Upgrade Your Systems, Get Competitive, Get Profitable
We love the latest tech toys and features. New phones, new software, new technology—when it comes out, we just have to have it now. We like upgrading our personal technology, but why not our work environment?
Admit it. You’ve got the same control platform you’ve had since 1995, but you have the latest smartphone in your pocket. This is common among many control customers I have met and I’ve heard them repeat this tired old adage when it comes to their control system: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
But upgrading your old control system is not just about fixing something that is (or isn’t) broken. More importantly, it’s about making your processes more efficient, more productive, and more streamlined and reducing your risk. It’s about becoming more profitable and competitive. That’s why you “fix it.”
When you upgrade your outdated system, you:
- Reduce Unplanned Downtime—Electronic components age and technology advances. Diminishing supplies of old products make the supply chain fragile. There is an expiration date for almost all electronics parts. After that either you stock up on spare parts (if you can get them) or suffer the consequences of unplanned downtime when your system inevitably fails. Upgrade your older system proactively to avoid unplanned plant shutdowns.
- Manage Talent—Millennials want to work with the latest technology, just like you. Would you want to learn to use a mainframe computer with card readers today? I would say the answer is a resounding “no.”
- Reduce risk—The challenges of the Industrial Internet were not even imagined back in the 1990s. Cyber threats and computer viruses are wreaking havoc not only on your personal PCs, but on your connected machines. Do you want your critical infrastructure to be controlled by obsolete equipment that is prone to cyber threats? Or do you want the latest equipment that not only helps secure your infrastructure today, but also can be upgraded/patched to help keep you secure in the future? I think the choice is pretty clear.
- Improve Productivity—We upgrade our smartphones because we get new features and better performance, which helps us be more productive. Today we can do 100 times more on our smartphones than the phones we had in 2005. Tesla just recently upgraded their car firmware to cut 0-60MPH time to under 3 seconds. In today’s age of the Industrial Internet, we are collecting more data and making it easily accessible to users. Data analytics, whether it is in the cloud or on the machine itself, is making processes more efficient and more productive, which in turn improves profitability. To remain competitive in today’s age, it is certainly a no brainer to leverage the latest technology.
Here’s the bottom line. Preparing for the future is always a good thing, especially when unplanned downtime is not an option. The good news is, you don’t have to rip and replace your entire plant. With GE, your field wiring, your cabinets and even your applications can be ported over to the new platform. It’s a win-win—upgrade your system to realize the benefits of contemporary technology while future-proofing your investment. If someone offered me that deal, I would take it in heartbeat. What are you waiting for?