2019 CEO Insights: Michael Bacon
By Michael Bacon, Executive Director & CEO, Control Logic Pty Ltd
Tuesday, 29 January, 2019
What are the three biggest challenges facing your industry in 2019?
We are fortunate that our products are used in several different industries including mining, oil and gas, water, manufacturing, food and beverage, materials handling, transport infrastructure and energy. All have shared individual challenges, but also represent opportunities.
As Industry 4.0 — or the IIoT — continues to provide connectivity to more and more devices and assets, the challenge becomes: ‘how do businesses manage and analyse the data that is now available to them to truly influence better decision-making?’ Firstly, a secure connection is critical and often neglected or misunderstood. Point-to-point secure VPN connectors simplify IoT and provide peace of mind that your machine or asset is safe from malicious attacks. Secondly, enabling data is only the start: true digital transformation can only happen when it’s understood what data is required and how it is then used to improve efficiency and productivity, regardless of whether the machine is local or remote. It is at this point that businesses will differentiate themselves. And finally, as workforces become increasingly mobile, the capabilities of a business to retain the accumulated knowledge of longstanding employees will continue to challenge business.
What is your industry doing to attract, upskill and retain talent?
I can’t speak for the industry, but can share with you what Control Logic is doing and focused on in this area. We have implemented a graduate program which provides hands-on experience and mentoring in one or both of the sales and technical support functions of our business. This year we have welcomed three graduates to our team and they are proving to be a great asset to the company.
We also actively work with our team to consider their own personal development goals. Each year our team members can apply for assistance to co-fund further studies and this speaks to our culture of continued learning and our commitment to assist them in achieving this.
Last, but certainly not least, I believe it’s vitally important to build a collaborative team. By providing them with a clear company vision and a set of values by which we operate, our team are providing an environment to work together to achieve more and celebrate our collective successes.
How is your business preparing for changes in standards and regulations in 2019?
With our diverse capabilities we often need to consider changes to standards and regulations — not just from a perspective of what they mean to our business but also what it means to our clients’ businesses.
An example is the new AS/NZS 3000 standard. In conjunction with our partner Novaris we will be running education seminars across the country to help industry understand what the changes mean and how to design and implement best practice within their protection schemes.
In addition to this, our machine safety experts from our Safety Services division will be reviewing the transition from AS 4024 to AS/ISO international standards and will be working with industry to ensure compliance to the new standard and assist our clients keep their workforce safe.
How close to reality are smart cities and how much is hype?
Sure there is hype but it’s also real. Think about how we already commute and transact within cities today compared to 10 years ago. Technology will not be the inhibitor, stakeholders — likely to be both public and private entities — and the investment models to fund the infrastructure projects will take some time to evolve.
We at Control Logic are focused on enabling smart cities to share data by connecting the different systems and technologies via industrial Ethernet. By digitally enabling infrastructure we can play an important and exciting role in the development of the cities of the future.
What strategies are being implemented by your industry to improve sustainability?
There is renewed interest in high-quality products which provide longer lifecycles as our industry comes to the realisation that the amount of electronic waste we generate is not sustainable, and that the total cost of ownership goes beyond the initial purchase price. In particular, interest in the energy efficiency of individual devices now forms part of an overall power quality and energy efficiency strategy within many businesses.
We, in conjunction with PULS, have been at the forefront of discussions in Australia regarding both the commercial and environmental benefits of selecting the most energy-efficient power supply. PULS take sustainability seriously and always make sure their R&D engineering team use fewer materials and components while maintaining the longest lifetimes and smallest size possible.
I am always thrilled when Control Logic is able to help our customers achieve their sustainability goals.
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