084. Idea – Exploring Lifecycle Services for Industry Transcript

Lisa: 00:00

Customer’s needs are changing the way they want product. Ultimately on demand. We also look at the aging infrastructure of products in many manufacturing facilities and the workforce skills gap. All of these areas could ultimately define a manufacturer in staying relevant in today’s environment by reducing risk. Being able to support the customer, whether they are in an innovation, design, build, or maintain phase, we are able to support them at every step of the way.

Chris: 00:27

Welcome to EECO Ask Why. A podcast that dives into industrial manufacturing topics, spotlights the heroes that keep America running. I’m your host, Chris Grainger, and on this podcast, we do not cover the latest features and benefits on products that come to market. Instead, we focused on advice and insight from the top minds of industry because people and ideas will be how America remains number one in manufacturing in the world.

Welcome to EECO Aks Why. Today we have an idea episode. We’re going to be talking about lifecycle services for industry to help explore this topic we have Lisa Scanion, who is the North America Partner Services Manager at Rockwell. Welcome Lisa. 

Lisa: 01:11

Thank you very much, Chris. Excited to be here today.

Chris: 01:14

Oh no doubt. I’m looking forward to this conversation with you as well. And this is a topic that we haven’t covered on EECO Asks Why. That’s always fun. We’re bringing new information to our listeners. They love these idea topics. So thank you again for taking the time with us. So maybe get us started just by explaining to our listeners that may be new to the topic in itself, what lifecycle services is? 

Lisa: 01:35

Yeah. So lifecycle really is a new, big topic, right? We have put our entire Automation Fair event around lifecycle services. It is our new brand. We have resegmented our operation and how Rockwell as a business is structured. And one of our operating segments now is called lifecycle services.

So lifecycle services is really a comprehensive approach to professional services that provides long-term partnership to customers, their needs and how we can meet those needs. No matter what stage of the life cycle journey they’re in. It’s really providing our customers a simplified approach at solving their problems. 

If you consider many manufacturers that are starting projects, whether it’s building a new plant planning for a digital transformation or modernizing an existing plant, they’re most concerned with increasing their productivity and profit as well as minimizing risk.

And now we’re in a world where we’re facing challenges from a global pandemic to still aging infrastructure and lifecycle services is able to provide that ability to support a customer at any time and cross the entire life cycle of the project, ultimately to tackle their specific challenge and drive it into business outcomes that they need.

Chris: 02:53

Okay. If you’re an end user right now, what are some potential opportunities that could be in front of me for improvement that I may not be aware of in regards to lifecycle services? 

Lisa: 03:05

Yeah. So I would say looking holistically at it, the biggest opportunity is solving from a customer challenge or challenge perspective. It’s an all encompassing, simplified approach to the customer. So when you think about a customer and how their competitive landscape continues to increase in all industries, a company’s success can depend on the ability to innovate and respond quickly to dynamic challenges. 

And lifecycle services has the flexibility to meet a customer where they are at any end lifecycle, as well as the partner with the customer at any stage of their digital journey. If you look for example right now at how quickly COVID-19 a global pandemic changed the way the world operates, it challenged companies in the way that they respond to their customers. 

Chris: 03:50

Okay. Okay. Very good. Very good. So maybe paint a picture for me, cause I’m still trying to get my head wrapped around the topic itself from a success standpoint and implementation, any stories that you could share or examples for our listeners?

Lisa: 04:08

I’ll keep it at more of a higher level view. So there’s four different phases when it comes to life cycle. So we have our innovate, designed, build and operate, and maintain. So if you look at a customer’s desired outcomes and then the capabilities that we can provide to them, think about from an innovating perspective, the desired outcome would be real-time information to baseline equipment performance.

A capability that we can provide then is connected enterprise and OT digital transformation consulting, or IT OT convergence. When you look at if a customer’s in a design phase and they need to have alignment with a business strategy or design for continuous improvement or long-term support strategy, we look at things from functional safety, doing things like lockout-tagout, and prevent or system design and simulation.

We also have main automation contractors that can do different network design work. So we’re really able to support them at every different stage. So if you break it down into what a customer’s desired outcome is, and then define our capabilities around it.

When we talk about the build and operate, and we look at a customer into the outcomes that they’re trying to drive there is reduced their project timelines or their ability to shift from CapEX to OppEX.

