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My lessons learned: accelerating our digital transformation is a key lever for Faurecia’s resilience
Life at Faurecia

My lessons learned: accelerating our digital transformation is a key lever for Faurecia’s resilience

The moment the spread of COVID-19 reached pandemic levels and lockdowns were imposed, I was travelling to Germany when the border with France was closed. While I faced delays in my return I was able to access all the tools I needed to work remotely. Remote working is not new to Faurecia’s IT staff (our teams are based around the world), and our digital transformation, supported by strong IT competences and infrastructure, has enabled business continuity during the crisis. However, the abrupt transition had a profound impact on our daily working lives, and we need to acknowledge the challenges of working from home in this time and the strain of balancing all our responsibilities.

Digital acceleration

I believe that the crisis has accelerated our digital transformation. Among all the pillars of our digital transformation, the number of active Microsoft Teams users more than doubled between February and March 2020, going from just under 15,000 to over 37,000. Cloud applications, such as chat groups and online events fast became the norm across the company. The application landscape based on our cloud strategy proved to be reliable and supportive during these times. As we planned for the restart of operations in concert with our suppliers, Purchasing top management Nathalie Saint-Martin and CEO Patrick Koller held the first virtual supplier conference, with over 2000 participants. Given the success of the event and positive feedback received from suppliers, this is likely to be the first of many such virtual conferences.

Collaboration, Learning & Communication

Our handling of the crisis has shown that Faurecia is a learning organization – teams have adapted rapidly, worked together to solve the challenges at hand, and included our stakeholders throughout. Various teams including IT and HSE helped ensure the health and safety of staff on site. Support from our colleagues in China who shared their experience and the best practices they developed, were crucial to our response in Europe and North America. The importance of communication and close contact with staff is clearer than ever while activity on Microsoft Teams, the Learning Lab, and other digital tools has grown tenfold during the crisis, our approach to keeping in touch with operators has rested on the creativity and ingenuity of staff at industrial sites. We are now launching an initiative to enhance our solution for this need, for the long term.

Data at the core

The crisis might not only accelerate our digital transformation, but also the digitization of industrial production, which would help prevent disruption to industrial processes. Data, which has always been at the core of our IT strategy is becoming increasingly important: maintaining, understanding and managing the associated risks is crucial, more than ever. For example, proposals to create apps that track cases of COVID-19 and assist in contact tracing, already in use in some parts of the world, rely heavily on data to support public health but pose serious risks and privacy issues. Collection and use of data which balances needs and concerns will be key to the management and response to future crises.

Towards CO2 Neutrality

As CEO Patrick Koller has mentioned, action on climate change is an inalienable part of developing resilience, and Faurecia has reaffirmed its ambition regarding CO2 neutrality. IT will play a key role in Faurecia’s CO2 Neutral objective, collecting and analyzing data on our CO2 footprint that will be key to decision-making in this 10-year project. Of course, IT and all of our digital activity also has a CO2 footprint and we are looking into ‘greening’ our IT solutions as well: our digital transformation will both influence and be influenced by our CO2 Neutral objective.

Experts’ voice
René Deist
René Deist
Chief Information Officer
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Eric Fohlen Weill
Corporate communications director
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