Many companies are talking about environmental sustainability – and GE Digital is aiming to embed it in customers’ operations. Jim Brown and I recently got an update from Ben Whiteman on their progress toward that end.
The problems they want to solve are:
- operationalizing environmental sustainability goals
- breaking siloes between operations and sustainability
- providing process context to optimize resources more fully
Building on the past year of news, a foundation for this approach is to leverage what Proficy already offers – and what customers have installed. This ranges from Tracker to HMI/SCADA and Historian to MES, CSense closed loop tuning and control, to workflow to scheduling, with a common user experience through Operations Hub. In addition, GE offers an enterprise-level data warehousing, reporting, and analytics solution – bridging from the plants to the rest of the company.
GE is organizing these familiar and existing software systems to support operations into new solutions. These are designed to create new pathways for manufacturers to systemize sustainability. The vision is for sustainability and operational metrics to sit side-by-side in the same reports and dashboards. Evidence that these all impact each other makes that logical. However, historically, organizational structures, targets, incentives, and IT systems have not supported a coherent view of ALL performance metrics.
Beyond measurement, this approach can support improving sustainability performance. Evaluating tradeoffs and spotting multiple areas of benefit is good practice. The context is crucial to identify which interventions are most impactful for meeting environmental targets yet respecting operational constraints. Companies have been doing this with operational metrics in their continuous improvement programs – and GE aims to broaden the optimization to encompass both production and environmental metrics simultaneously.
As GE moves into broader availability of these solutions, we expect this will continue to attract both current Proficy customers and new prospects. They have wisely anticipated that the professional services team will be crucial to the change management involved for the customers and providing feedback to fine-tune the solution offerings.
Our research confirms that executives are increasingly ready to take action on environmental sustainability. Legislation such as CSRD and SEC around environmental sustainability are appearing and tightening worldwide, so the pressure is on. Compared to consumers, greenwashing with regulators may be more challenging. So, GE’s timing might be just right.
For more insights, please read our previous discussion on GE Digital’s newest Proficy MES version.