In 2023, Orange Business became Zozio’s partner

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In 2023, Orange Business became Zozio’s partner

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4.0 Interview 21.06.23

Cédéric Berg's winning strategy as Plant Manager at Vetrotech Saint-Gobain

Development - Digitalisation - Reliability: a plant manager's winning strategy

For the past five years, Cédéric Berg has been at the head of one of the five industrial sites of Vetrotech, a fire-resistant glass expert and a Saint-Gobain group’s subsidiary. Here’s a look back at the career of a plant manager who runs his business like an entrepreneur.

Cédéric Berg, Plant Manager in front of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain at Romont.

Vetrotech has been a top leading industrial company in the fire-resistant glass European and international market for 40 years. The glass made by Vetrotech Saint-Gobain is renowned for being bullet-proof, blast-proof and burglar-proof glass, mainly for public buildings.

400 to 500 fire resistance tests are carried out every year to ensure its reliability. Throughout its growth and development, Vetrotech has obtained numerous certifications – differentiated by country – to be able to supply glass that complies with fire safety standards in Europe.

Cédéric Berg, Director of the Vetrotech Saint-Gobain plant in Romont, sums up his career with the Saint-Gobain group’s glass division as follows: “I’ve been with the same company for 20 years, my colleagues are great and every day is different. That’s the beauty of the job.”

Graduated in microtechnology from the prestigious Swiss engineering school, EPFL, Cédéric Berg specialises in production techniques, and more specifically in the simulation and modelling of industrial production flows.

His day-to-day work as a plant manager comes with its everyday little worries, as he openly admits: “My teams are autonomous and committed. Problems arising in the field, outside the scope of their responsibilities, end up on my table, which then enables me to improve the quality of the system“, he describes.

He nevertheless is plenty happy for his position, which gives him the freedom to develop and implement his very own performance strategies: “I hope to be here for a few years. I hope to be here for a few years. With this job, you really get to decide on the company’s trajectory.”

Since his beginnings at Vetrotech, he involved himself in great projects:

  • Berne Vetrotech plant’s transfer to Romont,
  • The building of a new factory in India,
  • Technological standardisation,
  • Upgrading five international sites employees skills,
  • Romont’s plant digitalisation.

A 3 axis project: Development, digitalization, reliability

A career in the safety glass industry

Cédéric Berg worked his way up through Saint-Gobain’s careers for 20 years. From method engineer and technical manager in 2 GlasSolutions subsidiaries of the Saint-Gobain Group, he became industrial manager of the Vetrotech plants and in charge of technology transfers at eight sites on three continents. He then became plant manager and in charge of the digital transformation of the Swiss site of Vetrotech Romont in 2018 following the retirement of his mentor and previous manager.

Alongside him, he contributed in Romont’s growth and economic success. And the good results showed up. Enough to be proud when looking back at how far they’ve come together: “Our growth has been phenomenal” he enthuses.

In 2010, when the Berne’s city called for the Vetrotech factory to be relocated in favour of the construction of tertiary buildings, he became industrial manager in charge of moving the factory and technology transfers. The new site was to be settled in Romont.

To ensure that each new site is a success, a standardisation process is systematically applied to make production more reliable: “One of Vetrotech’s strengths is our standards. Our machines are identical at every site, as are most of our processes” he explains.

The new plant in Romont has become a pilot site:When a technology proves to work for us, it is quickly implemented everywhere!“. Between 2011 and 2012, he trained staff in England at a new Vetrotech site in India, which opened in April 2012. He was then nominated responsible for technical support until 2018. At the same time, he was involved in a great number of projects: “I was providing consecutive support at several sites at the same time. I did a bit of everything: optimising layouts, purchasing special machines, putting together investment files and transferring technologies. I did that for 7 years, until the director of Romont announced his retirement. He then asked me to take his place” he says.

A new chapter for the Romont plant

After twelve years within the company, Cédéric Berg has thus accepted the position of Managing Director of Romont’s plant. He is following in his predecessor’s footsteps and taking the opportunity to add his own personal touch, driven by his attraction for new technologies and his ambition to bring about the digital transformation of the plant.

