Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley

Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley

1201 South Second Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204-2496 USA
Established 1903
Membership Level: Founder

Allen-Bradley current logo

Allen-Bradley present day logo

March 20th, 2015

Mary Burgoon, Rockwell’s Market Development Manager for Sustainable Production, Heavy Industries

Paul Gieschen, Rockwell’s Market Development Director, Components

Richard Yates Watson, Founder of the Treasures of the Electrical Industry

Richard Watson – Question # 1
“Looking back, in the late 1940’s, how do you feel ‘Limited Distribution’ of your Allen-Bradley electrical control products through the distribution channels, helped establish your quality of these products stronger than your competition, in the Electrical Industry?”

Paul Gieschen
“Allen-Bradley has a strong history of working with partners, especially distributors. I think we were one of the leaders in the industry of understanding the value that distributors provide for customers – we saw early on, even before the 1940s, the value of having distributors.”

“When we look at what Limited Distribution has done for us, we view it as an absolutely key component to our success, with our market share position we have in the United States. The value that it provides is that it allows for a very strong partnership and co-investment on the part of us, the distributor and the distributor in us.”

“Some examples of this co-investment would be things like:
1. Joint Planning Activities: around how we are going to support customers
2. Training: a distributor makes an investment in training their people so that they are knowledgeable about the products and how to demonstrate that value to customers.
3. Sales Activities: working with customers.
4. Inventory: the local inventory investments that distributor makes and providing local support for our customers.

…all of that comes from investments on the distributor’s part and investments on Rockwell’s part or Allen-Bradley’s part and that wouldn’t happen if you didn’t have that trust that you were not going to be stealing business from each other, or that distributor might lose business to another distributor in their territory.”

“Our mutual success depended on each other so we were either successful together or we failed together. That’s the core of what Limited Distribution is.”


Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500 component

Allen-Bradley Kinetix 5500

Richard Watson – Question # 2
“How do the Divisions of Rockwell Automation strengthen the automation projects growth in the various marketplace locations?”

Mary Burgoon
“As we have developed as an organization today, you are going to organize around what makes sense and your pockets of expertise are, and how do we deliver the best solution, the best value and how do we solve the customer’s problems. It makes sense for us to do it by Product Groups because that’s where their expertise is and also have to have a mind or perspective of: Where are the expertise and how do we engage with the customer to meet their needs and challenges?”

“Our divisions respond to their need in the marketplace – a need to help them.”

Rockwell Automation Brands

Paul Gieschen
“I would say if you go back 20-30 years, Allen-Bradley was an inventor of PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) and now that’s transitioned into PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers).”

Programmable Controllers

“This has allowed us expansion into Process Industries, and the expansion of what we now call the Connected Enterprise Story (bringing People, Processes and Technology together)…

The Connected Enterprise

…and the value of Integrated Architecture, which has been a major growth area of the company. Starting from the PLC and now evolving into this higher level value-proposition for our customers around the whole connected enterprise – the convergence of manufacturer intelligence along with the whole operation of the customer’s organization.”

Richard Watson
“…so we are talking about the whole process, the system, for a customer organization – taking Rockwell’s product components from your various divisions/brands, and supporting the customer’s needs?”

Mary Burgoon
“This is correct, and I would add our (EnCompass) Partners…

Partner Network™ Encompass Program

…which one of the highlights, of our Partners, is that some areas of Products, Solutions or Services that we do not provide our customers, which we have identified some key/critical Partners that help us give a more complete solution to our customers. We then are not expected to provide everything, and this allows us to focus on what we do the best. These Partners, through technology development, who are aligned with our company values and ethics provide and treat our customers the same.”

“This formal approach with our Partners provides a complete solution to our customers.”

Paul Gieschen
“We provide Rockwell Automation Fair event 1x/year with our Partners and Solution Providers, and we do have local regional automation fair event, in various regions, and outside the United States as well, on an on-going bias.”

Sales and Partners

“If I could clarify about the ‘Divisions’ or Product divisions you mentioned in your question. We go to our customers and talk Solutions, not only products. For example: when we are talking the process, yet it involves PLCs, yet it also involves software, it involves drives, it involves industrial components – which all of these are sold to our Process Industry customers.”

