Special Guest
Eric Cook and Meelad Nikpourian
Scott MacKenzie

What's in This Episode?

In this conversation with Industrial Talk’s Scott MacKenzie, Accruent experts Meelad Nikpourian and Eric Cook discuss the pain points that businesses around the world struggle against – and how the right technology and perspective can help solve them for good.  

Specifically, they cover:  

  • How to effectively identify and address customer pain points, like energy strains currently being felt around the world
  • The power of Accruent solutions to help solve these pain points
  • The importance of data, how to effectively focus on the right data, and more.

Join the conversation!  

Full Transcript


Welcome to the Industrial Talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting-edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's get


Alright, once again, welcome to Industrial Talk the number one industrial related podcast in the universe that celebrates industry professionals all around the world because you are bold, brave, you dare greatly. You're changing lives and you're changing the world. That's why we celebrate you on this particular podcast. And if you can hear about the buzzy buzz in the background, sort of buzzy buzz, it was buzzy, Buzzy before. We're at Accruent Insights. Nashville, Tennessee is the location Gaylord this property is absolutely. They need a crew and they have a crew.  

They should because I'm telling you right now, this is a property that's at the top of the property lists. Big time. All right in the hot seat. We have two gents. Eric and Meelad. Gonna get me live right there go there with the crew. And we're going to be talking about this conference, we're going to be talking about all the stuff that the crude is doing. Let's get cracking. Okay, I'm gonna do the best I can to be able to call out your name. And so you guys don't get confused. guys having a good conference? Absolutely. guys haven't been around since, like 24 years or something you haven't met with this, like the user community? Which is? This is cool.


This is our first of second. We'll do this again next month.


That's right. Yeah, she is going to be in your backyard. Or wells, your island. All right. For the listeners out there. We're going to start with you, Eric, give us a little background on who you are.  


I'm a current Go-to-Market Solutions Director, which is a fancy way of saying I'm our chief storyteller. So I'm in charge of making sure our messaging actually aligns to what our customers need and listens to what they want. And delivers that question and answer they want.  


Well, that's the funny thing. They all they all want something different, right? But what they ultimately want is solutions to their problems. Right? Absolutely. They absolutely don't, they don't want a product in the end of the day. I think that's what we make. But they want a solution. And our product happens to provide a solution.


We're gonna we're gonna pull on it. Thread in a big way. Right, we'll add Meelad’s background.


So I've been at Accruent for four years, and currently Senior Director of Commercial Strategy and Value Engineering working very, very closely with Eric and our product team to figure out what products people want, how do we build them, then how do we go message those products to our global customer base?


So you need you need, you need to collaborate? So there's a bunch of tables behind us. And there are people chirping and pointing at the screen and all that stuff. I'm sure there's some business happening in there too, as well. But that whole collaboration, that whole desire to know what what your end user is what your clients need is, is that where you find yourself going? Okay, I'm hearing Yeah, I hear what you're saying. So why not take us through that.


So what we try to do at Accruent is really identifying customer pain points through their workflows, we identify, because we play Eric sort of highlighted this earlier, so many different industries and verticals, we try to figure out pain points that are not just unique, but that we can spread across multiple different industries. A great example of that one, late last year was energy. People in Europe in particular saw these massive spikes in energy usage, and not just usage, but pricing on that usage.  


It happened here too. And I didn't like it either. Yeah. So you started in that that whole energy area? And then you started to say, in essence, a pain point, this is what you're looking at this particular place, right. Like, it's a small state. Yes. And, you know, when you look at it, you walk out in the atrium, and it's nice and cool. And I all I could think about is about that for a building. How do we how do we manage that, Eric? What do we do?


Well, it's, it's twofold, right? Because one is the cost of managing it. Right? And the other part is the ecological impact of managing it. So I live in the UK, and the problem is bad here, but it's even worse thing. I like my local pub. My we call it our local right, the local pub where I go their power bill before the Ukraine War started for example, was 6000 pounds a month, which is actually pretty small for a for for a pub. Because pubs are huge. They have rooms they have, they have nooks and crannies been there since the beginning of time, that type of thing.


And And contrary to popular belief that Beer is actually chilled there. So


Oh, absolutely, absolutely.


