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Sat 17 May 2008 04:00 AM

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Jack Bolick, president of Honeywell Process Solutions talks exclusively to Oil & Gas Middle East.

Jack Bolick, president of Honeywell Process Solutions talks exclusively to
Oil & Gas Middle East


Has Honeywell seen the expected level of business growth usually associated with a high price environment?

Absolutely. We've exceeded our projections. If you examine the market expansion that the principal consulting firms estimate each industry sector growth is, our own performance is outpacing those figures by some way.

Almost every vertical that we serve is doing very well, and the oil and gas industry is doing particularly well.

Which geographic regions are Honeywell performing best in?

70% of our business is outside the US, so the perception that America dominates our business model is ill conceived.

Canada and Latin America are growing very rapidly, and further from home, Eastern Europe and Russia is performing very well. All of our major business areas are looking at double-digit growth.

We can go in design, engineer and install a plant from scratch, either on our own or with partners, and then life-cycle manage that project almost anywhere in the world.

There are certain countries we are a little more hesitant of operating in from a security standpoint, or there may be an embargo from the US government, which would restrict business activities.

Having said that, from the emerging markets we're operating in, such as Eastern Europe we don't have a problem operating anywhere.

A good example is Libya, which we are moving rapidly back into now that the restrictions and trade embargo have been lifted.

How is the company dealing with the current wave of globalisation?

Globalisation is a massive challenge, but also represents a huge opportunity and is an exciting dynamic part of my role. Obviously it can be challenging on a personal level and take its toll.

One day I can be here in the Middle East, the next day in South Africa, or Japan, but it's a part of the business we're keen to fully embrace as a company.

Globalisation is also very important to the company, and the fact that we are so global is an asset we can use to attract people with. Honeywell employees have a great opportunity to travel the world and work on a huge variety of projects in different environments.

We're operating a $2.7bn run rate. About 1.2bn of that is what I would consider projects which would cover expansion jobs or greenfield.

Approximately $1bn of that is made up of life cycle services. Around $400mn of that is instrumentation, and the rest is advanced solutions - manufacturing execution systems, simulation systems, and the software driven products that we sell.

How do you gauge the appetite for the wireless process control systems?

Back in 2003 we put our first wireless kits out, which incorporated transmitters, gateways and sensors, and these have been extremely successful.

One Wireless is the second generation of this technology and represents a much more comprehensive, integrated approach.

What we're finding this time around is that the appetite is so strong that we're really quite stretched to meet the demand. We're working as fast as we can to carry out surveys and advise on the wireless solutions available.

The main difference I've picked up on is that whereas a few years ago new customers were interested in trying the starter kits, clients are now coming to us for the whole package.

From tankers and platforms to tank farms, essentially the non-mission critical operations, the take up for entire systems has been huge.

Customers are asking us to provide maintenance, compliance and monitoring systems over one bandwidth as a whole system. This has surprised us to a certain degree and the scale of appetite for the full solution has been beyond our expectations.

What's the largest challenge facing technology providers today?

Human resources are a fundamental challenge. The lack of domain knowledge in the direction where process control is developing fast is probably the biggest problem.

What Honeywell and companies like us really require are people with systems, IT and technical engineering skill sets. Anyone with experience wrapped up in all of those is in very high demand right now and is a very valuable asset.

Out of university or college most graduates would typically only have a background in one particular area, typically IT these days, so through our own internal automation college we can train people up to the high standards we need across each skill set.

Injecting new technology is always a challenge, because it poses challenges to the way things used to be done and requires people to adapt.

What new developments excite you?

Honeywell is first and foremost a technology company, and although it's a conglomerate our entities have common themes, around security, safety, energy management and green technology.

We're embracing the global economy it's an exciting time to be in process control.

I think we're delivering the right things to the world at the right time. It's also quite exciting working with big companies in heavy industry sectors to help solve environmental impact issues.

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