Honeywell’s Living on the Edge with a Rock-n-Roll Strategy


Honeywell Connect puts on a show for Executives using classic Rock-and-Roll

HUG Devive Launch, Honeywell Connect 2022Orlando was the spot for the 45th Honeywell Users Conference (HUG) in June and the maiden Honeywell Connected Enterprise (HCE) flagship in-person event in November. Recent changes have brought in new leadership and a new Life Science growth strategy to rebuild the industrial software provider brand. Top leaders presented with an authentic understanding of manufacturing’s Operationalizing Sustainability, workforce enablement, and cost control issues. My focus was to see course changes, future growth strategy, and the impact to Industrial Digital Transformation. 

At the 5,000-foot level, the events felt very different. HUG’s usual huge crowds had loads of technical sessions in contrast to the Honeywell Connect intimate executive audience, roundtable sessions, and events that (literally) rocked. Proving a user group's ability to build professional networks and operational knowledge while executive leaders work hard and play harder. 

Operationalizing SustainabilityHoneywell's Geismar, LA Pilot Site

Honeywell was able to provide good examples of using its solutions to achieve sustainable operations. The Geismar, LA site (my home parish) had begun piloting new fugitive emissions devices just before the official HUGs launch. Smaller wireless sensors provide early leak detection response and larger mounted cameras help visualize the gas emissions. Battery life estimates and future possible enhancements through vibration and/or solar recharging should make the devices easy to maintain.

This innovation could enable real-time actual emissions data and provide operators with triangulated area alerts from any leak detection platform. This improves operator safety and accelerates net-zero commitments.

In my experience sensors have better success rates and cameras are fickle in process settings.

Workforce Enablement

Honeywell’s Forge application suite is a solution presented for mitigating frontline workforce hiring challenges. Both events showcased digital workforce enablement capabilities that would help with higher turnover and quicker onboarding. HCE is looking to accelerate transformation across leaner workforces by using 80% standard code and 20% customized with industry-specific roles, metrics, and outcomes. This enables necessary steps as more are moving away from manufacturing careers leaving fewer people with more work.  

      • Workforce Enablement Newer technicians can enjoy a safe learning space while building corporate knowledge with Honeywell Forge Workforce Competency Interactive Process Training. 

      • Sustainable Initiative Drivers Ease of use reduces workforce resistance and increases implementation success.

      • Agile Operations from Data Insight Analytics-provided insight reduces low-value work and gives employees time for proactive activities such as training. 

      • Secure ecosystems for asset protection There’s been an uptick in workers accidentally creating security breaches. Honeywell Forge Cybersecurity+ can provide monitoring and detection to handle internal and external threats. 

Workforce Training IFS ToolI wanted to know how the Geismar workforce was accepting the fugitive emissions devices, so I asked Jason Urso directly since he had planned a post-HUG site visit check on the deployment. He said technicians are handling the change fairly well and credited site leadership’s commitment to safer work through innovation as an enabler. Our research agrees and shows initiatives have higher success rates when high-level leadership has “boots on the ground” to communicate directly to the workforce. I’d wager Jason’s visit also motivated the site to work out the kinks for future scaling. 

Our research also shows increased Connected Frontline Workforce (CFW) spending as “digital natives” demand changes in training methods. I saw opportunity in the Honeywell CFW solutions space. The Honeywell Forge Worker Assist hard hat didn’t make interacting with it easy, with problems seeing content and hearing my asks for content at the HUG showcase. I didn’t see it at Connect to give it another chance but if CFW solutions don’t provide easy use and access to information then it’s a failure to launch.

Controlling Cost

Technology can be a cost-effective solution to worker competency that gives employees the experience they want. The newly rebranded Honeywell Forge Performance+ outcome-based SaaS solutions give customers the digital tools they need without paying extra for what they don’t use. 

Many solutions check off the LNS Research Industrial Transformation (IX) Framework people, process, and technology need to transform from the facility level on up. Great results were seen from the billions spent to enable Honeywell Forge with data management, secure IT/OT convergence, and a modernized interface after years of acquisitions.

LNS Research Industrial Transformation (IX) Framework

      • Honeywell Forge Plantwide Optimizer Easy navigation, visual KPIs, and asset-specific notifications make decision-making quicker than ever. 

