Companies that perform serious technical work do not communicate much to the outside world, so we rarely hear from them. The market is often surprised when the owner of a new, internationally unique product or service appears “out of nowhere”. The surprise is only greater when they realise that the company has been an established player in its market for decades. We spoke with the Founder of Independent Automation Group, Gábor Megyeri, and their Business Development Director, György Bíró.
Process automation has been an important sector for decades, but it’s only in recent years that we’ve seen a real advancement. It is clear that the current crisis will make the decision-makers reassess this area. What is your opinion on the matter?
Gábor Megyeri: Obviously, my answer has a strong human side, and the business side must be equally strong. I never hoped that people would realise the importance of automation under these circumstances, but it must now be acknowledged that automation is an integral and indispensable part of business. Our profession has benefited greatly from open-minded companies, and this will become an increasingly intense process in the future; that much is clear.
Can you measure this increased interest in any tangible way?
Gábor Megyeri: We definitely can. One main indicator is the number of searches for the relevant technical keywords. The number of such searches has increased by 66% since the start of the crisis compared to the preceding period. Clicks on “automation”, “human resource efficiency”, or even “control” are a good indication of what the future holds. And then there’s our own business, where we are increasingly being asked to provide proposals for automation strategic due diligence, and later for process design and management.
IAG is a new and interesting player in the business world: you provide complex strategic and operational consulting and implementation in the field of automation and monitoring. All this is done independently of any brand. What is your professional background as you take on this specialised technical knowledge?
Gábor Megyeri: Within the narrow sphere of the profession, the name IAG is not yet widely known, but the Profigram brand is. This year we are celebrating 22 years in the field, and from the very beginning, automation and monitoring have been our focus. Although we initially focused mostly on the building and implementation of systems. However, maintaining high customer satisfaction has always been a priority for us. Though I suppose all owners say the same about their businesses. But we really put a lot of effort into providing our customers with additional services and advice that they don’t get from other market players. In addition—and I think this is the most important thing from the point of view of efficiency—from the get-go, our experts must be familiar with every major automation/production brand, because this is the only way to guarantee an optimal, objectively best solution for our partners. In fact, IAG was born from this concept. In recent years, this advice has reached higher and higher levels of decision-makers at our partners, and at the same time, vendor neutrality for the systems implemented has become an important factor in their decisions.
So IAG is a continuation of Profigram?
Gábor Megyeri: No, I would not say that. The Independent Automation Group can be seen as the sum of several important sub-areas, such as the LENS Consulting Group, which specialises in strategic consulting; Profigram, which deals with implementation, procurement, and complex management; MMG System Integration, which specialises in industrial automation; and MDM Consulting, which specialises in the automation of component production. In other words, IAG covers the entire range of automation, from strategic planning to operational implementation.
Who are IAG’s competitors on the international market?
György Bíró: A lot of preparation and market research preceded the establishment of IAG and the building of its business strategy, and I have to say that we have no direct competitors. Of course, in some form, everyone who specialises in automation can be considered one, but there is no company on the market that can further its partners’ interests in such a complex and, most importantly, brand-independent way. There are serious professional players who, like our core company, Profigram, provide consultancy services for system integration, but they do not do so independently, as they sell their own products or integrate the products of a specific manufacturer, or they do not reach the strategic level but instead focus on specific operational work.
Why is it important to consult at the strategic level?
György Bíró: To give you just one good example: managing labour shortages and fluctuations. This is a serious strategic issue, and automation has a major role in it. But planning the extent to which a company wants to reduce its exposure to human resources and the extent to which it can or wants to use systems to replace this uncertain operational factor is certainly a strategic issue. At this level, it is not a question of which machines and how they are integrated into the operation; it is a question of more serious policy and business directions. IAG can be involved at this stage and offer clear advice and decision support by modelling the business ideas of the owners/company managers and quantifying them in concrete terms.
Why now? What makes you think 2021 is the year to launch?
György Bíró: We have been working on IAG’s business strategy for several years, and two years ago, we found the international premium consultancy background for this strategic market entry. We have always been the type of company that only enters the market with something when we can execute it in a truly professional way. We also have very high expectations of ourselves in this field. Moreover, everyone in the market is struggling with labour shortages, so we could not have chosen a better time. Therefore, I think that there is now no reason why we should not step up the pace.
Gentlemen, thank you for the discussion, and I assume that we will be hearing from IAG a lot more in the future!?
Gábor Megyeri: Thank you. We are still not fans of intense marketing campaigns, but yes, we would like to present our knowledge to more and more market players in the future.