The collective intelligence of man and machine
Throughout my career, I have seen that the real benefit of technology lies in getting people to communicate and collaborate better together. What is exciting today is that my role as CIO and Digital Transformer involves driving our Group vision forward. That means ensuring all the technology-related services we provide across Faurecia – from our unique global infrastructure to the different software, services and communications tools used daily – enable our teams in over 300 locations to work more efficiently and effectively.
Before, companies would typically buy, integrate and customize IT systems to their business environment. Now the paradigm has shifted to a more complex mix of in-house and cloud-based digital services. Connectivity and availability are key and are opening up many more interconnected ways to support and enhance the operations of a global Group like Faurecia. This way we create a new channel for outside-in innovation.
Today IT teams are at the heart of finding ways to exploit new technologies in our internal ways of working, especially in our core business activities like product development, manufacturing, supply chain and customer management. Currently we are evaluating and industrializing technologies that range from increasing automation through robots/cobots in manufacturing or warehouse management, using artificial intelligence in visual inspection to integrating machine learning via sensors on production equipment to reduce scrap. Furthermore, we are increasing the efficiency of backoffice processes by means of new automation solutions. We have also begun pilots using blockchain technology which has the potential to create a revolutionary new system of trust for validating exchanges between each contributor at every step from procurement to just-in-time production. All these projects aim to help us increase speed and quality and reduce costs.
Faurecia has two foundation blocks that underpin all these efforts: a single global enterprise system with standardized processes that manage everything from procurement, scheduling to production, and a centralized data ‘lake’ that interconnects all the information we collect, analyze and exploit. Both enable us to create synergies and move faster in preparing our digital future.
Technology is one part of the story: but human expertise is just as critical. Into the future everyone will need to be technology oriented – especially if they are programming, monitoring automated processes or directing robots on the shopfloor. That is why our IT specialists are already working in transversal teams alongside colleagues in operations, engineering or other functional departments to connect the organization and build in digital thinking from the outset. And that is why we are strengthening our in-house skills by recruiting new talent as well as partnering with digital experts like Accenture.
Agility and speed will be the critical success factors in tomorrow’s digital workplace. By combining our collective intelligence with the potential of new technologies to get people working more effectively together, we will be able to create bigger and better solutions for the benefit of all.