We look at how Rockwell and our trusted partners of our distributors are able to do commissioning and startup because our manufacturers don’t necessarily have the workforce to be able to do those things or the time to do those things. We’re able to provide, safe installation, calibration of drives and motors. Being able to do project and program management so that our customers can focus on what is important to them and really being able to get their product out faster. 

Then the last phase of it is being able to maintain all of this. So you’ve put all this into place, but how do we maintain it now? So when we look at the desired outcome in the maintain phase of having a long-term maintainability plan. We look at things like OT cybersecurity, which is a huge topic right now. Being able to do safety remediation and constant safety assessments. Asset management is the biggest piece of maintaining when we have an aging infrastructure out there in the assets, how are we going to constantly maintain our customer’s assets? 

We have those capabilities and solutions. So when we talk about life cycle, it really is looking at every phase. Every different outcome that a customer may have and how we can link not only our capabilities, but our partners capabilities to those.

So when we talk about life cycle, it’s not just the how we’re able to service them. It’s the who in our partner ecosystem that can also provide that service at a local level to the customer too. 

Chris: 06:56

Okay. All right. Now that you unpacked a lot and I love how you wrap that up there. It’s not the how, but you’re also trying to connect to who. So make sure I got this right, Lisa. That you had the innovate, design, build and operate, and the maintain are the four core pillars.

I guess you could call it for each one. You really touched on areas that we’ve talked about in several of our EECO Asks Why episodes. IT OT convergence with that innovation, the safety from a lockout tagout standpoint, for sure. I love that on the design. The calibrate and the drive that stood out from a building and operation standpoint.

And then the last one, we had a series earlier, we talked specifically about cyber security and OT. The importance of how that’s changing in the landscape for industrial. Thank you for really walking us through that. Did I capture all that correctly? 

Lisa: 07:48

Yes, absolutely. So it really is looking at it from a holistic approach, right? We’re not targeting one specific area. Lifecycle means how we can support our customer at every different phase. 

Chris: 08:00

Beautiful. Beautiful. Love it. All right. So from the customer or the end user standpoint, who would be owners of the process of maybe selecting the right services depending on what pillar it lines up? I’m sure it would change, but are there typical owners that you associate with working with through these services? 

Lisa: 08:18

I think it depends on the different outcomes that are desired for the customer. If we’re talking about from a maintain perspective, looking and talking with the maintenance managers.

But when you’re talking about cybersecurity, a lot of times we’re having conversations with the IT department. And how that then goes all the way up to the C-suite because you’re implementing a new way of being able to protect their entire organization. So at the customer level, it depends on who has that responsibility in the different phases.

I would say though from our side though, the primary responsibility falls on the solutions consultant to be looked at as trusted advisors. The customer will be able to articulate their challenges to us very easily. They’re going to be able to describe the issues that they’re facing. It’s up to us to be as the domain experts, Rockwell Automation and our partners, to be able to then take that and be able to align those desired outcomes with the capabilities that we have.

Chris: 09:16

Okay. And you said a solutions consultant, so that’s a defined role within the organization? 

Lisa: 09:22

So we have solutions consultants. We also have connected services business development leads, and a lot of times they’re the ones that are driving in that opportunity of understanding what the customer’s desired outcomes are and how we can put additional capabilities to be able to solve those and drive to business outcomes.

So when we think about the process of how it works a lot of times when we have someone coming on site, to do more of the installation work and the assessment work, it’s more of a technician type of role or a network engineer if it’s a network solution. But then being able to take the outcome of that data and drive it into further opportunity is typically a solutions expert in that specific area.

So if it’s for network or design or cyber security or asset management, it’s specific to that area of expertise. And then the business development leads, people that are interfacing and those commercial roles can then take that information and be able to align it with our customers outcomes. 

Chris: 10:25

I got you. Okay. Thanks for clarifying that for sure. Putting my customer at goggles on. Cause I really like to keep the goggles from the industrial end-user standpoint. If you’re talking to me and I want to start implementing some services and they’re new to my organization. What are some potential headwinds that I may run into that you could help me walk through those.

Lisa: 10:48

So I think the biggest headwind at first is going to be the trust there, right? You’re providing data and digital information. So building that trust with the customer, that’s going to be the first thing and making sure if I’m the customer, I have that trust in who is doing this. And the great thing about Rockwell and the partner ecosystem that we’ve created is we have that reputation in the market today. 

