose he will say that this is all 20/20 hind sight. However, I have been saying these things for years.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - re: What has happened to the CSR deal?

Well apparently, if what I hear is true, then Madrid don't want to give the Chinese the technology and Wayne does. The Spanish know that a Chinese supplier with mass transit signalling technology will destroy their "do it all from Madrid" model. Job losses in Madrid is a strict No from Riddett and Guzman.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Safetran went into a short term view of slashing costs for short term gain under Riddett. R&D slashed, no innovation and we now have the worst delivered quality in Invensys. Our new President is a nice but misguided fool and Riddett is still running things. Products get released to customers with loads of faults in the rush to be a me-too supplier.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Well, well. UK stock market down today, yet Invensys up nearly 6% on the day with volumes double the usual daily trades. It does look like a good-news situation. With less than one quarter to trade, the performance in IOM and Rail must be strong. What happened to all the posts on China Nuclear and Rail? Well done to Edmunds and Thomas. Riddett has clearly turned Rail around and is on target or better. Not sure why Sudipta got fired.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

So, anything new about Invensys IOM? Wonder if Mike will keep the "Marble Palace" in Dallas? Wonder how much turnover at the senior level will happen. Mark Davidson has taken early retirement. Any others? Mike brought Pankaj Mody from Honeywell. Not sure about others.

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - RE "Shut up and get back to work":

Didn't hit a raw nerve at all. Bloggers decided to give you what you gave those telling the truth. Obviously you didn't realise potential vendors and customers reviewed this blog as you wouldn't have posted something so asinine - someone must've told you that after the fact. Now you're trying to explain & clean up your crude and rude posting - incredible. Damage has been done, first impressions are everything, kindness may be forgotten but arrogance and ignorance are always remembered.

You are tired of hearing about and reading the blog yet you continue to post? As you state, no one is forcing you to be here so leave and do not return.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I used to work for Invensys Rail UK but was made redundant last year. I experienced the frustration shared by many on this blog however I have had a long enough career in the Engineering industry to know that Invensys is not unique in this respect.

My advice is to stop wasting your time by whinging here. This will change nothing. It will only harm the company which helps no-one. If you feel so strongly, put some constructive suggestions down on paper explaining what you see is wrong, what needs to be changed and how you will contribute. You have a choice - be thankful you have a job, get on with it to the best of your ability and try to make a difference, or you can vote with your feet and leave.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Safetran has lost its passion for the rail signaling business, and that passion has been replaced by greed and self preservation by select management. Customers have seen the company erode for some time now, and they have tried to maintain their commitment to the company that "once was" in hopes that Safetran would somehow return to their former stature as a leader in signaling. That customer commitment has been waning for some time now, and as Safetran falls further into the abyss, alternate suppliers are benefiting. XO Rail, Siemens, Ansoldo and a number of smaller independent companies are successfully nipping away at the bones, and soon nothing will remain of the great company that was. For several years now we've seen nothing but poorly implemented ideas. Certainly nothing comparable to the true innovation of Safetran a decade ago. The focus on safety, vitality, maintainability, etc. is all but gone. Now it's more about getting a product to market, with little care about how that product will perform. The new Safetran is all about copying others successes and selling them cheaper, not about creating value through innovation. If it wasn't for Safetran being able to leverage "their" full line of "old school" products, the doors would already have been closed, but the end of leveraging yesterdays spoils is about over. The only good that can come from how poorly this company is run is bankruptcy, and therefore a new beginning.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The mandatory screensaver will also be used to detect 'non activity' from the workforce who it is deemed should have an activity >80%. However the management forgot that the type of people they are targeting are 100% active (50% work and 50% facebook) so the purpose of the exercise will not bear fruit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I am glad to see that my post on 'get back to work' has hit such a raw nerve. I mean every word. I am fed up with people in the office talking about this blog. It's time to focus on working hard and delivering for our customers. Do you negative whingers not realise that the markets and our customers (present and future) read this blog? Every negative comment reduces the chances of a customer placing an order with us or stops an investor buying our stock. My point is simply either stay and work hard or leave and get a job somewhere else. Its that simple, no one is forcing you to stay.

