Wrapped up the GE Fanuc Users Conference with an interview with president and CEO Maryrose Sylvester and vice president Bill Estep. Takeaways from the meeting:
the strategy of acquisition, along with innovation, will continue
they recognize the importance of execution
part of execution is ramping sales and marketing, along with strengthening partners selling in the MES space
regarding partners, I asked directly about talk I've heard regarding turmoil among the very good resellers GE Fanuc inherited from its Intellution purchase and was told that, while there was some initial uncertainty about what the company would do with its partners, eventually things were ironed out and the channel is stronger than ever
a team is at work on the issues of integrating the SBS Technologies purchase into the GE Fanuc embedded division -- my analysis is that if they do as well with that integration as they did with the Intellution and Mountain Systems ones, then the embedded systems market will be set on its ear
and finally, that Sylvester only two months into this gig sees great opportunities for growth at the company.
Single company users events are geared toward generating enthusiasm, and that can transfer to us skeptics on the editorial side as well. I do think that there are some areas of automation where GE Fanuc stands to make competitive hay.
A side note to the conference--yesterday I was in the breakfast area when I heard my name. Turned out to be someone from Sidney, Ohio whom I know through soccer. Turns out further he's an engineer at Copelend Corp., a division of Emerson. Today I had lunch with the entire team of six from there. They are CNC and robotic users and are evaluating the MES offerings. They were picking my brain, but I told them to let me know their conclusions after they finish their research. GE Fanuc is strong in that space, but they're not without competitors. Ten years ago I lost a vision job there to a cheaper technology that turned out to be at least as good as mine. Figured I'd better find a new line of work and became an editor. Now I'm interested to see what they conclude.