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艾默生CEO:解决中国食物浪费充满商机

艾默生CEO:解决中国食物浪费充满商机

Geoff Colvin 2013年03月15日
艾默生电气首席执行官大卫•法尔目前正在大刀阔斧地重塑公司的核心业务。他指出,在中国和印度这些地方,超过35%的食物都被浪费掉了,因为它们没有得到妥善的贮存或冷却。

    你已经在运营艾默生电气公司的过程中采取了一些重大的战略举措,如今还在引入更多,这些变化背后的大局思维是什么?

    要想让一家企业保持活力和竞争力,就必须不断进行改造。我的前任运营这家公司长达26年时间,他进行了三轮改造,而我正处于自己的第二轮。我们现在做的生意值得继续投资,并能够推动公司向前发展。但你必须不断地考察手上拥有的东西,经常自省,“这辆车跑不动了,我们需要继续前进。”

    这不是件容易的事。上任第二年,我跑到董事会表态,说我希望卖掉艾默生电气的创始业务(电机)。董事们看着我,仿佛我长着三个脑袋似的。但我说,这项业务已经无法再带来能够确保公司保持竞争力及活力的增长、收益和现金了。因此,我们找到了合适的买家,一家日本公司,然后继续前进。

    一个对你来说很重要的大趋势涉及到巨大、安静、没有活物的房间,也就是数据中心。艾默生电气的机会在哪里?

    运营数据中心就必须对电源、冷却以及系统可靠性进行管理,而我们花了25年打造了一项业务来为这个行业提供服务。现在的趋势是建设谷歌(Google,财富500强)和Facebook那种超大规模的数据中心,而所采用的技术则讲求让数据中心变得更加节能和可靠,同时尝试在不消耗大量电力和能量的情况下,尽可能多地对数字足迹进行分析。这就是我们的工作,简单地说,我希望看到电力消耗,热量产生,因为我们将生产电力,然后对发热的系统进行冷却。

    全球冷却和制冷行业的前景一定非常好,我这样想对吗?

    的确很好,尤其是在新兴市场。在中国和印度这些地方,超过35%的食物都被浪费掉了,因为它们没有得到妥善的贮存或冷却。因此,我们开发了冷却和制冷技术来帮助那些国家。这些地方对我们来说一直是个巨大的市场。

    艾默生电气的另一项业务是生产家居用品,这让你们在美国家居市场也有一席之地。这项业务的未来方向在哪里?

    我们正在从很小的基数上恢复。我们做家居生意已经有很长时间,我们的产品是碎污机。我们位于威斯康星州拉辛市的工厂一年能够生产600万台碎污机。目前,我们正在跟各大城市进行合作,搞清如何减少食物浪费。我们的方案是对食物残渣进行研磨,处理后用于发电或生产肥料。不是把垃圾送去填埋,而是改变研磨工艺,然后再把它们送去加工厂进行处理。

    我们刚刚在中国投资建厂来做这件事,因为食物浪费是这个国家面临的五大问题之一。顺便提一句,为中国生产的碎污机跟我们使用的并不一样。

    为什么呢?

    中国的食物与众不同。中国人食用大米,富含纤维的蔬菜也更多。因此,碎污机的研磨工艺并不一样。那是一种独一无二的技术,一般人永远也想不到。

    You've made some major strategic moves in running Emerson, and you're making more. What's the big-picture thinking behind those changes?

    For a company to stay viable and relevant, you have to continuously rebuild. My predecessor ran the company for 26 years. He did it three times. I'm on my second go-round. We're going through businesses that we can continue to invest in and move the company forward, but you have to constantly look at what you have and say, "This car doesn't work anymore. We need to move on."

    It is not easy. I went to the board my second year on the job and said I wanted to sell the founding business of Emerson [electric motors]. The board looked at me like I had three heads. But I said the business no longer can generate the growth or returns or cash that we need to make sure we stay competitive and viable. So we found the right buyer, a Japanese company, and moved on.

    A large trend that's important to you involves data centers, these vast quiet rooms with no moving parts. Where's the opportunity for Emerson?

    You have to manage the power, cooling, and reliability of the data center. And we've built a business over the past 25 years to serve this industry. The trend now is hyperscale-size data centers based on the Googles (GOOG, Fortune 500) and the Facebooks (FB), and the technology there is how to make them more energy efficient and more reliable and try to get as much inside a footprint as possible without using a lot of power and heat. And that's what we do. Simplistically, I want to see energy used, and I want heat generated, because we're going to generate that electricity, and then we're going to cool it.

    I would think the outlook for cooling and refrigeration globally must be strong.

    It's very strong, especially in emerging markets. In places like China and India over 35% of the food is wasted because it's not properly stored or cooled. So we've developed cooling and refrigeration technologies to help those countries. It's been a huge marketplace for us.

    Another Emerson business is making products for homes, which gives you a great interest in the U.S. housing market. Where is it headed?

    We're recovering off a very low base. We've been in housing for a long time, making things called garbage disposers. We make 6 million a year in Racine, Wis. We're now working with cities to figure out how to reduce food waste by grinding it and then processing it for energy and fertilizer. Rather than garbage going out into landfills, we're changing the grind, and we're going to send it through a processing plant.

    We just made our first investment in China doing the same thing because one of their top five issues is food waste. And by the way, the grinder for China is different from the grinder you have in your house.

    Because?

    The food's different in China. You have rice, and you have more stringy vegetables. So the grinding mechanism is different. It's a unique technology that the average person would never think about.

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