The digital transformation of Vetrotech Saint-Gobain: a small revolution

Although the production methods are well established, there is only one stone missing: integrating innovative tools to improve the productivity of the industrial site. The plant manager admits that he was working for quite a long time with an outdated ERP system, in addition of Excel files. In 2019, this system is being updated with a new production management ERP with online production information and validation at all workstations: “A small revolution that opened the way to other tools and a multitude of possibilities“, he recalls.

Manual data feedback was then no longer necessary, thanks to the digitisation of production monitoring, which allows the director to make economies of scale: “a necessity in an environment where every cost counts“, he adds.

2019 will also see the roll-out of TRG (machine utilisation rate monitoring) to optimise productivity while reducing microstoppages. Then there are the PCSs, for digitising all the KPIs and quality and process controls in production to obtain more data for monitoring and decision-making.

And what about Zozio?

In 2020, the Romont plant decided to implement a tool to geolocate the easels on site in order to improve productivity – which was frequently at a low ebb due to the need to search for these trestles. This is where ROBIN comes in, the performance management and industrial production flow optimisation platform developed by Zozio.

For years we’ve been having problems finding our easels quickly. We have timed this daily search and found out that the operation of finding an easel and then pulling it towards a machine was particularly time-consuming. When you know where the easel is, it’s quicker. Our teams looked for several solutions, without success” explains the Romont manager. In the end, it was a Parisian employee who told Cédéric Berg about ROBIN in 2019, the first year of its market launch.

I realised that this was exactly what we needed. We decided what number of sensors we needed (beacons, tags, gateways, etc). The solution was presented in August, and by mid-November it was already settled in the plant” explains the director.

And then came the question of the return on investment. Is ROBIN cost-effective? Is it really helpful for the operating team? Is it really time-savy?

Zozio and Vetrotech Saint-Gobain

Interview of Cédéric Berg and his operating team (FR version only)

A tangible ROI with Zozio

In response to this question about ROI, Cédéric Berg provides some background: “Just over a year ago, we changed telephone operators. To operate the ROBIN solution, SIM cards are installed in the gateways, enabling us to transmit data between them and the beacons, as we are constrained by Saint-Gobain’s private on-site network. However, the SIM cards became obsolete as a result of the transfer. Suddenly, the information no longer showed the position of the easels. We realised that there was chaos in the field and that the operators didn’t know what to do. The SIM cards simply weren’t sending the data back! The conclusion was simple: the definition of a good innovation is when you forget about it and ask yourself how you did it before it was even being deployed. That was the case with Zozio” he says.

Based on the data collected, the director believes that ROBIN saves him one hour per day per operator, and can also produce 10 to 15% more safety glasses. With this time saved, the operators can involve time in other tasks, trainings on other machines and do more in terms of quality control.

He adds: “We no longer have to update our Excel tracking file and print out lists. We save over 10,000 printouts a month“.

Digital transformation and sustainable development

Because there can be no transformation towards Industry 4.0 without a special care for industrial activities consequences upon environment and humans, Vetrotech Saint-Gobain’s Plant Manager has taken these subjects into deeper consideration these last years In 2019, to support the plant’s first major digital revolution, a coach has been appointed to help all staff “get on and stay on the digitalization bus“. The aim is to strengthen operators’ confidence in the system and their commitment to providing good quality data.

The Director is also working on sustainable development projects, such as the biodiversity’s diversification around the plant. In 2021, a pedestrianised green space will be created around a watering hole, with a pleasant break area for employees and a few beehives nearby. It’s an improvement that will benefit daily life at the plant, and not just the employees: “Indeed, it is a private space, but the boundaries of the area are not necessarily immediately visible. School groups regularly pass through to observe the frogs, dragonflies and other insects. The fact that local people have taken ownership of the site is one of the successes of this project, and we’re delighted. We’ll keep going on like this and we’ll be installing photovoltaic pannels this summer” he concludes.


Many thanks to Cédéric Berg for his time and generous experience sharing!


More infos about Zozio:
Discover ROBIN, our SaaS: https://zozio/tech/en/#demo

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