I reckon only 10 - 15 negative weirdos are blogging here and they are poisoning our well. Have you all not realised that we are in the worst economic crisis of all time? I work hard here to earn money to support my family, sure everything is not perfect but no where is. Again could you all please get back to work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Have you really still got Kevin Riddett in charge of Rail? Amazing - when he took P&L responsibility almost 18 months ago the return on sales was round 18%, inherited from Drummond. Let's see what he comes up with on his own! If his track record here in Alsaldo is to go by then Invensys Rail is in trouble.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mandatory screen savers ? Disgraceful. Probably a HR idea, i.e. out of touch and offensive to most employees. I thought Ulf and Larson were gone. Probably the new guy Drury with the same old ideas. This leadership does not get free spirit, innovation, creativity and success. Still chasing the same old formula approach.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The last post from Australia is partly true in that there is a lavish new facility in Melbourne which is beautiful and very expensive. Meanwhile the layers of management has increased with new appointees in the Singapore HQ, most of which, for a business this small are unsustainable. Riddett appears happy to keep recruiting and growing costs here in APAC. Obadia is invisible and we are not sure if he, or anyone is in actually in charge. In fact it's just like the old days with Phil Ellingworth still in charge.

What has happened to the CSR China deal that was much vaunted by Ulf a year ago? I know that we here in APAC haven't done a single dollar in business with them? Just hype?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Two words. MANDATORY SCREENSAVER. What a stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid idea. What is even more disheartening is the realization that someone is actually getting paid to put such an idiotic policy into place. Unbelievable. I have no respect for this company whatsoever.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This is to the blogger telling someone else: "You are as much to blame as the management for our problems" and "shut-up and get back to work".

If we employees have the SAME decision-making power on business, people, cash etc. everything as the Executives have, then we are "as much to blame as the management for our problems". Personally, do you expect someone else to share the negative results of your own decision if you made one? Of course, you can't - if you're an adult. Within Controls, we employees always are the first batch for redundancy caused by worse business result year by year, or some "changes" initiated by exec.teams. Any executives voluntarily leave for their decisions which prove to be bad ones?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I agree with the last post from the Saftran employee. According to our CEO, Riddett and our MD here in Australia everything is fine. We are in new fantastic offices that are amazing compared to the old ones. Beautiful docklands setting. Business is good and we are poised for a good year. Never seem to see our President Obadia but thats a good sign. Things are on track here in APAC. All this negative posting is wrong.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - Re: 'Typical of this blog'.

You label those of us who dare to complain about our management as 'arrogant', and then in the next breath you snort "Get back to work and shut up." Oh, the irony. You should run for President.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What if half the stuff published on here was true? Say IOM was really in trouble with China nuclear? It's been on here for nearly a year. Equally if the information about a disaster under this Riddett guy in Asia is correct then the company would be in trouble.

Controls is what it is and is in terminal demise.

However, the IOM and Rail comments can't be accurate as something would have to be made public since Invensys is a UK publicly traded FTSE company. Officers of the company, especially Edmunds and Thomas would have to say something. Therefore the only conclusion that can be rationally reached is that it's all malicious gossip spread by ex-employees. Guidance has been on track, so clearly this must be the case. Stop the gossip.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 will be the year for the Rail business. We need to focus on delivering projects to make money. That means making existing products into the cash cows. Look at all the money spent on the Interlocking series these have to start earning their keep. That means the D has to work on developing these. As for the R has to focused on the rising stars : ERTMS and Control Centers. But no more DTG-R : falling star before it was released. And no more playing with academic ideas for you Rrs.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

This is to the ignorant blogger telling someone else to "shut-up and get back to work". You only show your arrogance, ignorance and childish ways by making those statements.