We have that trust that we’re able to provide those capabilities and outcomes. So I would say that’s probably the first area. The second area is when you’re implementing a change, it’s going to take time. It’s going to take time away from potentially production. And how fast you’re able to put in that change across your organization, the change management piece of it.

So making sure that’s understood, and there’s a plan in place to be able to combat that change management and that the customer understands when these needs need to be completed and when they are going to be completed, because we want to make sure that our timelines are aligned.

Chris: 11:52

Okay. That planning, but also, a component of that time that you referenced would be communication, and communicating expectations and results to make sure everyone’s in alignment on where we’re headed. 

Lisa: 12:04

Absolutely. And at the end of the day, when we’re in a contract phase with our customers, the great thing is that we’re in a relationship with them, right?

It’s not a, we sell a project or a product and we walk out the door. It’s continuous. That’s that last phase of that life cycle is maintaining. Continuing to take that data and make sure that we’re continuing to solve those outcomes. So we have to continuously be able to be there for our customers and provide them that information. We have to be able to solve the problems for them faster before they even know it’s becoming a problem. 

Chris: 12:36

And I’m just going back off the beaten path for a second. Lisa, I had an opportunity to sell services at EECO and the dramatic difference in a service mindset versus product. It’s just, it’s really night and day. As you said, the headwind was trust. And I found that as going in selling a service, you’re all over it. You gotta get that trust, establish or you’re never going to advance and there’s different ways to do that when you work in through services, for sure.

But it really resonated when you said that trust. That took me back a few years back when I was learning how to be business development. Selling services. A great point there and I wanted to camp out the next point on cyber security. And of that maintained portion. And things are changing. With connectivity now, and you look at all the devices that are connected. It’s crazy. It’s awesome. But it’s, it brings a whole new level of complexity. So when you think about networks and security, what are some services that people should really consider to enhance their position with security? 

Lisa: 13:41

Yes, you are 100% accurate in that cybersecurity is a big topic of discussion, especially where we’re at right now. We’re in a vulnerable state. And our customers are in a vulnerable state with manufacturers. So the first thing really, when it comes to understanding from a network and security space, when you’re looking at improving your overall position is assessing what you have.

You can’t fix what you don’t know you have in place today. So the first thing really is looking at it from a security piece is a security posture survey. So that is something that we as Rockwell developed to be able to take a look under the hood, right? It’s like when a check engine light comes on in your car. Being able to say, okay, what are my actual issues here?

And where do I need to remediate. You can’t just go in on cyber security as a whole and say, I’m going to implement a new cyber security strategy without understanding where your issues are current state. So that will really identify for you any alerts that you may have. Any threats that you may currently have on your system.

Do you have ghost assets that aren’t communicating right on the network? Is your network reliable and strong enough to be able to support potentially threat detection software? And that really gives you an overall comprehensive look. What is your security hygiene? What is the score from zero to 100%?

I can probably predict to you that nobody’s going to come back at a hundred percent score in today’s world. So being able to take that information then, and really have a focused view of what you need to do to make sure you have a secure network and a reliable network, that’s the best place to start.

And then I would say second to that is going to be being able to deploy a threat detection software that’s going to provide you daily visibility to potential threats that are coming onto your network. You have to be able to have that view and alerts so that, when something’s going to happen. If you don’t have that visibility into your network you’re pretty much leaving yourself out there unprotected.

So yeah. I would say those are the two biggest places to start. After that becomes then when something does happen, how do we remediate it and move forward past it. And that’s putting together a remediation plan with cyber security experts and consultants. 

Chris: 15:59

Right. No doubt. But to really get it started for the listeners out there. Go to her first point, that assessment. You really need to know where you’re at to understand what those risks are. I love to your analogy when you said, look under the hood, right? That light comes on. Don’t just ignore the light or put a piece of duct tape over it. Actually see what the lights telling you, right?

Lisa: 16:17

Yep. Absolutely. 

Chris: 16:19

Cool. Very cool. Thank you for that. So if I’m out there and I’m listening and I’m ready to start moving forward with so many services. When’s a good time to get started? 

Lisa: 16:28

Now. I mean, When we look at life cycle again, it’s looking at every phase of where our customers are at and for our customers, the biggest thing really is going to be assessing where you’re at today.

Just how we said with the cybersecurity. What are some of the things that they need to get done, to be able to remain relevant in this competitive landscape of manufacturing. And those desired outcomes are what’s going to drive them into what they have to do next. And that really is the key starting point is that kind of design and discover phase. 