      • Honeywell Forge Connected OEM Life Sciences could use this cloud-designed IIoT solution to share real-time data insight between the plant floor, enterprise-level, and equipment manufacturers.

      • Sparta Solutions EQMS This portfolio acquisition gives Honeywell's oil and gas, pulp and paper, and chemical sector customers a new tool to pull into their overall solution set.

Honeywell has more ability to meet the Life Science market needs but I don’t think it’s coming across as they would like to customers. Little Life Science-relatable content was seen at HUG while Honeywell Connect's horizontal growth messaging felt obligatory. A better representation would improve purchasing decisions in favor of Honeywell’s growth strategy. 

HCE Digital Transformation Panel, Honeywell Connect 2022HCE Digital Transformation Panel

The Cost of Digital

Open systems with OPC UA protocols may reduce cost and increase flexibility but interoperability also brings vulnerability. Ransomware-as-a-Service is helping anyone with ill intent pull off sophisticated cyberattacks. Numerous big names reported cyber events this year. Coca-Cola, Nvidia, Ferrari, and Cisco to name a few. HCE VP/Cybersecurity GM Jeff Zindel discussed increased ransomware events and cyber maturity across manufacturing at HUG. Honeywell Connect upped the ante on cybersecurity discussion with an executive panel of SMEs.

      • Chase Carpenter, Honeywell CISO

      • Matthew Bohne, HON Global Security VP Chief Product CyberSecurity Officer

      • Edgard Capdevielle, Nozomi Networks President/CEO

      • Todd McLaughlin, Freeport LNG VP/CIO

The overall message from the group was Digital Transformation can significantly increase costs if executives aren’t aware of risks and act. In a way, I equate increased data asset protection to the way facilities protection drastically changed after September 11th. Open and interoperability is good but must be paired with cyber tools to mitigate risk.

Lasting impressions

Honeywell’s “on the edge of transition” and wants to help customers digitally transform as well. There’s positive momentum and room for improvement.  

      • Honeywell’s operational strategy includes its own digital solutions. Honeywell Forge’s comprehensive offerings show consistent capability and functionality improvement. Customers with transformation initiatives should see Honeywell’s large user base as a pool of best practices. Honeywell should see future pilot program updates as a learning opportunity because transformation testimony is important to purchasing decisions.

      • Workforce enablement is eating manufacturers for lunch. The Immersive Field Simulator test drive was cool, but I see customer value in the smaller price tag and footprint of Forge Workforce Competency. I recommend the portfolio add a CFW solution through acquisition or gracefully exiting stage left if they aren’t going to invest further. It’s time for Honeywell to decide on continued wearables/CFW solutions as they will differentiate employers and spending is on the rise.Sparta Systems makes a Honeywell Connect appearance

      • Cost controls need scalable software to pivot from vision to value. Honeywell is using their own footprint to improve products and capability prior to launch. The portfolio has grown organically and inorganically to adapt to a user’s digital maturity and scale. Articulating the portfolio and sharing case studies sooner would be even better. Potential Life Science customers and current customers need to see Sparta Systems as a part of the whole to warrant investment.

      • Digital advancement speed may cost Honeywell big time. A comprehensive Honeywell Forge Performance+ for Buildings dashboard solution provides Sustainability gains but lacks sophisticated analytics capability. Honeywell needs more Advanced Analytics-enabled solutions now as “net-zero” dates loom. Listening to the market, customers and partners can reset the course concerning portfolio priority. Customer spending will go to whoever can enable operating facility improvements faster to reach the monumental carbon footprint reduction goals.

HCE President/CEO Kevin Dehoff says momentum will accelerate innovative solutions. This provides a bright future, with a final note to leadership not to count on promised offerings to motivate customers. Frequent product launches, new features, rebranding, and “coming soon” messaging can drive some sales away.

Honeywell’s SVP/CFO Greg Lewis stated, “I've been very willing to be customer zero - but I'm not going to do it just because you're on my team”. That was a solid CFO-centric point made and shows the faith of Honeywell in HCE solutions.

Next-Generation Sustainability: Risk, Opportunity, and Competitive Advantage Research Spotlight


All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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