Factory for the Future Chair

A word from the Scientific Director

"Production methods are constantly evolving, and we have witnessed a marked acceleration in the last few years. After the gradual implementation of Lean Management measures, the issue today is the impact of digitalisation on the organisation and management modes of production units. This is a highly topical issue, both for Human Resources and Industrial managers, but one that has received no real academic response to date. 

 

The aim of this Chair is to provide answers to these new problems which are affecting the whole industrial sector, in France and worldwide. 

 

The challenges addressed by this Chair are perfectly in line with the DNA of ESCP Europe, a business school epitomised by its international outlook and its humanistic approach to management." 

 

Fabienne Fel, Associate Professor, ESCP Europe

Fabienne Fel, Associate Professor, ESCP Europe

Chair in Factory for the Future:
Human position in the digital age

This Chair will address the human and organisational management modes required to adapt to the acceleration in the development of production methods.  It will examine the related conditions and consequences.

Factory for the Future Chair

Origins: how did this Chair come about?

In 2014 the French government launched 34 schemes to boost the industrial sector in France. 

The “Factory of the Future” plan is one of these schemes, involving intelligent robots, connected objects, 3D printing, digital production, and more. Industry had not experienced such a sea-change in almost 50 years.

What will the factories of the future look like? Innovative? Efficient? Secure? Job-creating? The factories of tomorrow are being designed today. 

The Factory for the Future Chair is the result of a shared ambition to explore and anticipate the impact of these changes on the role of humans at work, and on organisational and managerial methods.

What does the partnership with the Michelin Corporate Foundation and Safran mean?

Safran and Michelin group have deployed new production methods in order to respond to market changes.
These transformations have revolutionised traditional organisational models and have made operators increasingly autonomous.  The growing digitalisation of production units has altered the human relationship with production and raises serious questions about management methods. 

What is the purpose of this Chair?

Against this backdrop, the Chair aims to enable Safran, Safran Aircraft Engines and Michelin group to contribute to strengthening knowledge and sharing practices in this field.
Attainment of these targets will require firstly internal analysis and benchmarking, followed by an examination of international best practices in terms of Human Resources management within empowering organisations.

The purpose of the Chair will be to:

  • Develop analyses and bolster knowledge on the subject via European benchmarking and case studies entrusted to students and researchers
  • Transmit this knowledge through publications and conferences
  • Contribute to the public debate on the conditions and impacts of new organisational methods in manufacturing

The Chair will revolve around a central theme: the impact of current upheavals in production methods on humans and organisations. 

Two major factors have led to these changes:
The first, historically speaking, is the set-up of empowering organisations in the framework of Lean Manufacturing. Production units which have adopted these methods, some for several years now, have already had to restructure their organisations, sometimes dramatically, in order to enable operators to work more autonomously than in the past. 
The second factor is the massive arrival of digital technologies in factories, radically altering the relationship between humans, products and production processes, and imposing new managerial and organisational modes. 

The combination and resulting mutual intensification of these two trends today raise the following questions for both Industrial and Human Resources Directors:

  • How do we engage operating teams in these changes?
  • What are the consequences on their work?
  • How do we measure what they expect, or possibly fear, from these upheavals?
  • How do we train and support them?
  • How do we define the necessary skills for recruitment? How do we develop these skills?
  • What is the new role of management? What new managerial skills need to be recruited and developed?
  • What are the drivers of long-term engagement from teams and managers in these new organisations?
  • How do we acknowledge and encourage individual engagement in order to serve the wider interest?

What are the research priorities?

Expected research activities on the theme of The Factory of the Future  

  • Research led by ESCP Europe professors and doctoral students, with support where appropriate from external specialists (associated researcher networks, calls for research projects)
  • The set-up of a "Best Practices" observatory to explore the themes under study.
  • Final theses by students on the chosen issues.
  • Company Projects by students in the International Business MBA.

 

Participation in public debate and internal and external dissemination of ideas:

  • Annual public conference and themed seminars
  • Drafting of a white paper on Best Practices
  • Awareness-raising among ESCP Europe students (teaching, research theses, Company Projects for students in the International Business MBA, learning expeditions to China with ESCP Europe professors, students and Safran and Michelin executives, etc.)