The IPS seminar offered a great opportunity for face-to-face business discussions and networking, as it gathers ABB's partners and ABB representatives from geographically scattered locations into one place.
"The target is to bring our partners closer to ABB and introduce them to our latest offering, and help them to network within ABB. We hope that as a result they are able to meet their own customers' needs better and offer comprehensive solutions using ABB's products," says Dr. Petri Kärki, Vice President, Marketing and Sales at ABB's Medium Voltage Products unit in Finland.
Listening to our partners to continuously improve
The IPS seminar provides a great venue for partners and ABB to explore new ways to promote mutual business growth and further enhance the collaboration to achieve competitive advantages in the highly competitive markets.
The current unstable economic situation is creating a challenging business environment. The partners appreciate the partnership with ABB as it provides means to better meet the challenges, as ABB can offer assistance - ranging from very concrete actions, such as jointly presenting new products and solutions to end customers, to information sharing and joint market research.
Mr. Osman Şahin Köşker, Business Development Engineer at the Turkish engineering company Kontrolmatik, presented at the seminar on the benefits and advantages of being an authorized value provider within the ABB Value Provider Program (VPP). Companies qualified within this program are part of the global network to bring ABB's products and services straight to the customer's front door and Mr. Köşker states "the VPP program is a good program and ABB can help explain and promote the concept on the market".
Market trends and requirements from the partners' perspective
Discussions on market trends indicated that the priorities are on asset reliability and not only price. Mr. Köşker shares his view on the market situation "Customers are price-conscious, however, reliability of the products is the most crucial aspect, as downtime is very costly. Timing is also crucial - the need to keep on schedule and bringing the projects to a close is always high on the priority list."
Mr.Muhammad Iqbal, Automation Systems Manager at the UK-based Lucy Electric, chooses to group market trends per region. He explains "In the developing countries the main challenge for the customers are reducing outages and minimizing losses, whereas in developed countries safety rises as the number one priority. In the Middle East the main focus is on asset reliability and safety and the customers are looking for the very best technical solution."
Dr. Goran Leci, Business Unit Director at the Croatian power plant and electric traction engineering company Končar-KET, further brings up the crucial importance of one of the hottest topics of today: "Cyber security is always an important issue
in order to be on the safe side."
All three interviewees see the smart grid trend as both a challenge and a great opportunity. Dr. Leci comments "In the near future we see a bigger amount of smart grid activities. There are several reasons for this, one of them is distributed energy resources - we need to provide the solution to our customers in order to handle their power network and voltage profile better". He continues "On the other hand, the customer needs to provide reliable electric energy delivery with fewer power outages. Using remote pole-mounted reclosers accompanied with protection functions and FPIs (fault path indicators), we believe that we can provide the customer with real smart grid solutions such as self-healing grid, in order to ensure fewer power outages as well as better restoration times."
The IPS 2015 seminar
This year's event had a celebratory theme with several record milestones and anniversaries reached, e.g, the 30 year anniversary of introducing the SPACOM product family of protection relays. The participants were given the unique opportunity to listen to a presentation on relay history from a now retired ABB product manager, Mr. Henrik Sundell, who was part of the team that developed the ground-breaking relays.
The program revolved around trending topics and the latest news from ABB's leading edge products, zooming in on the Relion® product family, the remote terminal units (RTUs) and the network management (MicroSCADA) offering.
The IPS seminar has grown each year and this year a record-breaking 43 partner companies from 24 different countries joined the event.