  1. The person never said they were going to retire, just this will be their last year at Controls. Perhaps they've started looking for a better position and positive they will find one in the near term. Could it be they've found a better position, have given notice and will be leaving. Perhaps they've learned redundancies are coming and preparing to be one of the unfortunate. In any event while they are still at the company they will state instances of lost business, opportunities and the sort.
  2. Maybe the person works for or alongside you and is tired of hearing your idiotic comments - from your posting it's apparent you make them quite often.
  3. How do you know it was a mister? Perhaps the person is a woman. Also, maybe this person is management or a contractor. Point is you don't know.
  4. If you don't like what the person or others said, don't come to the blog.
  5. Stop being jealous because someone is leaving the company and your laziness has you stuck in a rut or you're going to have to actually do your own work instead of just taking credit for it.
  6. Why don't you shut up and get back to work, stop being lazy, arrogant, ignorant, negative and get a life.
Note: You could have stated something positive but you didn't - look in the mirror before you call someone else negative.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - To Mr 'last year in Controls'." - why so aggressive? Are you an exec who is responsible for the demise?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 = To Mr 'last year in Controls':

Please proceed with exactly what you had planned to do in your time left at Controls. While most of this blog contains rants against Mr. Riddet, whoever he is, there is not much mention of Controls aside from the occasional stab in the back of the so called "Washed up Key Account Manager".

There is a lot that goes on in the shadows here and we need someone to share their opinions about our "Management". You definitely are not alone and your assessment of our management is in line with what quite a few of us believe is true around here.

We have had quite a few good people leave and quite a few are looking and have been looking for the last few months. Obviously the still encumbered economy has a lot to do with those who have not found greener pastures yet, but also I believe people are looking for their next experience to be better than this one so they are taking their time to find the right position.

Based on chatter that I have heard coming through the grapevine we are due for yet another major hatchet job, and it appears that the Electronics group will be affected in a major way once again. These events tend to happen toward the end of the Fiscal Year so we are approximately 1 to 2 months out at the moment. Govern yourselves accordingly.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - To Mr 'last year in Controls'.

Typical of this blog. How about working for the last year of your career instead of spreading crass and poisonous gossip on this site? Look in the mirror, all you negative bloggers. You are as much to blame as the management for our problems. Lazy and arrogant. Get back to work and shut up. Or if thats too much for you, retire now and get a life.

Monday, January 9, 2012

You really have to question the intention of Sudipita to outsource the R&D, IT and Finance/Accounting. Almost every company sees R&D as its future. Sudipita brought most of the gangs and most of those guys have no industrial automation experience. After a little while, the gang will have hijacked the whole company.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2012 will be a very interesting year for Invensys. We've had years of claimed disasters any minute now. Here in Safetran, we have had a great two years and sales and profits are good. According to our CEO, Mr Riddett, we are in great shape and there is little to worry about.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Senior Management is all about strategy. Not the administration of the business and projects. Perhaps this is this reason for a desperate and competing collection of business that make up Invensys. Nobody really thought about what was it all about.

Unfortunately British corporate history is littered with building business to suit the stock market's very short view point and financial people make a lot from putting theses acquisitions together.

So perhaps Safetran would be better if alone as it has fallen victim to the British disease. Look at the successful manufacturing companies - with few exceptions all non-British. e.g. Nissan. Look at the companies that have managed themselves in to the ground - Rover.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2012 will be my last year at Invensys Controls. Over my short time left I intend to chronicle all the mistakes and lost opportunities made by Controls. My main contention is that the role of manager is not just to set budgets and approve payments but to look at the world and decide a direction. That is what Controls has lacked. While our competitors like Emerson and Honeywell have developed there business, Controls has contracted. The only function the management at controls could complete was to close factories and dump product lines. This is not management this is bean counting.

Await the next installment.

Saturday, January 7, 2012 - Re:"None of our competitors have outsourced their R&D."

A few did in fact try though none were stupid enough to believe the Cognizant company's lies. Some competitors have tried to outsource, failed like every company inevitably does, and re-acquired enough of their laid-off competence to claw their way back to industry relevance.

Invensys management has yet to learn the lesson that outsourcing does not work. They believe the claims of companies like Cognizant and they accept the lying claims from managers of other companies that tried it, saw it does not work, yet continue to claim it does to avoid having to admit they were fools to try, losing millions of serious money and losing industry reputation while trying.

So yes, competitors have in fact bought in to the myth of outsourcing. Eventually Invensys management will accept the fact that it cannot work and give it up also.

Saturday, January 7, 2012 - "Final question: Can the individual companies function better or worse without Invensys lying on top of them?"

Look at Safetran Systems in the United States before Invensys swooped down and gobbled them up and look at Safetran today.

