#pAutomator: Bruno Albuquerque, NOVUS
We spoke to Bruno Albuquerque, Key Account Executive, NOVUS Automation, Brazil for our #pAutomator interview. Albuquerque helps companies to improve their portfolio by offering instruments that measure, control and register in several applications within various segments such as mining, pharma, food & beverage, logistics, water & wastewater, etc.
In this interaction, he explains how can one select an appropriate instrument to meet the right set of application and discusses the role of the latest digital practices in the industry. Excerpts from the interview.
If you have a similar story you’d like to share, write to us and we’ll get in touch!
What brought you to your role in this industry? Looking back, how do you trace your career path?
As soon as I completed my technical course in Automation I started working as an intern in a small electronics manufacturing company. Then, I studied Electrical Engineering and joined NOVUS as an electronics-engineering intern. From intern to electronics developer, I improved my skills and learned from more than 20 experienced engineers in the same team. In this way, I worked mainly on projects with signal conditioners and transmitters.
Continuing, I moved overseas to study and was offered a job at a NOVUS distributor in Australia, Ocean Controls. There, I felt closer to the users of the products that I developed – this was a priceless experience. This way, I could understand the challenges of being an automation products distributor and the importance of the manufacturer’s commercial and technical support.
Also, while developing some custom products, I provided technical and commercial support to the entire NOVUS portfolio there. That was indeed one of my greatest opportunities because it made me handle customers as a top priority.
In early 2016, back in Brazil, I joined NOVUS once again as Key Account Manager responsible for increasing our market share. Also, I develop and maintain customer relationships in Africa, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.
In your current role, are you responsible for providing customers with appropriate instruments? How do you manage this?
NOVUS, as an instruments manufacturer, is mainly concerned with providing solutions to our sales network. This includes integrators, distributors or resellers. My goal is to keep these companies up-to-date with what we are launching.
Also, I make sure that they know where to find new opportunities for our products. Then, these companies add value to our products by offering their services to an end user. For example, this could be any company in the industries we serve such as pharmaceutical, mining, agricultural and others.
In conclusion, offering appropriate instruments for various applications is only possible when you are close to your customers and understand what type of product they seek. Importantly, you must also know their specialities and how their market or segments behave. Therefore, being able to address their needs commercially and technically is a must.
What are the primary market sectors you cater to and what are the products that you get the most queries about?
I have been mostly dealing with mining and metals, pharmaceutical and building automation sectors. However, I deal with customers from very different markets and the demand really depends on where they come from.
For Mining and Metals, our signal conditioners and transmitters are the most procured products. In pharmaceutical plants, our temperature and humidity monitoring solutions coupled with our data loggers are “the killers.”
Building automation is becoming more and more important to us. In this sector, our temperature transmitters and humidity transmitters are more requested due to their versatility and ease of use, important factors for the installation and maintenance.
How do you use customer feedback to meet customer expectations in the future?
A professional that directly deals with the market is on the front line of any company. Our feedback about customer needs is essential for the continuous improvement of the product portfolio. That said, relaying customer feedback is a key aspect of my role.
Companies can lose a lot of opportunities without a proper interface between the actual market and portfolio management. Sometimes a small change in your product can make it attractive to some niche market, or even beat your biggest competitor.
To conclude, Every customer query is unique and must be prioritized. Keeping flexibility in our products is one of the challenges that we have been addressing. Because of this, even the most different (sometimes weird) requests become a simpler task.
Today, data management has become crucial. With this comes the implementation of the latest digital practices like IIoT and Industry 4.0. So, how do you oversee the entire scenario in current business dynamics?
There are companies that use automation and data acquisition activities in their processes. Then, they use their most prepared professionals to understand this data and make a decision. This takes time, process knowledge and effort. What if we could make it – if not automatic – easier to do? IIoT and Industry 4.0 concepts will change the way we see automation, just as the internet changed the way we communicate.
With everything connected, sensing points will need to be smarter, more efficient and accurate. Essentially, automation technology manufacturers will be responsible not only for offering connected solutions but also for giving insights about processes.
For example, they will do this by compiling historical data into an easy-to-understand report. This way, they can schedule predictive maintenance or alert you when a determined process becomes less productive.
However, customers are now more preoccupied with data ownership and security. This limits decision makers when moving to a new solution using connected platforms. Thus, manufacturers can either offer more flexibility on where to store data or a clearer data policy.
In your opinion, what are the emerging trends in the Process Instrumentation market that contribute to industry challenges and opportunities?
Though IIoT and Industry 4.0 are buzzwords when talking about trends for the automation sector, this is real and happening. Basically, I see a lot happening in this area and soon. The challenges are mostly in regards to offering useful information to users, rather than only raw data stored somewhere.
Also, it’s clear that agencies and governments are playing an important part in regulating various sectors. From exportation pallets or food and medicine producers, companies must provide data to prove that their products meet minimum quality or safety standards.
So, this is all an opportunity for our instrumentation and automation technology providers because we already offer high-end data acquisition solutions – connected or not – for various sectors.
Moving ahead, what is your advice to the next generation of engineers?
Think globally. Everything you do must be competitive not only in your region but anywhere in the world. Connect with knowledgeable and experienced people and go see the world.
Keep up to date with everything that happens in your industry and value experience rather than an academic degree. Don’t be afraid to transition from technical to marketing/commercial areas and vice-versa.