“Our commercial message is not about individual products, as much as addressing our customer’s needs through solutions.”

Mary Burgoon
“Another way is to create a simple analogy, thinking about similar to IBM was initially a product, now people view them as much larger as a solution provider. Not just computers, they provide services, solutions and the expertise they provide to the customers. In comparison, on the industrial automation front, that is how Allen-Bradley as involved to now Rockwell Automation and now even further evolved into integration, software and service solutions – helping them connect their plant floor operations to their business enterprise.”

“It is quite the evolution from the relay, to motor controls, to soft starters, all the way up to where we are now talking about solutions on the cloud and how to run your plant remotely.”

Rockwell Software Energy Monitoring image

Rockwell Software Energy Monitoring

Richard Watson – Question # 3
“Where do you see Rockwell Automation Internationally impacting the future with regards to the
Sustainable Energy Electrical Products?”

Mary Burgoon
“In some of the regions, in the emerging economies, where we are growing the fastest, one of the challenges they have is not so much, how much energy they use, rather their energy security. Often they have energy shortages, blackouts/brownouts because their grid is not reliable or sustainable.”

“We want to make sure the processes of the plant, our customer’s factories, who use our equipment are most efficient. That being said, our products are energy efficient.”

“In the future, we see each region have different challenges. In Asia, they have challenges with emissions. We consider how we can help our customers reduce or control their emissions, and use their energy more wisely. In Europe, it is more about the cost of energy. In this region we consider how we can help them use less, so they pay less.”

“This is making their operations run more efficiently – using our Rockwell products and assembling it together in solution to the individual customer’s needs.”

“And as we move to the future, we hear more about the internet. We look at our machines or devices, sometimes call assets, and develop them to be the most efficient.” For example: if you move away from your laptop, it will power down, until you come back and use it again.”

In the future, we can start seeing machines, as they are not being used, they are being powered down to a lower power state. The system will they be optimized for the production the customer needs, and it is not run, if it is not needed.

Paul Gieschen
“In addition to energy efficiency, one of Rockwell’s key messages now is about safety too. We have a wide range of products that allow customers to improve the safety of their operations and to protect their employees. Safety like energy efficiency is a growing demand with our customers – to have an environmentally safe area for their employees to work in.”

Mary Burgoon
“That is a good point. We look at sustainable production as safety first – making sure your workplace is safe, that your environmental foot-print is low and optimized energy use. Three areas: Safety, Environmental and Energy Efficiency – and Safety is always the primarily concern.”

Paul Gieschen
“This is coming from our customers, the plant managers, the leaders of our customer’s organizations this is what they are being challenged to do. In addition to making their plants productive, they need to have it sustainable and safe.”


Allen-Bradley Guardmaster 440C CR30 product

Allen-Bradley Guardmaster 440C CR30

Richard Watson- Question # 4
“What Rockwell Automation products, in your historical past, assisted in customer projects and recognition in the Electrical Industry?”

Paul Gieschen
“How being a leader in PLCs then how that has evolved into automation control, which leads to connected enterprise – that’s what Allen-Bradley/Rockwell Automation is known for, this innovation in products. PACs (Programmable Automation Controllers) give more capabilities, more solutions, being able to handle analog inputs/outputs versus just digital on/offs – there’s a lot of information regarding the evolution of PACs out there.”

“Most of our global customers that are major manufacturers have manufacturing plants all over the world, so the needs that they have that Mary talked about (Safety, Environmental & Energy Efficiency) is consistent anywhere you go. Yes, there are different needs and attitudes about distribution in the various regions, although the needs of a major are the same around the world.”

Mary Burgoon
“…and to comment further on your point Paul, these manufacturers are building plants and building them so that can make anything in any region of the world, so that if energy costs go up in one area, they can quickly and flexibility make their product in another one of their plants in another region. They are looking for a standardized plant design. Rockwell brings this standardized architecture design, so you can train people once and they know what they are getting – same parts consistent globally. That’s what we are seeing more so with our global customers. They are represented everywhere in the world and that’s why we have to be.”

Richard Watson
“Thank you for what Rockwell Automation and what you, Mary and Paul bring to the Electrical Industry.”

*Special Credit to: Claire Woit, PadillaCRT, Assistant Account Executive for setting up the interview.