Sebastian Ferecus
General Manager South East Europe
Emerson

12 August 2019

Emerson is a global company that offers technology and engineering solutions to customers from a wide variety of industries. The company employs more than 87,000 people around the world and is comprised of two business segments – Automation Solutions and Commercial & Residential Solutions. In South East Europe, 70% of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business is concentrated in the energy sector.

 

Can you briefly introduce Emerson and explain the role that Romania plays within the wider company ecosystem?

Emerson is a U.S. headquartered company that was founded in 1890 and operates globally. I oversee South East Europe sales for our Automation Solutions business. Our technologies enable industrial manufacturers – including the energy industry – to maximize production, help protect workers and the environment, and optimize energy efficiency and operating costs. Europe accounts for about 17% of Emerson’s overall global sales. Over the past two years Emerson has made a series of strategic acquisitions that have strengthened the European presence of both of our business segments. 

Our Automation Solutions sales office in Bucharest, which opened in 1997 and a sales office in Zagreb, Croatia and have developed steadily to serve the 12 countries of South East Europe. Our Bucharest office, which focuses on customers in Romania, Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus, had a turnover of approximately EUR 37 Mil in 2018. About half of this value was generated by the Romanian market.

Among automation solutions providers, Emerson has the widest portfolio of products available in the region, from sensors used for measurement of various process manufacturing parameters, all the way to process control and our Plantweb digital ecosystem. In Romania, we are the only company to hold all of these capabilities under the same roof. 

In 2006 Emerson established a major engineering and manufacturing campus in Cluj that is now the company’s single largest location in Europe, with 2,500 employees. Both business segments of Emerson -- Automation Solutions and Commercial & Residential Solutions -- are present there and our factories and back office support functions in Cluj serve the whole of Europe.

 

Why did Emerson choose Romania as a hub for its Automation Solutions business in South East Europe?

We looked at the advantages that were available in the Romania market. Romania has welcomed foreign investment and the country has become an economic engine in South East Europe. We also considered the essential role that the energy industry plays in our portfolio. Romania has a domestic energy market that is very diversified, with capabilities that include everything from exploration to production, refining, power generation and distribution. Presently, the energy sector generates about 80% of our non-export business in Romania. 

The other major reason we established our engineering and manufacturing campus in Cluj is because the city has excellent universities, especially for training in technical skills.   The talent available has led Emerson to make long-term investments in Cluj that have created a campus that now welcomes around 2,500 employees. Compared to when Emerson initially came to Romania, access to talent has become much more complicated. A decade ago, there were relatively few technology companies that had set up shop in Romania so the competition for the skilled workforce was rather low. But the situation is very different today. There are many more companies in this market that are looking for the same type of skills, and this keeps us continuously looking for talent.

 

You offer a very broad portfolio, both in terms of products and customer types. What has been driving demand in recent years?

Until two years ago most of the demand in Romania and South East Europe was coming from the refining segment, but recently the exploration and production areas have become increasingly active. Much of it has to do with the Black Sea discoveries and generally the offshore activity. We have also noticed more demand in the power generation area. For instance, we are supplying some technology solutions for greenfield power plants in Romania and Greece.

When it comes to technologies of choice, digitalization is the word. We notice a high interest in the energy market, and the technologies from our Plantweb digital ecosystem have many good things to offer in this space. We also now have acquired technologies that help detect pipe corrosion and erosion. This used to be difficult to handle in the past, but now we have technology that can measure without pipe intrusion and send the information wirelessly and securely. Software keeps track of the corrosion/erosion level and when the pipes are in danger of leaks or losses, the system automatically sends an alarm to the customer. You can intervene easily and with little impact on other processes.

 

What are Emerson’s plans in the region going further?

One goal is to grow our position in the markets where we are already present. Companies are reasonably opened to trying out new solutions, but we do find ourselves in a situation where we need to first prove the relevance of our technologies. We have implemented a Try & Buy model, where customers can test our solutions and get a better sense of their usefulness. When it comes to digital transformation investments, our advice to companies is to start with smaller investments, that solve smaller but perhaps immediate problems, and once the value is proven they can make bigger commitments of updating their technology. 

We also see emerging opportunities in other segments of the energy markets in South East Europe. For example, hydro power and the renewables power spaces are receiving significant investments in some areas of the region, so we see sales opportunities for our technologies that help enhance productivity, efficiency, safety and environmental protection.

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