But But I think, but I think the local went from 6000 a month to 23,000 a month. Wow. And that that impacted. I mean, obviously, that impacted everything for them, because they just came out of a pandemic. So now they've got to figure out how to manage all this energy cost that's new to them, as well as bring people instead of


just happened sort of, like there was a light switch that flipped and said, yeah, now we're expensive.


And things have calmed down a little bit. But that's one end of it. The other end is, what if you're a big multinational that has hundreds of office buildings, or even hundreds of retail locations, you've also got to think about how you're impacting the environment, because your shareholders care about that your customers care about that, you know, you go into a grocery store, you go into a Kroger here, for example, and they've got signs up that talk about how they're saving energy, because their customers care. And they're more likely to shop there. Because


I gotta tell you, so how do you take sorry, because my background is energy, I get all geeky on the energy side, because I remember it was like a light switch. See, this is what's sort of interesting. It goes up fast, but it doesn't come down fast. That's, I guarantee it, when you graph it, it's like this. And then it starts going down like this, if anything, and then I pass it on to my consumer. And that doesn't make people happy.


But you can't raise prices forever, right? And you can't raise them above what your competitors are doing. So you've got to balance that.


So with that said, Okay, so we're taking this whole situation, and we're saying, Okay, we got this high energy price, and it's all there. Right. So how does the Accruent solution help with?


So it goes from reactive management, you can think about this with maintenance as well, you know, the shift from reactive to proactive that really came with CMMS, as being able to understand when I should start scheduling my work orders, you can do the same thing with energy, the first step really is identifying the usage, not waiting to the end of the month, the end of the quarter, the end of the fiscal year, if it's higher ed, to then start tracking, hey, what was happening with my energy and my consumption. But the closer you can get to real time usage, the closer you can get to proactive countermeasures. I'll give you an example. Yeah, one of our one of our customers, one of the largest big box retailers in the UK, ran our vx Observe platform to track energy usage - AOEM as well. And what they figured out was they were comparing site to site daily energy usage data through our graphical tools. And I saw one spike with one site was spiking, significantly higher than the other one. Every night. They drilled into the why, well, someone was leaving the floor lights on every single night. And these weren't LED lights, they were halogen lights, and it was a massive, you know, footprint store. So it could have a huge that just that little shift. And with our Observe platform, you could actually do the BMS system automatically turn off the lights,


you get an acronym BMS building management.


So yeah, so with that, with that integration, we can actually automatically set a trigger to turn off the lights at a certain setpoint or time, and that ended up stabilizing and happening huge actual impact with the way that they standardize their energy usage across stores.


And that's it. That's bottom line value. Yeah, that's like, immediate bottom line value. Is there still, Eric is there's still inefficiencies that exist out there, not just from an energy perspective, just just inefficiencies on how we manage our assets. And I always, I always look at it in a way that, hey, I'm efficient. I'm inefficient here, like deploy some strategy. Now I'm efficient. And then everybody thinks, wow, we're not getting the value out of that. Is there still? Are we still achieving some efficiencies?


Yeah. And I think that there, there's even something that we've done recently, which is, which illustrates that. So for example, if you've got complex engineering products, like you've got, whether it's oil and gas, or you happen to maybe have, you know, complex air conditioning systems, and you know, giant, highrise buildings and things like that, all of those things, have schematics and wiring diagrams and pipe diagrams and all of that. Having those available to people when they perform maintenance is essential. But what most businesses are doing today, and and I'm not exaggerating here, they're still pulling down a paper plan. And which is out of date, by the way, it's, it's always out of date. Exactly. And they're using that and they're trying to figure out what's going on rather than having that electronic diagram available with all the notes that people have made on it, knowing exactly what changes have been made up to the moment so that they don't, not only can they provide maintenance faster, but they can do it more efficiently. I'll give you a great example. So we've got you You know, a lot of how do I call this without naming in a big box retailers that have warehouses? And these warehouses are, you know, 40 football fields long? Yes. So when they go when they go to fix something, they have to have all of the tools they need. And they have to have all of the parts they need at the time that there's a failure or a maintenance issue reported, because otherwise, it can take them 45 minutes to get to the other side of the fact sort of like this hotel. Yeah, exactly like this hotel. And then they forget something, or they don't have something they have to go back for and back again. So now you've taken a 45-minute maintenance, and you've now made it a three-hour maintenance. So, efficiencies can be found everywhere. But it requires the good usage of the data that you have. And that's the hard part because people have so much data about these systems, about their assets, about things like that, but they don't know how to use it. And so they need a better way to have it presented to them.


