Shaft Alignment / Infrared Thermography / Machinery Lubrication / Remote Monitoring / Temperature Monitoring / Ultrasound / Vibration Analysis

Mobility is a standing expectation in plants

Schneider Electric's Saadi Kermani says to get a mobile plan in place to help become more agile as a business.

By Thomas Wilk, Editor in Chief

The Plant Services Disruptive Technology series continues this month with collection of five interviews on how mobile technologies are reshaping the way that maintenance and reliability teams are doing their jobs. This story features Saadi Kermani, product manager for cloud solutions and mobile apps at Schneider Electric, on how mobile technologies are enabling a more fluid, flexible approach to maintenance and reliability work. Links to all five interviews are collected on this page.

PS: Where do you see the next wave of disruption and change occurring?

SK: I think we have mobility now as part of all of our offerings. It's not a differentiator anymore, it's a standing expectation. So, what is the most disruptive aspect? It's the fact that as an employee now I'm no longer at a fixed location, and I'm no longer really dependent on my business for any kind of IT infrastructure needs. I am much more autonomous. I no longer deal with my work in a transactional fashion where I need to go do something, I do it and I'm done, and I need to go somewhere else in another system to do something else, and then I'm done, and then I switch.

It's not like that anymore. Everything is continuous. You have virtual teams that form to solve a problem and then they disband, ignoring the traditional rigid, hierarchal organizations. Workforces today are more fluid and flexible; people are willing and more able to jump in and help solve a problem when needed. Mobile solutions help them jump in and jump out on a continuous basis. They’re location agnostic, and that makes things different today.

PS: What kind of business risks are plant teams at for those who don't want to embrace this kind of change?

SK: There is a cost to inaction, and I think there are indisputable pressures that businesses are now facing no matter what the discipline is. We shouldn’t be promoting technology for the sake of technology, but you can also leverage this fact that now we as a company have these solutions as even a strategy to retain and attract talent.

If you don’t have a plan to start thinking about how you as a business can become more agile, attract and retain incoming talent, empower your workforce to do things more conveniently and on a more personalized level, contribute to their work streams, then at some point you’re going to find yourself with a gap between yourself and your competitors and the expectations of your customers.

Your whole ecosystem is also faced with those same challenges, so you’ll simply start to see symptoms of being too far behind. Change is the new normal, and people expect it.

Read more interviews from "Going mobile: Advice from the experts"

How mobile won the plant floor
Zebra's Jim Hilton talks about how mobility and production processes are redefining each other.

Free your data and uptime will follow
Fluke's John Neeley explains how mobile innovations are enabling reliability-centered maintenance.

Secure peer-to-peer data sharing on the plant floor
Rockwell Automation's Kyle Reissner introduces Project Stanton, which will turn mobile devices into smart nodes.

How mobile is disrupting field services, operations, and logistics
Honeywell's Rohit Robinson argues that the greatest risks related to mobile tech are not adopting it soon enough.