Last year, Forbes listed Rockwell Automation as one of the world’s top 100 most innovative companies.
The Interview: John Watts, Director -Integrated Architecture Asia Pacific, Rockwell Automation SEA Pte Ltd.
What have been some of the significant milestones for Rockwell Automation recently?
As we look back on 2013, Rockwell Automation continued to see more stability in our local markets and the global economy. We planned for the second half of the year to be stronger in Asia and that is exactly how we performed.
How do you see 2014 for Rockwell Automation?
Many of the key indicators we track point towards greater year-over-year growth in 2014. Our growth in the last six months, combined with favourable indicators in the developing markets, creates a very good base for optimism in 2014.
How is Asia performing vis-a-vis the rest of the company?
Over the last five years we have had good growth in Asia. It has been exciting for the company to witness overall strong performance in all regions over the last few years, despite some of the challenges the global economy has presented.
Where do you see manufacturing growth across Asia coming from?
The industries that we have seen -and expect to see -good growth include Oil & Gas and Mining. In addition, we expect, and are beginning to see, higher growth from the Consumer Packaged Goods industry as emerging markets look to fuel more domestic growth.
Which export markets are you moving into?
Rockwell Automation has enjoyed significant growth over the last 10 years. We now have offices in Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Singapore, which serves as our South East Asia Headquarters.
Our Integrated Architecture, Intelligent Motor Control, Solutions and Services – combined with our acquisitions throughout the year -provided significant growth in the Energy, Infrastructure, Mining and Consumer markets across Asia.
The Oil and Gas industry in APAC continues to grow as energy needs rise, and Infrastructure is becoming more important as the market matures and expands. Capturing growth in the key Consumer Industry segments will continue to be a critical part of our strategy, since a thriving middle class will require investments across the region.
Basically, our strategy is to align our focus to these growth industries where we have domain expertise, and continue to expand our capabilities in these growing markets around OEM and end-user segments. OEMs remain a growth engine for us, with international companies increasingly locating manufacturing and engineering across the region.
Specifically, our Oil & Gas business is growing in Southeast Asia. Our business in China is strengthening – including two recent acquisitions there. We have a strong presence in China’s Manufacturing industries including the Automotive and Food/Beverage sectors, and we are doing well in Mining in both China and Australia. We are building our Life Sciences business in Asia’s emerging markets, and we have a strong OEM focus across APAC, especially with our midrange products.
Is R & D important for your company?
Last year, Forbes listed Rockwell Automation as one of the world’s top 100 most innovative companies. To remain at the technology forefront, we absolutely require a strong commitment to R&D; not just through investments, but also by creating a culture of innovation and engineering excellence.
What kind of investments did Rockwell Automation make in 2013? What companies were acquired?
Our market-access model uniquely allows us to provide a differentiated level of service and support locally in Asia, as well as globally. This model, along with our partners, is critical to both our short-term and long-term growth. We will continue making investments to strengthen and enhance these relationships Ð propelling further market differentiation with our customers.
Secondly, the most important part of our organisation is our people in all the markets that help us drive our strategy every day. We have added great talent to the organisation in 2013, which helps build depth across our entire talent pool. Building a stable, committed and energised work force that derives pleasure from achieving individual and team objectives is our number-one priority for delivering on our Growth and Performance Strategy moving forward.
Finally, in 2013, we announced acquisitions of vMonitor, a global technology leader for wireless solutions in the Oil and Gas industry, and Jacobs Automation, the leader in intelligent track-motion control technology. Also, in late 2012, we acquired Harbin JiuZhou Electric Co. Ltd – continuing our commitment to invest in Asia, whilst also significantly broadening our Medium Voltage Drives portfolio.
Many governments and organisations are now pushing companies to practise sustainable development. How is Rockwell Automation answering this call?
Rockwell Automation solutions for sustainable development address three major corporate sustainability objectives through automation:
1. Energy resource management
2. Environmental responsibility
3. Safety for workers, machinery, processes and products
We offer a comprehensive approach to meeting our customers’ sustainability objectives in all facets of their production. Our approach is specifically designed to help our customers turn sustainability challenges into business advantages.
John Watts, Director – Integrated Architecture, Asia Pacific is responsible for the business management and marketing of Integrated Architecture products including PLC / PAC controllers, motion control, software, operator interface and condition monitoring.
John has 18 years of experience in automation and process control sales and marketing. Apart from his time at Rockwell Automation, John has held sales and sales management positions with Yokogawa. He joined Rockwell Automation in 2006 as Manager, Process Solutions Asia Pacific prior to taking up his current role in 2010.
He holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Melbourne Business School and a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne. John is based in Singapore.