JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 88 : June 16, 2002
Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.
- Automation Update
- Yokogawa - a middle-manager viewpoint
- New Siemens Energy & Automation CEO - from Germany
- Ed Hurd back at Honeywell IAC??
- JimPinto.com weblogs
- Big technologies of the future
- Teaching a computer to have common sense
- Google search secrets
- Relationship management
- International companies- problems of own narrow perspective
- Yokogawa doing well in Europe because of local management
- Lots of feedback on digital cameras vs. film
Yokogawa - middle management viewpoint
After reading the comments of Chris Carnavos, former head of
Yokogawa USA, an ex-Yokogawa-employee (name withheld) wrote:
I worked as a Product Specialist in the Yokogawa Field Instruments
group. Maybe a middle management point of view will interest you.
Yokogawa America has many strategic management problems, which
directly and indirectly affects their success in the US.
- After working as an instrument technician, applications engineer,
regional sales manager and product manager, I can truly attest that
Yokogawa's field instruments (pressure and temperature transmitters,
flow meters, recorders, analytical equipment) are the most robust
and possibly most technically superior products in the world.
However, their major impediments to growth within the US market
continue to be their own management capabilities.
- Yokogawa does not seem to be able or willing to learn how to
market, sell and promote their products in the USA. Selling through
independent Sales Reps is a "foreign" experience for them, (pun
intended) even after many years of utilizing this channel. Japanese
managers usually have little or no communication with Sales Reps,
often giving confusing and unrealistic sales expectations.
- As was pointed out, gaining market share at any cost still
continues to be a prevalent philosophy. And this usually means
price-cutting. Strategic marketing is virtually non-existent.
Receiving test, marketing and technical product information from
Japan is like "pulling teeth". Helping their US counterparts with
customer technical service is not a priority for the Japanese.
- Unless your job title includes the word "manager" there is
a snide, condescending attitude and tonality in much of the
communications. When help is needed in the US, there is an "art"
to requesting information from Japan that can improve your chances
of actually getting any information back. It is a daily struggle
for the US people.
- Personnel management: While there are many excellent and competent
managers in both the Newnan, Georgia and Houston, Texas locations,
there are several managers that are lacking in business and personal
interrelationship skills. Those managers are allowed to practice their
"personal agendas", going unchecked. Japanese upper management blindly
supports them because they rarely take the time to really learn about
their personal or professional skills. College degrees and past titles
dictate their respect. Unfortunately, this negatively affects business
decisions and the treatment of employees.
- Contrary to what many Westerners believe, the famous Japanese
"humility factor" doesn't seem to apply to their business practices.
During the two years while I was employed by Yokogawa America, not
once did I hear "We were wrong" or "We are sorry" for any decision
that was made when that proved incorrect, or was professionally or
- The famous Japanese "longer term perspective" is a thing of the
past - at least in the US. As with many US companies, Yokogawa is
unable to manage their focus past each quarter's performance.
You might also like to read the feedback/weblog from
another ex-Yokogawa employee in the eFeedback section below.
JimPinto.com Japan automation players weblog
New German CEO at Siemens Energy & Automation
The following are extracts from a Siemens announcement to
"SEA - All E-mail Users" dated Friday, June 14, 2002:
Subject: SE&A Welcomes Aubert Martin as President & CEO
JimPinto.com eNews (18 April, 2002) included comments from ex-Siemens
senior managers. One of them had predicted (eNews 3 June, 2002) that
Richard Buzun would be "going out" soon. He wrote:
Announcement from Dr. Klaus Wucherer, SE&A's Chairman of
the Board of Directors.
"I am pleased to report that Aubert Martin has been named president
and chief executive officer of Siemens Energy & Automation (SE&A),
effective immediately. He succeeds Richard Buzun, who is retiring.
Aubert brings to SE&A solid leadership skills and a proven track
record with Siemens. He began his professional career with the company
in 1967, as an engineering trainee. Since then, he has held a variety
of positions of increasing responsibility with Siemens Automation &
Drives and Siemens Transportation Systems.
Aubert will be based at the SE&A corporate headquarters in Alpharetta.
Please join me in welcoming him to the Siemens USA team.
I also want to take this opportunity to thank Richard Buzun for his
contributions to Siemens. Please join me in wishing Richard the best
(signed) Dr. Klaus Wucherer
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.
Member of Managing Board, Siemens AG
"Confirming that Buzun has 'retired', replaced by Aubert Martin.
It looks like the Siemens German brain trust has finally solved the
problem of breaking into the US market - they put a German in charge!
Siemens: USA managers' views
"The new Siemens Energy & Automation marketing slogan will likely be:
You vill buy Siemens and you vill like it!"
