Cosmo Consult France supports the MICHELIN Group in its international digital transformation, more specifically the commercial agencies distributing its products and services in high growth countries.
Philippe GIRARDIN, Manager of the OPE Program (Optimization of Process and Experience) and his team shared their feedback on this very cosmopolitan collaboration.
The interview focuses on the Whys and Hows:
Our OPE Program has been considered from 2010 to meet the need for standardization of all IT systems:
Our industrial company has been built at different speeds, according to its markets, to its manufacturing needs, to its acquisitions and expanding from France in Europe, in the United-States, in North and South America, in Asia…
We have been given priority to the factories, our great pride, which sell their products via local commercial agencies.
However, the competitive pressure on our markets, especially in North America and in Europe which represent 70% of the Group’s turnover brought us to rethink our digital organization, finding that:
Before reaching the mature version of the OPE program as we know it today, we asked ourselves many questions:
As a first step, we did addition to Oracle of the Order-to-Cash functionality in the business growth areas where our factories are located.
These new functions allowed us to manage the inventory of the manufacturing part from the upstream process to the customers.
Then we implemented Oracle in Europe and North America with a common data base for the reporting and invoicing (the physical flows have been verticalized).
With this strategy, we had set aside the commercial agencies. We were still considering them as satellites.
But we have changed this mindset and therefore we have decided to:
In April 2018 – in a steering committee with the MICHELIN CFO, the supply chain experts and all the operational business unit managers – we concluded that we needed to equip the commercial agencies with another system than Oracle:
It was the experience of the agency in Peru where Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central was quickly and successfully deployed that guided us towards a Microsoft ERP solution.
However, the choice was not obvious for us as we were struggling to understand the differences between Business Central and Oracle. But these solutions cannot be compared
We have realized that Microsoft Dynamics Business Central ERP brings:
We have therefore opted to deploy this solution in 15 countries. To keep costs down, we asked for respecting the standard of Business Central, without any customization and with as few interfaces as possible.
"This ERP Microsoft solution is very efficient"
We have added a lot of functionalities to the initial solution. Our requirements have evolved and so has the project. But throughout the Group, we are very happy with this solution. The agencies are also very satisfied. It is a very intuitive tool, easy to use, which speeds up and facilitates day-to-day operations.
Do we want to keep the exclusivity of what has been developed for MICHELIN and has enhanced Microsoft BC solution? The answer is no. It does not make sense for MICHELIN, as a societal responsible company.
For its human centric mindset and its international and cosmopolitan dimension. We had to trust the consultants. Our choice has been driven by the affects: there have been commitment and a sincere act of faith at COSMO CONSULT.
On these criteria, COSMO CONSULT which already knew Michelin well with its specific corporate culture (COSMO CONSULT FRANCE was our integrator ERP in Peru) was the best. Even, its CEO Uwe Bergmann took the time to talk to us.
Our requirement level continues to grow, and COSMO CONSULT France is dealing with it. We want the most knowledgeable consultants, with experience in the countries where we deploy, and the required humility regarding local customs and habits. Feelings matter and are considered. We want consultants with a good mindset and a good attitude as well. We want them to feel comfortable with MICHELIN’s No.2, as well as with local end users, and be able to represent the Group with us, and to be part of a commando team that goes out into the field.
At MICHELIN, those we indeed name “junior consultants” are qualified consultants, but we have to coach them on how to integrate culturally one of our projects, while so-called senior consultants have already been coached. We train them to change management, they bring us their technical expertise as Microsoft Business Central integrator and, in doing so, they know how to tell a story around the solution, with passion. In the field, MICHELIN operates only driven by the Why and the How to present its business with its own specific language, refraining to use the one of the Microsoft solution.
Thus, we are real partners. We think it is the duty of a large company to make the smaller ones grow and to support them. This way, we keep the best resources.
"Be speed but at the right speed"
The deployment process of the ERP solution is moving at the right speed, whether in Vietnam, Korea, Chile…
We think it is better to have a less strong team but an homogeneous one, where everyone is integrated and successful. Better than star-leaders doing everything, with followers who don’t feel being a part of success. All over the world, in our company, we play the team, not the ball, we bet on people’s strengths, not on their weaknesses and we accept the coach’s decisions. We know that our people will forget when and how long it took to launch Go Live but will remember what they build together.
Now, the most important is that everyone feels comfortable in his job, his role and responsibilities and has the right tool and support on time. This is crucial for us. Our operational staff is curious, resourceful, and communicative... We simply must create the right conditions by first selecting the right people, then finding the right place for them. We must tell what we expect of them, why they are or are not playing this game to build the winning team of the day. Once the consultants leave, we give them the means to deal with specific situation, to know who to call. In short, we want them to be independent, to experience the project with all their humanity, with their qualities and imperfections. This is what we call “Change”. And today, I see people smile.
This does not mean we are slow. We voluntarily carried out our first two deployments of the ERP solution quickly, to show within the Group that the choices we made were the right ones for the commercial agencies. Slowness does not guarantee efficiency. Sometimes it contributes to diluting energy.
Finally, it is important to communicate at the right time. In a complex Group like ours, it is not good to communicate too early, when nothing is ready to start. Otherwise it can be very costly.
Moreover, we drive the project by the Why and not by the ERP technology. We would like to highlight it because it is unusual in IT deployment projects. We are lucky to be supported by COSMO CONSULT who understood very early on that to be best in the digital transformation, it was necessary to decompartmentalize the technique from the functional, with the most holistic view possible.
In Vietnam, it is now recognized, that thanks to the Why, people understand what they are doing and are not just users.
Putting the Why into perspective, giving meaning, is done through training, but not only. That would be too reductive. The role of the manager is also to be challenged. This challenge can even be greater in countries used to a hierarchical system. But we want to empower the user. The one who does is the one who knows. The role of the manager is to give the means to succeed, to be a facilitator. To listen, to help. To enable users to find by themselves the solutions they need.
At the result:
“You are coming to Chile to explain to your peer how you have transformed Colombia”
“It's in projects like this that we create the future generations of MICHELIN”
We need a strong sponsor to run our OPE program locally. We therefore must find which agencies have one. The agencies directors who have proved themselves on this mission will have a good chance of one day being integrated into the Group's board.
Interviewed conducted on January 29, 2020 in the Paris offices of COSMO CONSULT France and edited by Virginie Poujol. You can also watch a complementary video interview of Philippe GIRARDIN, made by our partner Microsoft.