5 Questions for Schneider Electric’s Greg Lado.
Affinity Energy is Schneider Electric’s newest and only Critical Power EcoXpert in North Carolina. We sat down to talk to Greg Lado, PowerLogic Product Application Engineer to learn more about the program, its benefits to end users, and his vision for the future of critical power and power monitoring.
1. What’s a big challenge for you right now?
I’ve noticed a growing trend of an aging technical workforce. In the 20 years PowerLogic has been around, plenty of my key customer contacts have moved on or retired, and a lot of expertise leaves with them.
The brain drain that occurs after this turnover means systems become neglected. Old PowerLogic systems are out there that languish and need to be revived.
That’s where local system integrators, like Affinity Energy, come in. Because they have the intel necessary to work with systems like PowerLogic, they can act as an end user’s crutch, and can quickly bridge that knowledge gap. They are the perfect candidates to nurture a neglected system back to life.
2. Why did Schneider Electric start the EcoXpert program?
Globally, Schneider Electric heavily relies on integrators to integrate its solutions. In the U.S., however, we had an internal organization to take care of that work. In the past few years, however, we became aware that we weren’t hitting the entire customer base. We weren’t in every city we need to be.
It became quite obvious the value a local system integrator can bring to our customers. The EcoXpert program was born.
EcoXpert has two facets. System integrators are certified, trained, and get a special level of support from Schneider Electric. In cases where we can’t deliver on our projects based on time or geography, we subcontract a Critical Power EcoXpert to do the work for us.
3. What’s the benefit to the end-user?
Normally, Schneider Electric’s engagements are long and sometimes cost prohibitive for a customer who simply wants to update or bring a small system back online. I like that local system integrators are nimble.
They can pop by on a very short interval, spend a couple of hours or days onsite, and provide a solution that Schneider Electric might not be able to in the timeframe allotted.
An end user can choose whomever they want to work on their power monitoring system, but the benefit of choosing a Critical Power EcoXpert means they get a company that is certified, better trained to solve their issues, and has a higher level of support from the manufacturer.
Not just anyone can become an EcoXpert. We’ve been pretty picky on the system integrators we’ve allowed into the program. In fact, there are only eight in the entire SouthEast.
4. What are some trends the critical power industry is facing?
It’s one thing to understand how far your car has driven, and another to make sure the motor is working correctly.
Right now, both issues are in the forefront of customer’s minds in the framework of tracking energy usage in context, and tracking power reliability. Both power monitoring trends are addressed through PowerLogic.
First, to manage utility spend, an end-user’s monitoring system needs to track energy usage in context of production. Instead of merely tracking energy usage, progressive companies realize they must compare energy usage to number of pallets distributed, or total number of products manufactured per day.
Secondly, forward-thinking end users want to ensure their key ingredient (electricity) is reliable and steady. They realize bad power quality in their electrical system means a higher risk of downtime and/or premature equipment failure.
Our customers need the instrumentation side to talk to the power side. Ultimately what this means is more integration by qualified control systems integrators.
5. Can you share a Critical Power EcoXpert success story?
Schneider Electric was asked to conduct a facility audit of a data center in the Caribbean within a very short time window. We were struggling with the timeframe, so we reached out to one of our Critical Power EcoXperts. We were originally planning on sending two or three of our people to get this job done, but our EcoXpert had one person with all the skills required to do the project, including industrial automation, power monitoring, and building automation.
So, on a project where we would have had to coordinate multiple people’s schedules, we were lucky to instead contract with an EcoXpert that had one person who excelled at all the skills required. We wouldn’t have been able to complete the job as fast or cost effectively ourselves, so not only did our EcoXpert save us, he also saved the customer by completing the project within the timeframe allotted.
Need help from a control systems integrator EcoXpert who understands critical power, power monitoring, or power quality? Let us help.
Greg Lado has worked for Schneider Electrics Power Monitoring Solutions group for 18 years in roles ranging from individual contributor to area sales manager, and always with the focus on solving customers energy and power needs with Schneiders proven solutions.