JimPinto.com Siemens weblog
Honeywell IAC - Ed Hurd is back??
The latest news is that Ed Hurd, former President of Honeywell
Industrial Automation & Controls, will return. No first-hand news yet
about what exactly his position will be, and how long he will stay.
This may just be hopeful speculation by customers and employees.
Ed Hurd, a hands-on Engineer who headed up Honeywell IAC for many
years before he retired, was well respected by Honeywell customers
and competitors alike. One knowledgeable industry observer commented:
"Ed Hurd may be the only person that can possibly fix the mess that
has been made of a once great company!"
Remember, you read it here first! Stay tuned!
JimPinto.com Honeywell weblog
JimPinto.com weblogs - for YOUR use!
JimPinto.com Weblog provides a channel for inputs, comments,
questions, answers on all of the issues discussed in the regular
eNews, and on the JimPinto.com website. Read the latest 'chat',
or contribute your own comments.
Read the Weblogs on Siemens, Yokogawa, Honeywell etc.
Big technologies of the future
When today's tech trends begin to intersect and feed off one another
they'll spawn new fields of knowledge that will transform everything.
Business 2.0 presents a very forward-looking piece on 8 emerging
technologies that will shape the future.
Biointeractive materials: Biologic sensing devices small enough to be
on or inside people, animals and plants, monitoring health and acting
Biofuel production plants: Replacing oil with fuels from genetically
engineered crops to reduce emissions and eliminating dependence on
Bionics: Artificial body parts. First-generation bionic devices -
pacemakers, implantable defibrillators, hearing aids - have improved
thousands of lives. Next-generation bionics will create sophisticated
prosthetic limbs and artificial organs.
Cognitronics: Computer-aided telekinesis - uploading consciousness
to computers to make knowledge available to everyone. This concept
is similar to the brain-plug interface in the movie "The Matrix".
Genotyping: Classifying people based on their genetic source codes
to determine what makes each individual unique. The human genome has
already been mapped; what remains is to figure out what each gene
does, and to isolate genes that play a role in determining physical
traits, longevity, susceptibility to disease, etc.
Combinatorial science: Instead of using hypotheses to test theories,
powerful computers crunch random solutions to identify potential
for positive results. This may do for discovery what Excel did
for financial services - rendering complex scenarios at the
press of a button.
Molecular manufacturing: Building complex structures, atom-by-atom -
molecule-size assemblers that can crank out copies of them selves,
and then begin assembling atoms into any material the laws of physics
Quantum nucleonics: A portable, safe, nonpolluting source of nuclear
power; seeking to tap atomic energy without resorting to fission or
fusion. This could provide a powerful source of energy that leaves
no residual radiation.
In a related article, Forbes Magazine polled twelve scientists, asking
each what they thought might be the next big things. This interesting
item includes opinions on industries and specific companies to watch.
Business 2.0 (June 02)- Eight technologies that will change the world
What's Next? Twelve scientists lay odds on the next great inventions
Teaching a computer to have common sense
For almost two decades teams of programmers, linguists, theologians,
mathematicians and philosophers have been working on a $60 million
project. They've been feeding a database named Cyc (pronounced
"psych") 1.4 million truths and generalities about daily life so that
it can have common sense. They are working to give Cyc supercharged
reasoning abilities to help users work more efficiently, understand
each other better and even help them predict the previously
Cyc has already helped Lycos generate more relevant results on its
Internet search engine. The military, which has invested $25 million
in Cyc, is testing it as an intelligence tool in the war against
terrorism. Companies use Cyc to unify disparate databases and are
examining a new application that warns when computer networks have
vulnerabilities hackers can exploit.
Can a PC think for itself?
Google search secrets
For search engines, Google has become the undisputed leader and
is a significant tool for finding virtually anything on the Internet.
I used to save bookmarks till I realized that page locations often
changed. So I simply type the page I want into Google, and get to
Here are some little-known Google features you might find useful:
- You can access Google easily from the JimPinto.com homepage -
scroll down to see it. Search the entire web, or just locally within
the JimPinto.com website. Want to see all articles relating to say
Invensys? Make sure the radio-button is clicked on "Search the
JimPinto.com website", enter the word Invensys and click GO! All
articles and eNews that include the word Invensys will be listed,
with a brief summary. Click on any link to move to that webpage.
- If the link to an article has been deleted from a newspaper or
magazine website, you might still find it in Google's cache. Click
on "cached" under search results to see the version of that page
stored on Google's servers.
- Google's image-search feature shows you pictures of specific items
or people instead of the Web pages. Type in search terms just as you
would with a regular search and you can view the pictures alone
or as part of the pages where they appear.