But Meelad here's, here's the here's the reality. So we talked about data capture and data, get more data, we want more data, all of that stuff, it makes complete sense. But it's it's pretty noisy out there. Right? So how do we begin to take that data, that tsunami of data and begin to say, okay, that's noisy, this is noisy, let's move it aside. This is where we want to focus. What do we do with that?


So it first starts at which assets, which are the most critical assets, I'll talk about our Observe platform, which is our condition and IoT based platform that can help manage, you're not going to put condition and IoT based monitoring on every asset you have, you're gonna probably centralize it to the critical few, the one that we see the most is a track, right? You talked about this, how cold it was in your room, or in these massive conference rooms. It's an incredible amount of energy. It's a very expensive asset. So that's one one place where we're using an incredible amount of data to say, “Okay, well, how can we optimize that asset for you?” So you don't have to actually sit there and see the reams of data that's coming off this system? Oh, yeah. Yeah, exactly. Nobody wants that. It's analysis paralysis, you see it a lot, right? It's, it's the data is only as good as the insights you can gather from it. But even better when that when that system that's running that data can make predictive analytics for you. So we'll use things like humidity, temperature, ambient temperature, to to actively do control set points of your H back unit to help optimize it, we've done this for big box retailers across the globe. And because it's such a high value asset, not only can you extend the asset lifecycle of that, you can start to see really, really great savings on energy usage as well. But it's all automated, you set these control points, right? You said, Hey, I don't want to look at all this data, you set control points and parameters. And as soon as things start to get anomalous, right, temperature starts to deviate too much, I'd gave you the example of energy usage with a lighting, it triggers a rule, right? And because our products are now like tightly packaged and integrated, that kicks off immediately to your CMMS system, to say, hey, let's get a technician out there. With all the wiring schematics, everything he needs that one thing Eric didn't add on to is the safety aspect of that, oh, right here, yeah, massive, massive, and I've been to hundreds of plants over the decades, and I've seen technicians right on felt tip pens on the inside of, you know, Transformers wiring schematics. I mean, it's life and death, you know, we saw that we also own fluke, which is, you know, makes all the test and measurement equipment, they're big, they're big message was always safety, right lives. And that's critical for us, too. If you don't have the latest and upgraded, you know, wiring schematics, you you're potentially risking your life, or your technicians life, who's gonna go out there and work and service on this, some guy with 2030 years of experience, knows what happened, what's changed with this piece of machinery? And he's left right there. We're seeing this in droves. Right. So how do you capture that tribal knowledge? How do you document it, make sure that you have the latest and greatest revision to keep your people safe and also more productive.


So with that, let's continue to pull on that thread. Now. We know that technology this innovation is it's happening fast. It's just blistering pace. And it's great. It's exciting. It's somebody that likes shiny objects all the time, and I get distracted easily. It's a good thing for me. But are we talking about how to deploy in some of these cases with data, some of those cases with being able to access the information? Is that a is that a use case for an AI type of solution?


100% When you have enough data, I think Bill highlighted it in our earlier session. I think what's unique about Accruent and Fortive as a whole is that we have access to so many different industries, right? And all the data coming from our CMMS systems from IoT systems. That gives us a unique ability because these models are only as good as the data that you feed him and the data to really start to drive impact. That's why you also want to get specific into a specific asset, right? You're not going to go provide aim. out on every single asset on the factory floor, you want to get really, really specific into a specific niche, like a track, which is a common problem.


Go ahead. Add to that. Well, I


think that I also want to add to that the future is in how that data is used. For example, I'll give you a great example. Yeah. So we have all this data that's anonymized. And so we can understand, for example, if, if you're trying to put something on a factory


stub, I stumbled on the speed bump called a Nahmanides.


It's anonymous. Sorry, like, I'm having a good. But there's no names attached. Thank you. But it's really useful to have because what if you're a factory trying to make a decision on equipment? Would it be nice if you also had the data that have the reliability of that equipment, so that you can make an future proof your business? So you say, Okay, I'm not gonna buy from that manufacturer, because we can see that manufacturers a failure rate 2020 times higher than this manufacturer? Because that all goes to cost? Because downtime is literally the most most expensive thing? Right? It is. Yeah, the killer


of productivity. Yeah. That's great. So with that said, this is interesting, in that you brought up a good, good point. So here's Ford, of the parent company, the the mothership, to a certain extent, and but in that you have just access to so many different industries. So is there an effort to be that's happening to say, yep, we have oil and gas across multiple, you know, organizations. And so we're going to start painting this picture of being able to really understand not just the data, but also the location and all of the other nuances that come with that asset and be able to say, Yeah, you got you got this Moto X, Y, Z, and it performs well up north, but not down south, that type of thing is that? Is that where we're seeing it sort of going?


