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A report from the MAPI Foundation outlines new decision criteria for businesses undertaking cost-benefit analysis on the purchase and implementation of new technologies. Written by Cliff Waldman, director of economic studies at the MAPI Foundation, the analysis points out that traditional capital investment analysis and related return on investment (ROI) metrics fall short when evaluating investments in rapidly advancing new technologies. The study asserts that an alternative decision framework is needed to capture the expanded benefits, costs, and likely productivity gains associated with new technology investments.

“With investments in new technology, the cost side of the ROI equation contains a broader set of factors than is the case with a fixed technology frontier, where all technologies are considered previously employed capital,” says Waldman. “At the same time, the benefits of investing in a new technology are potentially as broad as the costs—including the opportunity to establish differentiation or remain cost competitive as the new technology spreads.”

The report provides new technology decision criteria that includes the broad benefits of new technology in addition to traditional ROI metrics. Given the need to remain competitive, the report asserts the strategic decision to invest is rapidly becoming about when, not if, to invest.

The findings of this report complement Waldman’s two prior studies. In the first study, Productivity Dynamics in U.S. Manufacturing: An Industry-Based Analysis, Waldman analyzed productivity growth in a range of manufacturing subsectors over the past 25 years and provided statistical evidence on the importance of capital investment and educated labor as drivers of productivity performance. The paper also revealed strong cross-industry correlations for productivity growth.

The second study, Automation Investment in U.S. Manufacturing: An Empirical Picture, indicated that despite the economic slowdown in the industrial sector over the past year, the incidence of actual and planned automation investment is very high in American manufacturing. The report was based on a survey of U.S. manufacturers and non-U.S. manufacturers with a presence in the U.S. The findings showed that increased automation investment spans company sizes and industries.

New technology investment is unlikely to be a reaction to short-term market changes. Manufacturers should examine a large set of complex factors beyond the traditional capital investments assessed with a fixed technology investment to determine the value of emerging technologies for their industries.

Endress+Hauser receives award

After extensive market and competitor research, U.S. consulting firm Frost & Sullivan awarded Endress+Hauser the global Company of the Year Award for water analysis instrumentation. The award is based on an independent study where analysts consider each company’s visionary innovation, performance, and customer impact.

“A robust product portfolio, coupled with strong acumen for innovation and focused customer centricity, has been instrumental in strongly positioning Endress+Hauser amidst competition in the global water analysis instrumentation market,” said Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Krishnan Ramanath.

“Endress+Hauser offers a comprehensive product range to cover all the analytical parameters needed to monitor water quality,” said Ramanath. Today, transmitters, samplers, and analyzers from the Liquiline family, in addition to Memosens sensors, form the foundation of a universal liquid analysis platform that is suitable for many industries and applications, from simple pH measurement points to wet-chemical analyzers for demanding measurement tasks.

The company relied on acquisitions to bolster the process analytical business with technologies such as Raman and laser absorption spectroscopy. The group has also opened the door to laboratory analytical business through the takeover of Analytik Jena AG.

Siemens receives TÜV SÜD certification

Siemens received the TÜV SÜD certification at seven development sites in Germany. These sites are developing Simatic S7 industrial controllers, industrial PCs, human-machine-interface system devices for operator control and monitoring, and drives.

The certificate is based on the standard IEC 62443-4-1, Secure Product Development Lifecycle Requirements, Draft 3 Edition 10, 01.2016. This standard includes security-relevant requirements, such as capabilities and expertise, security of third-party components, process and quality assurance, secure architecture and design, and issue handling as well as security updates, patches, and change management.

Davern to lead NI

The board of directors has elected Alex Davern to serve as chief executive officer and president of National Instruments, effective 1 January 2017. Davern will succeed James Truchard, PhD, who has served as the CEO since the company’s founding in 1976. Truchard will remain as chairman of the board.

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