New RDI Campus: the performance for sustainable mobility
Message from Jean-Dominique Senard Chief Executive Officer of the Michelin Group
The Michelin group’s innovation strategy: the choice of performance for sustainable mobility
At a time when MICHELIN is inaugurating its new RDI Campus, the Group’s Technology Center is, more than ever, at the heart of our Company. This heart is dedicated to serving MICHELIN’S ever-growing ability to meet its customers’ needs.
These customers, through their uses, are driving the digital revolution – a major change that is requiring all companies with growth ambitions to make adjustments. Consumers are more volatile and winning their loyalty means offering them, at an ever-faster pace, products that are truly useful and make a difference. A bonus is given to agile companies. Frontiers are disappearing and unexpected players are brutally shaking up wellinstalled companies. Digital technology is not a fashion; it’s a powerful force for transforming the economy. MICHELIN has chosen to actively incorporate this change into its operations,
rather than submit to it. This means transforming ourselves, rethinking our customer relationships, organizing ourselves more efficiently, and sharing major innovations more quickly across as many of our product lines as possible.
For MICHELIN, a visionary enterprise that has become a market leader thanks to its inventiveness and creativity, innovation – and not just digital innovation – remains the key to profitability as well as the prerequisite for its competitiveness and its ability to remain a market leader.
The first reason is realism. The digital revolution involves more than e-commerce, tablets or support for startups. It has deeply shaken relations with customers, who now hold the power and expect content that is richer in services, simplicity and above all who expect an integrated offering to serve its mobility needs. Modifying the market is possible in all business sectors because disruptive technologies are omnipresent and crosscutting. MICHELIN knows full well that the only way to resist is to embrace this new economy. Without even mentioning possible new comers, competition is already intense and requires us to move faster and to find new sources of value.
The second reason has to do with all the incredible opportunities that are provided by the proliferation of technology. MICHELIN has been committed to mobility for more than 125 years. For 70 years, it has been developing radial technology, the greatest tire-related innovation of the 20th century. Since the early 1990s, when green tires were invented, it has been a pioneer serving sustainable mobility. In recent years, it has gained additional advantage by developing the connected tire, while investing in startups around the world as well as in carsharing, hydrogen batteries and digital management of car fleets. Our goal is to develop an integrated offering of services for all types of mobility, uses and customers. Our strategy of acquiring an equity investment in companies offering new services in France, China and Brazil, for example, is in line with this objective.
The third is that technological innovation is a lever that serves both our values and our vision of mobility. Innovation is not an end in itself.
It is a prerequisite for progress and, for MICHELIN, a lever of change that we apply to serving our values, in order to capture our share of human progress and to maintain a long-term vision of transportation that is cleaner, safer, simpler and less costly. The circular economy and road safety nurture our R&D strategy every day. The postpetroleum world is being invented today and this new economic, technological and social space is a crucial challenge for a major tire producer.
That’s why MICHELIN made a commitment at COP21 to reduce the carbon footprint of its tires 20% by 2030. By intensifying our R&D efforts and methods further upstream, we can achieve this objective.
To give form to this vision of sustainable mobility, the Group’s innovation strategy is supporting several initiatives.
The first is open innovation. Our innovation communities are not limited to the Group’s Technology Centers, even if the latter represent our strategic hub, with a budget of nearly 700 million euros. Through our support for startups, research partnerships, joint ventures created with other large companies and contests open to our employees, we believe in the need to look elsewhere for ideas that will comprise our offering of tomorrow. Without this openness and without a creative ecosystem, even a large manufacturing company in a position of strength suffocates in the end.
This openness is expressed in the architecture of the new RDI Campus. On each of its ten work platforms, advanced research engineers, market and customer use experts and developers work together, ross-functionally and with a shared spirit of enthusiasm.
2016 is the year in which the various elements that the Group put in place – several decades ago for some of them and a few years ago for others – are energized, from governance, with the Corporate Innovation Board, to some 300 technological partnerships forged throughout the world. The initial results are promising, such as the CrossClimate, the first summer tire certified for winter use, for which design time was halved.
In this way, MICHELIN is acquiring the resources to remain the most innovative company in its industry, while fine-tuning an integrated mobility strategy, changing everything while remaining faithful to what we are: a solid, visionary, responsible enterprise with an outlook that is both global and local.
The inauguration of the RDI Campus gives the MICHELIN Group the resources to remain the most innovative company in its industry while serving sustainable mobility.
The second is sustainable performance. A tire’s performance is an incredibly complex equation that MICHELIN’s expertise knows how to resolve in order to offer just the right compromise as well as an incomparable driving experience. Tires are a high technology product and each one of their components involves hundreds of researchers, engineers and technicians, sometimes from non-tire-related fields.
Ours is a long-term vision that is committed to consumption, doubtless more demanding but one in which everyone comes out a winner.
While many companies focus on programmed obsolescence – meaning an ever-shorter life span for products – MICHELIN has chosen to focus on the programmed longevity of its tires, while also strengthening their safety performance. That’s what we mean by sustainable performance and what is expected of MICHELIN’s experts.