[Digital Transformation Journey] Michelin

//[Digital Transformation Journey] Michelin

Digital transformation is and has been a priority topic on the agenda of Michelin Corporate & Business Services (CBS) for some time now. It impacts all our Service Lines, bringing challenges and successes that are sometimes extremely similar across the organization – and sometimes very different. To get a sense of what this change has meant at this very particular time, we have invited our colleagues from Finance, Personnel and Procurement to share their thoughts.

Sebastian Chiorean, Procurement Manager:

How did COVID-19 impact digital transformation of your company?

Digital was already a well-known term within our organization even before COVID-19, but this pandemic has changed the way many of us work. The major challenge encountered was that the daily human interactions, face to face meetings and workshops, were replaced suddenly by virtual meetings. Our concern was that the team cohesion might be affected. This has been a trigger in remodelling our teams’ mindset, in the sense that everyone felt the need to more connected – even if remotely, to speak about personal things more than before.What I feel that COVID-19 changed on our agenda is that we are moving towards a more accelerated digital transformation in daily operations and we see a constant need for adaptability, which will allow us to embrace change and the unexpected more quickly

Cristina Cojocaru, Personnel Manager:

What type of processes did you digitalise in the last 2 months?

In Service Personnel, when COVID-19 started, we adapted and managed to launch an automatic system for filing various employee documents. Part of this process was being done manually before this and it was a big pain point for the teams, because it meant a big, repetitive workload for them. So the team came with the idea to have a robot doing the filing and, with the support of our internal ISIT team we had the robot completed and ready to work in record time: 2 days.



Irina Biclea, Personnel Manager:

What helped you the most during this period? And why?

In Michelin CBS, with our Home-Office Policy, our teams used to work from home 2 or 3 days per week a long time before COVID-19. We already had a good way of working as a team, without facing each other every day. Lean management tools and rituals also helped a lot in managing the team performance in this new context.

What was the hardest thing to do? And why?

I think the most important thing during this situation was to maintain the good morale of the team, encourage them and give them a touch of positivity. Each person reacts in their own way and has their own needs that we, as managers, need to meet; this was all the more visible in this context.


Oana Voicu, Personnel Manager:

What was the hardest thing to do? And why?

For me, the hardest thing to do was to give feedback online. I was used to do this face to face, looking the person in the eye, listening not only to what they had to say verbally, but also paying attention to the    non-verbal cues. It was more difficult to do this at a distance, but feedback should be permanent, so we had to adapt.

What helped you the most during this period? And why?

Michelin management has been very agile since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We had regular meetings both with our line managers and with the top management, and we received detailed and clear information about what was happening. This made it easy for me, as a manager, to communicate with more ease to my own team and to have an answer for my colleagues’ questions. There were also online workshops on how to deal with emotions and how to understand what our team members are going through and how to approach the new situation.


Alexandra Ion, Business Support Expert Controlling:

Do you think COVID-19 is a turning point in digital transformation?

There’s that popular joke on the Internet (that you also used at the beginning of this series), about COVID-19, and not the CEO or CTO, being the driver of the digital transformation of companies. And for many companies, Covid-19 could very well have been the main force that prompted the acceleration of their digital transformation.

Fortunately, for Michelin and its Shared Service Center in Bucharest, the digital transformation had already started, so the pandemic did not catch us off-guard. Our employees could work from home for a few years now; so, the ISIT infrastructure was already adapted to provide proper conditions to work from home; also, employees were used to coming up with ideas to push more digital alternatives to paper. Business continuity plans were in place to mitigate the risk for the worst-case scenarios, and they were applied during the pandemic restrictions. Collaborative tools like Teams, Beekast helped us to be productive and to maintain the social bonding that usually erodes in a digital workplace. We even had workshops with participants from all over the world.

In the future, I think we’ll look back on this period as a real turning point in our way of working. Perhaps we can all agree that the lockdown lifted the remaining barriers to a deeper adoption of digital tools in most organizations. After COVID-19 we should continue to have digital transformation as a constant habit in our daily activity, when we come back to the office.

How did your colleagues adapt and embrace digital transformation during the lockdown?

People are very different, so each of them responded differently. The majority quickly embraced the schedule of working 5 days per week from home; they loved it, as they no longer wasted time commuting to work. For the new employees, who were in their onboarding period, it was a little more difficult, as they no longer had the possibility to be close to their mentor. But collaborative tools helped a lot in ensuring the high quality of our deliverables. The employees who were not very technical-savvy went through a learning curve of digitalization. In this transformation process, a turning point was their lean mindset, the empowerment and the team collaboration skills.