Each year supermarkets throw away large quantities of fruit. In the Netherlands this equates to turnover of an estimated 600 million euros. In the United States around ten percent of fresh fruit and vegetables does not make it into the shopping trolley. A shame and unnecessary, as an inexpensive sensor can monitor the ripeness of
Components are all much the same, aren’t they? Commodities have similar performance characteristics, and do more or less the same thing, don’t they? So buy the cheapest, right? Well, no, not at all, certainly not where Omron is concerned.
In fact, over the past year, Omron has effectively rethought its component offering. The process began by talking to customers to find out what they really needed from components and sensors. Clearly everyone wants reliability – that’s a given. A component that doesn’t work consistently, all the time, is at best a waste of money, at worst a potential risk to machines and products. But what else? Ah, there’s the thing: different customers want different things, so there is a huge range of other requirements, some mutually exclusive. They include, for example, different performance levels and functionality, some special features, some standardised solutions, all with competitive pricing.
None of that is really surprising – customers in most markets have different criteria for different applications. But what Omron is doing with its wide range of sensors and components is to meet these requirements head-on, in keeping with the company’s 361° Approach – which has been mentioned in other posts in our blog. The 361° Approach takes an all-round view of customer demands, then adds a bit more – that extra one degree of attention.
3 distinct lines: LITE, PRO and PROplus
In the case of components and sensors, this approach has led to the development of three distinct lines within each range: LITE, which are basic products designed for everyday applications; PRO, which have a longer working life, greater degrees of protection and more features; and PROplus, which are either application-specific or designed to meet individual customer demands. It’s not an exact analogy, but it’s a bit like the automobile market: a family car for the school run; a bigger and more comfortable model for longer journeys; and a Formula 1 design to compete on race tracks.
What it means in practice is that machine and panel designers can choose precisely the component or sensor they need, without over- or under-specifying. They can be secure in the knowledge that all Omron products are made using similar manufacturing processes and materials, and so deliver the same standards of quality and reliability. The differences lie largely in the specification, complexity and, in some lines, the amount of product choice – which tends to be greater in the Pro lines.
The three lines will be available for both components (power supplies, temperature controllers, timers, industrial relays, and monitoring relays) and sensors (photoelectric, fiber-optic sensors and proximity).
All-round, with something extra
In a sense, this product choice is not new. Long-term Omron users know that the company continually develops innovative products designed to deliver a competitive advantage. However, the 361° Approach codifies and refines this process, always with customer demands in mind. And this is what 361° means: an all-round choice, with something extra.
And it’s interesting to note that this “something extra” will mean different things to different customers. In some cases it could mean greater price-competitiveness, because no money is wasted in over-specifying components with unnecessary features. Or it could mean a more efficient machine, because the components are precisely matched to the application. And then again, it might mean installing components that have a perfect fit, tailor-made for a unique installation.
It’s perhaps also important to emphasise that the philosophy behind the 361° Approach covers much more than simply offering a choice of models in each range of components. The 361° Approach is more to do with providing the “extra” that all customers need at different times. That might be access to Omron’s specialised industry knowledge, or quality-first manufacturing advice, or localised on-site support. Ultimately, it means providing customers with an extra degree of confidence in the choice they’ve made. And that means a lot, because the choice can ultimately make the difference between a machine that just does the job, and one that outperforms the competition and delivers everything the end-user needs.