100% Like, I actually came from Fluke, as an example. So you see this cross collaboration across operating companies a lot, but it's all industry specific people. So you want to talk about a mecca for maintenance, people go Yeah, you know, fluke, and by by a current Gordian ServiceChannel, you have some of the best and brightest minds that you'll meet here at this conference that have been in the industry for decades, right and have access to all that data, whether it's from actual pieces of machinery, and hand equipment, test and measurement or get it down to the software that helps gold, it is gold, it is gold, and we're in a very unique, you know, and yeah, it's amazing to work for a company that has all that expertise.


Yeah, but see, I get overwhelmed. Okay. It's, where do I start? What do I do? Who do I trust all of that, and I can get just just overwhelmed.


So that's cool. That's cool. It is. But I think that's also where people like our solutions, consultant teams come in, right, which are, which is, you know, it's the modern term for sales engineers, right. But really, what they're there to do is to help people understand what solutions will fit their problems. They're not they're trying to do the hard sell right there that they're trying to get you to sign a Pio or anything like that. What they're trying to do is understand what your problem is, and then bringing the best of breed solutions from across boarded into that. So we've formalized that recently, for example of a service channel. Yep. So at the retail, the retail end, we now have our lockstep with another operating company service channel to provide CMMS into retail, now, that still can use all of our instrumentation on the back end and things like that, but we sell it as a solution. It's not, you don't have to buy this from this person or that from that person. Because what we're trying to do is say, here's a problem that exists, we're trying to solve the problem as holistically as possible without you having to figure out how to solve that problem.


Yeah. I don't want to know, I want I have a problem I want it solved. I don't want to, to a certain extent, see how the sausage is made. Right? I want. I just want you to solve my problem and hear what I have to say. But I but I find that you guys are in a really very unique position to be able to have that whole global perspective in in in asset management, touching multiple industries. I think it's just I think it's brilliant. I don't know, what do you think?


Yeah, the only thing that I think I could add on to that is that the other thing about being in all of these industries is each one of them have different regulations that they have to adhere to different safety aspects, as you pointed out, and all of that stuff has different documentation requirements. And if we can provide solutions that go across those and say, doesn't matter if you're in if you're an oil and gas or you're in discrete manufacturing or whatever, whatever you're in or even in education because they have their own requirements, we can provide a solution If that's specific to them, that's our biggest challenge is making sure that we can constantly evolve to all of these industries. But that's where Ford F comes in and allows us to do that.


You guys are cool. I like this conversation. All right, Eric, how do they get a hold of you?


Yeah, get a hold of me on LinkedIn. Eric cook. Look up. London, England. That's where I'm at.


Yeah, I would imagine you have to say Eric cook. Calm.


I think America one.


Shut the front door.


And Milan, Nick Korea, and I'll probably be the only villatte that you'll find. I


was just gonna say I'm pretty confident that you'll be able to find him with his fluffy hair. How are you guys were absolutely wonderful. Enjoy the rest of the conference? Because they tell you man, this is exciting. All right. Wrap it up on the other side. We're gonna have all the contact information for these two gents out on Industrial Talk. Stay tuned. We will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


Oh, hearty thank you to gladden Eric. Accruent is the company a crew went live was the event in Nashville, Tennessee, and love the spirit of collaboration that took place at that user conference. It was spectacular. Identifying the pain points across across industry. What a what a just a rich area of just mining for solutions. It's it's fantastic. These two gents hit it out of the park, and you need to put this on your calendar calendar for next year. 24 make it happen. You will not be disappointed at all. All right, we're creating a platform that celebrates industry professionals. You want to be on it. You let me know you just go out to Industrial Talk.com. We've got webcasts we've got podcasts, we've got other videos. It's all out there to tell the story, to educate, to collaborate, to innovate, be bold, be brave, dare greatly hang out with these two jets fuel changing world we're going to have another great conversation