In late March, it was announced that MSA, the world’s leading manufacturer and supplier of safety products, equipment and infrastructure, would be acquiring Sierra Monitor, a leading IIoT and cloud gateway provider.
To the average person, this may have seemed like an odd pairing. Why would a company that makes respirators, head protection and other products designed to make emergency personnel and workers safer possibly want to acquire a company that specializes in gas detection and IIoT gateways that can cloud-enable commercial and industrial equipment?
To learn the answer to that question, we recently sat down with Gustavo Lopez, General Manager of Software as a Service and Portable Gas Detection at MSA Safety Incorporated, and Steve Shaw, the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Sierra Monitor Corporation. According to Gustavo and Steve, the addition of Sierra Monitor’s solutions to MSA makes a lot of sense for both companies.
Here is what they had to say:
Modern Equipment Manufacturer (MEM): Why was Sierra Monitor a good fit for MSA? What about the company’s products and solutions made it the right company for MSA to acquire right now?
Gustavo Lopez: MSA is investing heavily into technologies that enable the connected worker and the connected worksite. In that regard, we have a wide breadth of products designed around making the worker and infrastructure safer and more connected. MSA even spun up a new company called Safety io that is also designed to enable that.
The acquisition of Sierra Monitor fast tracks what MSA was already working towards with connected infrastructure. Sierra Monitor had capabilities that we were looking to build out in the next three or four years. With Sierra Monitor in the fold, we now have those capabilities and the ability to attack that market today.
The Sierra Monitor acquisition also gives MSA access to different market verticals that the company isn’t present in right now. Overall, there was very little overlap between the two companies, and the synergies between the companies were incredible.
With the addition of Sierra Monitor, equipment manufacturers and commercial facilities owners will be able to connect all of their facility equipment and safety equipment together. This will give them an incredibly holistic and comprehensive view of their operations and increase their situational awareness. It will be a better, more comprehensive solution for our customers.
MEM: Why was MSA a good acquirer for Sierra Monitor? What about the company made Sierra Monitor willing and excited to partner with them into the future?
Steve Shaw: Similar to what Gustavo said, this was an excellent technology fit for both parties. Both companies have a similar vision for the markets they serve in that both companies want to develop a connected future and a connected vision for our customers.
There is very little direct competition between the two companies. The solutions were much more complementary. In fact, Sierra Monitor actually viewed MSA as a prospective customer for its FieldServer products and solutions. Ultimately, MSA can utilize Sierra Monitor’s FieldServer solutions in the same way that our other fire panel and gas detection customers have utilized them in the past.
MEM: How will the MSA acquisition impact existing Sierra Monitor customers? Will they see any difference in how they work with the company following the acquisition?
Steve Shaw: Both organizations are similar in their commitment to servicing their customers and delivering the best products and capabilities to their users. In this capacity, Sierra Monitor customers shouldn’t see any change in their interactions and dealings with the company moving forward.
The one change they may see in the immediate future is Sierra Monitor’s ability to ramp up and service larger customers with more advanced requirements. Sierra Monitor now has the backing of a much larger organization, which will better prepare and position the company to service large customers as they prepare for the emerging trends of the future, such as the connected workplace and the introduction of “As a Service” offerings.
MEM: How will the acquisition impact MSA customers? What exciting new products and solutions will this make available to them?
Gustavo Lopez: It shouldn’t impact the customers’ experience or what they’re receiving from MSA now.
I think what they can expect in the future will be the introduction of new and exciting products in our fixed instrument line – which is used in both industrial and HVAC applications. They’ll be enabled for cloud connectivity faster and be more cloud-enabled into the future, allowing advanced capabilities such as preventative maintenance, remote monitoring and other services in the future.
MEM: Looking into the future, how will the acquisition of Sierra Monitor help MSA in its long term growth and business strategy? How will the company help to shape and influence MSA’s business into the future?
Gustavo Lopez: Sierra Monitor and the capabilities that they have for cloud-enabling devices and equipment fits our long-term strategy to build a more connected worker and worksite that increases worker efficiency and helps to reduce worker casualties and injuries from the worksite altogether.
The mission of MSA is to ensure that workers get home to their families every day, Sierra Monitor’s solutions will help employers and facility owners and operators ensure that their workplaces are safe for their workers, and that they walk through their front doors every night.
Sierra Monitor enables that by allowing employers to aggregate all of the data from their fixed assets – whether they’re in a building or a manufacturing plant or a warehouse – and overlay it with some of the other connected devices that exist in that environment. When they analyze all of that data together, they’ll have a true, accurate and real-time picture of what’s happening in the workplace. This will ultimately help us achieve our mission of eliminating injuries in the workplace.