Faurecia optimises team collaboration and project management worldwide thanks to Sciforma solution

London, 17 november 2011 Sciforma, a world leader in project management solution development, announced today that the Interior Systems division of Faurecia, a key player in the automotive equipment market, is using its PSNext solution to manage their projects and optimise their use of resources worldwide.
Since 2009, the Interior Systems division, which has 21,000 contributors and accounts for 22% of Faurecia's turnover, has standardised all its projects and restructured its entire organisation around the developer's platform.

A Transformation Needed to Survive the Crisis and Maintain its Leadership Position over the Competition

The economic and financial crisis of autumn 2008 shook up the automotive sector in particular, which was already weakened by increasing globalisation. In order to survive this period of economic turmoil and adapt to changes in the sector, the Faurecia Interior Systems division (which designs and manufactures the entire vehicle interior, except for the seats) launched a programme to significantly improve project management and organisation.

"Faurecia's project teams, especially those in the Interior Systems division, are located in countries all over the world. The profound changes that have occurred to the automotive sector mean that, today, a car destined for the European market may well be designed on another continent, with all the consequences in terms of logistics and human resources that this entails. Until the crisis, we did not really have a solid, unified base that permitted us to really optimise cost, planning and resource management and cooperation between our teams all over the world. The need to purchase a project management tool had become obvious, so much so that the programme managers who head our activity had made it a strategic development objective," stated David Duval, Faurecia Senior Programme Manager in charge of the PSNext Project.

Faurecia studied the different products on the market and chose PSNext, the platform developed by Sciforma, and hired the services of the integrator ASI, which understood the solution perfectly, to support the changeover.

"We chose PSNext for several reasons, even if our main business driver was the time factor. We had to adapt quickly to our customers' new requirements because of the collapse of the market, which had accelerated with the 2008 economic crisis. Based on our order book, PSNext seemed to be the simplest and quickest solution to implement, as well as having the range of features and the flexibility needed for large-scale deployment and to ensure a high level of user satisfaction and adoption," added David Duval.

An Implementation in which the Users' Functional Needs Were Central

After a conclusive Proof-of-Concept carried out jointly by ASI and Sciforma, Faurecia then implemented PSNext in successive stages, gradually including new possible scenarios so as to personalise the tool to the needs of all its users. The division's top management closely monitored the progress of the project and made sure that the functional requirements were understood, since the well-being of the division depended on the success of PSNext and its acceptance by the final users. The programme managers also insisted that PSNext be deployed by the existing operators (this was not a decision made only by the IT service), so as to ensure the success of the operation.

"The ASI team's strength was knowing how to put themselves in the place of the final user. The internal processes were well assimilated thanks to a large number of workshops that we put in place. They allowed the integrator to understand all our internal needs and to improve collaboration and synchronisation between Faurecia's human resources, whatever their geographical location. The perfect correlation between the understanding of our needs, the skills of the integrator and the performance of the tool was probably one of the main factors in the success of the project," concluded David Duval.

After the POC, training on the tool began for the first teams in July 2009. The project really started three months later and ended in February 2010, with the delivery of the final version. A two to three month pilot test phase followed, with a pilot project in each region of the world, which permitted the on-going integration of the comments and changes suggested by the teams around the world that reflected their different work habits. There was still difficulty in integrating the system while keeping within a worldwide, standardised framework, with a need to reinforce the overall company culture, an indispensable element in the smooth running of an essentially multi-cultural structure like Faurecia's. PSNext was fully functional as of July 2010 and today it has more than 1,500 users who have been trained internally by the Faurecia Interior Systems division.

Necessary Change Management Carried Out in Perfect Harmony with Top Management

Obviously, a project of this scope had to include a change management policy that was implemented at all stages under the watchful eyes of top management. Most users, who only "planned" their work using an Excel spreadsheet, were satisfied to see a simple, effective tool that allowed them to organise their daily tasks. The change was managed by a pilot committee that included the ISD Group and the division's Vice-President of Programmes. The committee was in contact with the key users on the ground (1 per region) so as to have effective communication regarding the progress of the project in the various geographical areas and to pass on any possible problems.

"The project is now supervised by a team of four people, assisted by several on-site contacts who preach the good word at the local level and report any possible needs in one region or another to us. PSNext is always supervised in Europe and the integration of functional expectations into the tool is always a priority one year after the project has become the standard tool of the business unit, " added Laurent Labbe, PSNext solution administrator, in charge of the continuing improvement of the software at Faurecia Interior Systems.

Several modules of PSNext are used today: planning, collaboration, reporting, management and resource planning functionality, plus conflict management. Now, a conflict that is not entered into the tool has no real existence within the structure. PSNext has also made it possible to modernise the existing project management processes while making them clearer by implementing their methodological scope directly in the tool. Planning the hours spent on each project in the world is currently being integrated.

Tangible Benefits in Terms of Organisation, Responsiveness and Transparency

The integration of PSNext into Faurecia Interior Systems is a success. A growing number of users are using the tool naturally and systematically. Its value-added in terms of standardisation, coordination, collaboration and the centralisation of important information is now obvious to the great majority of them. Conflict management is also a much appreciated internal tool as it makes it easy to pass on problems to the division's management. Apart from the benefits for the staff, the whole Interior Systems business unit benefits from PSNext.

"Faurecia has come out of the crisis well; it has been able to land several big new contracts in 2010, and PSNext has contributed to this. Thanks to the Sciforma tool and its fit with our needs, we are more responsive and flexible when faced with a customer who announces the launch of a new model. The managers can read the possible concerns of their teams better. Budgets are more transparent and it is much simpler to understand the distribution of the teams at the different sites so as to attend better to the expectations of our customers. PSNext has made it possible to modernise the way that Faurecia looks at a business opportunity and a customer project by making the division more responsive, despite its considerable size," added Laurent Labbe.

Even if there is still support work to be done with the operators so as to make planning an individual and collective reflex, the Faurecia Interior Systems division would have difficulty in being fully functional today without a tool like PSNext. Version 4.0, presented for the first time in Spring 2011 (and christened Sciforma 4.0) has also attracted Faurecia's attention as it includes the functionality wanted by the final users, plus extensions of the tools already used by the final users.

The solution is still new at the group level (it has been in production a little over a year) but the very positive results obtained by the Interior Systems division have awakened the interest of three other Groupe Faurecia business units. Several internal presentations have been made to the management of other organisations to show the advantages of using PSNext and at the end of the current cycles (a cycle is 2 to 3 years, the time a car is on the market), they will also look at adopting the Sciforma solution.

About Faurecia

Faurecia is the world's 6th largest automotive supplier, which specializes in four key business groups: automotive seating, emissions control technologies, interior systems and automotive exteriors. In 2010, the Group had a turnover of 13.8 billion euros. It employs 75,000 people in 33 countries at 238 sites and 38 R&D centres. Faurecia is quoted on the NYSE Euronext market in Paris.
To find out more: www.faurecia.fr