- If you prefer viewing webpages written in other languages, use
Google language tools. You can search for webpages written in a
multitude of different languages, or translate any particular page
into the language of your choice.
Secrets of Google revealed
Google Answers - A New Service from Google
Google language tools
In the past, information flowed through intermediaries who had
direct access to sources of products, services and information.
In the post-internet world, this type of intermediary is
disappearing rapidly through "disintermediation".
During the last couple of years, large industrial-automation
manufacturers who had invested in new Internet sales-channels have
found that the knowledge and customer-relationships developed by
their sales reps and distributors was hard to replace, and so they
have retreated. There are very few instances of success, but only
when the products needed very little intermediation and pricing
had already degraded to commodity status.
The well-organized sales rep, or high-tech distributor can be the
best sales channel in the industrial automation and controls markets.
With well-developed relationship management, they can provide the
highest value choice for customers and suppliers alike. There is
plenty of room at the top for good relationships - and for winners!
My new article was just published (June 2002) by the popular
automation website AutomationTechies.com.
Read "Relationship management" on Automation Techies.com
"Relationship management" on JimPinto.com website
Robert Unseld [firstname.lastname@example.org] wrote concerning "Siemens
(and most other international companies, German or not)":
"Most people know the saying "all business is local". Many in
management profess to use this when speaking about business abroad.
But, I think almost all don't internalize this and live their
business according to it. Because that means you have to forsake
nearly all your social and environmental context and acquire a
new one. Most people are not able to do that.
Regarding my comments on Japanese companies, a former Yokogawa
sales manager (name withheld) wrote:
"The solution for being successful elsewhere than your home-market
may be to build nearly completely self-running local entities.
But that is done rarely, because of the feeling of lack of control
and the fear that something will go wrong.
"A German (or other) management, that is responsible for overseas
business will judge the foreign management according to their own
values and experiences. If they donít trust the foreign managers
to do well (and they won't), they will at least in some proportion
try to run the business themselves from outside, which does not work.
"Americans and Japanese companies all have the same problem
(in different shades of gray). Being an international company is not
easy if you run it according to the business plan of a big dinosaur.
They are all trying to learn how to it better, more decentralized,
but that takes time."
"Glad to see you finally wrote a piece on the Japanese automation
companies in general and my former employer in particular.
I must say you got it pretty much right on.
I received a lot of feedback and advice on the choice between digital
cameras and film. Brian Blazevic [email@example.com] brought up some
good points regarding the true benefits of digital cameras and future
"Yokogawa in N. America has been pretty much thrashed because of the
Johnson Yokogawa fiasco and the fall out that is continuing, albeit to
a lesser degree. Examples are the continuing Sales Rep turmoil in the
Chicago area, and the identity crisis with the Systems business and
its multiplicity of products and sales channels.
"A lot of the overseas Yokogawa entities - I had experience with
the N. America, UK, Mid. East and Asian offices - suffer from the
management rotating door syndrome, as you describe. The exception may
be the European operation, headquartered in The Netherlands that has
a local (Hans Dik, ex-Foxboro) as their head for a good number of
years (~10). There they have a solid local personnel infrastructure
and rotate the 2nd management tier expatriates. In my opinion,
Yokogawa Europe is relatively successful because of that."
"Digital cameras and printers that cost under $500 don't reproduce
the work of a film camera, but why would we want them to? I've decided
to do away with printed photo albums. Rather, I store files on my PC
indefinitely, and when I choose, I make them available to friends by
emailing them and putting them on my Web site.
"A major benefit of digital photography is the ability to take several
photos of any given subject - crucial if one hopes to get a really
good one. With film, that's an expensive hassle. Cameras that come
with micro drives can store hundreds of high-resolution pictures.
Another good thing is the ability to adjust the photos in an editing
program. How many times have we had a good shot that was just a little
bit too dark? No problem if it's digital.
"Eventually our thinking, and our lives, will become comfortable with
digital - being digital to borrow Nicholas Negroponte's phrase. The
benefits of looking at a conventional photo album will shrink in our
minds. When friends come over, we can power up the computer and show
them a slide show just as easily as flipping through a book (better,
actually, because we can add sound clips and a thousand other nice
things). At family reunions, we will bring the digital media and
show everything on the host's computer or with a wireless connection
between our laptop and Web site. The cousins in Munich and Singapore
and Moscow can enjoy the same album.
"For the folks who don't have a computer (have opted out of the
digital revolution), we should ask ourselves how we handled people
who didn't change from buggies to cars a century ago. All choices
are OK, but there's no need to wait for everyone to feel comfortable."
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