Chris: 17:03

Cool. Thanks for that, Lisa. We also try to, through these episodes, give some insight and some guidance to listeners that may want to start considering their career paths and try to align to some of these areas. So if I’m out there and I’m interested in life lifecycle services, what’s a typical career path look like or where could I start investing some time to learn more? 

Lisa: 17:24

I wouldn’t say there is a typical career path for lifecycle services. Life cycle, and how we support our customers is a newer approach at being able to support our customers. And it’s a more consolidated and holistic approach to support our customers.

So I think the biggest thing is looking at the customer’s desired outcomes and understanding different capabilities and how those fall into different segments. So when you look at different segments, we think asset management and safety services and network insecurity as the three main areas, or IT OT convergence as another one.

You want to look at being able to really understand what you want to do from a career aspect. You have to be able to really understand those different capabilities and then learn about those services. And that’s how you’re going to be able to support your customers. Understanding the capabilities that can solve those outcomes.

And then if you’re a commercial seller, being able to identify how you can take the customer’s challenges that they told you and be able to align it with capabilities and then produce outcomes for them. If you’re a technical resource, really knowing how that you can utilize those technical resources to be able to combat some of those capabilities that we have and meet those outcomes. So it’s looking at it from a few different aspects, depending on which area you are in your career. 

Chris: 18:47

Yeah, no doubt. It really sounds like to me, just by that your answer, it’s a lot of flexibility and multiple entry points there’s no one path which is phenomenal. Right? 

Lisa: 18:58

Absolutely. Everyone has to be involved in this way of supporting your customers from the inside sellers to the customer service representatives. To the people that are onsite driving these implementations, the technical network engineers to the people, then that are able to provide a full outcome based selling solution to the customer. So everybody’s involved at all areas of life cycle. 

Chris: 19:22

Okay. Cool. So let’s play a little, a fun game here. So we get our crystal ball out Lisa. And then we can see it down the future maybe five years or just pick a time period. What does it look like? Where do you see this lifecycle services evolving?

Lisa: 19:37

I think it really is an overall transformation. We look at manufacturers today and how we’re able to then be embedded, get sticky with our customers, right? We’ll be able to have their data and insights and be able to answer things for them, of how they can support their customer base faster. How they can get product out faster.

It is looking at it as a new way of manufacturing. It is the new wave of getting product out to customers. Customers are changing, right? They want products on demand. They wanted them yesterday and we have to learn how to evolve to that. So being able to support the customers in this way provides us that ability to do that. Once we have this data and insight, and we have this contractual relationship with the customer, we’re able to provide them all these solutions so much faster.

It’s not going to be this long, six months selling approach to selling a customer a service and making sure they identify the solution and the outcome there. We’re going to be able to provide them that insight at every step of the way. And it’s super exciting. 

Chris: 20:45

It sounds like it’s evolving to, it’s a true partnership. It’s we have to understand from a services standpoint, what your goals are and understand where we play ball the best and we can help you. It goes back and forth. So, this it’s really cool sound like where do you see this going? 

Lisa: 21:04

Yeah. And it goes back to what I said earlier, about becoming a trusted advisor with the customer. We are no longer going to be looked at as someone coming in and selling something to a customer. We are going to be their partner, their trusted advisor, and we’re going to work together to get to outcomes. 

Chris: 21:21

Perfect. This has been great. We call it EECO Asks Why. We typically wrap up with the Why, lisa. So if you had to boil this down to why is understanding lifecycle services important as we try to grow and succeed in the future for industry, what would that be?

Lisa: 21:37

So I’m going to relate this to what’s happened today with our global pandemic and how quickly manufacturers needed to be able to adapt and respond and how they acted to their customers. You see why lifecycle services is pivotal and continued success and growth of this industry. Customers needs are changin.G the way they want product, ultimately on demand.

We also look at the aging infrastructure of products in many manufacturing facilities and the workforce skills gap. All of these areas could ultimately define a manufacturer in staying relevant in today’s environment by reducing risk. Being able to support the customer, whether they are in an innovation, design, build or maintain phase, we are able to support them at every step of the way.

Chris: 22:20

Absolutely. Well, this has been great. You really gave us a ton of wisdom and insight today, lisa, on this topic, thank you so much for being a guest and for taking the time with us on EECO Asks Why. 

Lisa: 22:34

Thank you so much, Chris.