We discussed with Mauricio Manzano-Podversich – Director Shared Services at Michelin about innovation at Michelin. We invite you to read the article below. Have a good read!
Michelin exists because of and for innovation. The radial tire, the first energy saving tire among other innovations were all break-through products. Our new Uptis prototype is undeniably an innovation towards a tire with zero environmental impact. Michelin is a global R&D powerhouse, researching sustainable mobility on three continents. It has filed more than 10000 patents and has launched new products and services “around the tire”: maps, guides, digital travel support and restaurant bookings. From a “tire company”, Michelin has become a “mobility solutions company”, investing in new ways to use its expertise.
Michelin is embedding innovation into the core of its business through the InnovaGo platform, by using the Michelin Way (Lean / Agile methodology), increasing digitalization and adjusting its talent strategy.
InnovaGo (the platform for innovation) has been active for more than 80 years. It encourages a culture of innovation on all levels, including grass-root initiatives; through it we leverage our industrial knowledge and transpose it into our SSC. The teams create projects to improve their work – only in the first months of 2019, 41 innovative initiatives have been put into practice in the SSC in Bucharest, with a positive impact, from increasing efficiency of operations to improving our customers experience which is visible on the CES score.
The Michelin Way (Lean Methodology) is the best complement to our strategic priority of empowering our people. Innovation is most relevant and most likely to happen if the decision is brought as close to the teams as possible. To do so, we needed the right tools to allow our people to work effectively. Lean is this tool, and visual management in Michelin’s SSC is key, because teams need to see where the problem lies, to fix it.
We deploy new digital tools to support our operations and internal HR processes. The first RPA project was implemented in Michelin SSC in 2016; since then, we have added several RPAs, chatbots, we make full use of the Office 365 functionalities to improve the way we work, increase efficiency and connectivity.
We have automations in all our departments; they speed up our activity, raise efficiency and free our workforce from repetitive tasks, to focus on value-added services. Robots help our customer-facing employees to deal with credit limits or increase the accuracy of our invoicing, so we can serve our customers better. Robots process internal control verifications where we need to compile information from many sources. We use automation for personnel, where chatbots help our employees find an answer for their questions. For some of these automations we use products developed by Romanian companies.
There are two major innovations that I would also like to mention for their impactful results. One is the Customer Rooms, the other one is our Culture of Service.
With Customer Rooms, we’re bringing empowered teams from the business and the SSC to effectively address our customers’ issues. The approach is successful because it solves issues from a grassroot level, instead of using a top-down optic.
The Culture of Service is an approach that was launched in Michelin GBS, then adopted in our SSC in Bucharest. It focuses on the attitudes that create a good experience for customers, suppliers and employees and it reframes the way our employees connect to their stakeholders, to offer a better experience. Results are already visible in our improved NPS scores.
All the steps we’re taking to foster innovation are reflected in our people strategies. We’re giving our employees access to the information they need to feel empowered. We’re innovating our HR processes, showing full transparency about key information like the median salaries on the market or about future career opportunities inside Michelin. Empowerment also means that our employees are the drivers of their career and they have a direct say in what happens to their workplace like with our Flex Desk and Home Office Programs.
Talent is the challenge: technology is arriving at a very fast speed – faster than the businesses capacity to reskill. New jobs, new skills, new know-how are still limited in the market and the major global challenge will be the reskilling of our personnel. Some of the skills required by the digital revolution (like emotional intelligence or technical skills) are not taught in the main stream education yet and this creates a gap that companies need to fill.
When the tasks are automated, what is left is the human dimension; we need to perfect the human touch. And Michelin will play a key role in the transformation of tomorrow.