Invensys has been the death of a number of companies that used to produce quality goods and services for customers who actually wanted their products until Invensys looted the companies.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Can someone explain the frequent visits of the Invensys VPs to Cognizant? Why should they come so often? Freebies!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For those concerned about Riddett's leadership, I suggest you don't worry. Guzman and the Dimetronic team are really running the show and Riddett seems to do what he is told.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

We need to start reversing the damage done by Sudipta before it is too late. Fire his jokers, stop futile outsourcing of R&D to Cognizant, create strong R&D teams in US. Sudipta's claim that outsourcing is going to be the new industry trend has not been observed anywhere else. None of our competitors have outsourced their R&D.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anybody in Rail expecting Riddett to implement anything then forget it. He is on a comp package that will see him retire in wealth when Invensys gets sold. Don't believe me? Watch.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Riddett really has become a case study in Rail. Here in the US he pulled off the biggest heists ever. He and other fools think he turned Safetran around.

What actually happened is that he used HQ (UK plc) money to pay all the severance and transfer costs, together with funding an empty factory building in California for 3 years. Meanwhile the IOM factory now makes his product at best, break-even. For Ridditt a big success and promotion way above his ability. For Invensys? Probably a loss.

Now he continues to dismantle what's left of R&D in Rancho and doing the same in the UK. Are there any accountants left that can't see this stupidity? How can management get bonuses when sales values are changed the next year and money has to be paid back? Taking money from HQ and laying people off to claim savings! Does Invensys have a CEO or CFO ?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mike Caliel was not the main force behind that disaster (and marketing play) known as InFusion, and it's evil twin, Archestra. That goes far back to the era of Jeff Kissling and Pankaj Mody, who sold Rick Haythornthwaite on the concept and proceeded down the road of pouring many tens of millions of critical investment dollars into the sewer.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I am not sure if IOM has implemented this LOB thing. Have anyone seen the IOM Marketing brochures changing or even evolving towards this concept?

It is a very easy thing to find out - ask all the so called IOM Technical Sales Consultant (TSCs) about what is LOB and even Infusion. If they cannot put up a convincing sales pitch to your secretary and even to the lowest level Application Engineer (AE), then it is another waste of time, e-mail bandwidth and memory space.

I am not trying to apportion any blame, but you can see how the front line Invensys Marketing people and the sales people - have all been "sleeping".

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Stock prediction for Invensys: Accelerated pressure as business softens. Stock will fall and the lower end to get serious interest 16 p. Fair price for a failing giant with just a chink of light.

Monday, January 2, 2012

What is all this line of business (LOB) about ? I understand how IOM have implemented it and what it's benefits can be. However in Rail we had some half baked announcement from Mr Magoo (Riddett ) that had no names or detail. Two months later I cannot find a manager anywhere who knows what is actually happening differently. What a load of BS. Why is Rail in this mess?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Interesting article in the Sunday Times on Invensys as a top tip for 2012. The City Money seems to be on Invensys being taken over. The only obstacle is the pensions problem. How will they fix that in this climate?

Monday, January 2, 2012

There is alternative view to Crossfield and his Cronies shrinking the business. From my perspective I've watched leaders like McPhee and his Exec team destroy IRNE with adventures in Asia. This cost IRNE tens of millions in losses. Meanwhile R&D were out of control producing out of date technology, late and over budget. Getting rid of McPhee and his team was the best thing Drummond did, although too late.

The loss of LU is a blow. However from what I'm told, at the price Bombardier secured the contract, they are most welcome to it!

This Exec team has it's weak points, notably HR, but also has some seasoned professionals that have been in the company and/or industry for years. The proof of the pudding will come from the success or failure in the Network Rail bids. Contracts with this customer, together with product sales, are where IRNE has always made its money.

R&D going to Madrid is just an example of where Mr Riddett continues to show poor leadership. I suspect the overloaded Dimetronic team will fail to deliver anything other than for their own contracts and we will end up bringing back what we need for the Northern European markets.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And IOM think they have a problem with leadership? If you think IOM had it bad, try Riddett. Idiot personified.

What can only be described as a moronic announcement from Riddett 2 months ago stated that Rail was going to line of business (LOB). The pathetic announcement went on to mention the LOBs and rumour before hand indicated a COO model. Now 3 months later nobody has a clue, no names, no responsibilities, or accountabilities.

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