Major changes afoot in the Industrial engineering field
To help Safran perform more competitively in its markets, the “industrial methods” function is evolving and has been renamed “industrial engineering”, reflecting its key role in the Group’s future.
Frédéric Bochu, Safran Vice President for Industrial Engineering, is tasked with coordinating this transformation. “Safran is increasing production rates quite rapidly on a number of programs,” he says. “To keep up the pace while staying competitive, we need to ‘get it right the first time’ — in other words, improve our industrial performance.” One function is especially well placed to meet this challenge — industrial engineering, or what used to be called industrial methods. “It’s one of the broadest functions in terms of interaction with the product,” explains Frédéric. “It’s involved from the product design phase, determines the industrial resources needed to move to production, and then provides support for production through to the end of the product lifecycle.”
Better product/process interactions for top industrial robustness
The new name reflects a number of changes. The first is industrial engineering’s strategically important role in optimizing the interactions between products and the processes behind them. “80% of industrial robustness is achieved at the design phase,” continues Frédéric. “So, we need to work even more effectively with the design offices to ensure optimal manufacturability at the earliest age, taking account of quality, cost, time and safety constraints.” Secondly, it reflects the central role played by new technologies — such as process and workflow simulation, virtual and augmented reality, robots and automation — in line with the Group’s Factory of the Future initiative. And thirdly, there’s the newly created role of industrial system architect, which didn’t exist within the industrial methods function. “Industrial operations are a complex ecosystem, so you need a broad overview in order to drive overall improvements. That’s the role of this new function.”
Leadership and listening
To play their role to the full, future industrial system architects will need a good grasp of process control and manufacturing, as well as new technologies. They must be able to coordinate a whole host of internal contributors and outside suppliers to improve performance. And they’ll also have to be very open-minded and know how to listen so they can question how we do things and capture good ideas.
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