While supporting the Jaguar Land Rover Global Supplier Integration event in February, we took the opportunity to interview four industry experts. Our aim was to understand their main business challenge for 2017 and share with you how they each plan on overcoming that challenge. We also wanted to know what advancing technologies they are planning to invest most in across 2017 and why. In addition, we covered topics such as investment across the automotive industry, innovation and the current climate.
Interview 3: Daniel Ježek, Global Project Leader at Saint Gobain.
Please can you tell us about your role at Saint Gobain?
I have worked with Saint Gobain for more than 11 years now. I am the global project leader, responsible for all the projects related to JLR. I am also the advanced engineering manager responsible for the JLR projects, which means that I am participating in the RFQ stage and preparing offers together with the commercial team. I am also the international project leader, which means that I am responsible for all the projects inside Saint Gobain.
What do you see as your biggest business challenge in 2017 and how are you planning to overcome it?
Our main challenge is to still be one of the main suppliers for OEMs, which means that we need to develop new products to meet the OEM’s requirements.
So this means that the main challenges are the complex shapes, especially for windscreens, because the OEMs and the end customers like the light openings; so big sunroofs or the canopies and the panoramic windscreens.
This is something that we need to develop, or continue to develop such things.
As leading innovators, what does it take to stay innovative?
Of course it takes a lot of resources, because you need a lot of resources you then need to invest money into these resources, man power and so on, to be in front of your competitors.
Many companies call themselves innovative, but what does innovation truly mean?
Innovation, I think, means something different for everyone.
You can have someone saying that if I change this-to-this it’s innovation, but in fact that isn’t real innovation.
You can imagine companies from Silicon Valley they are regularly at the forefront of innovation, especially within IT, so everyone understood that this is an innovative company. In our business, if you look at Saint Gobain, we try to still be a step ahead of the competition and we like to see what will happen tomorrow.
We like to develop new kinds of windscreens or a new technology way before the end customers will require it, so it’s not only valid for Sekurit glazing but for the whole Saint Gobain group. We are investing in developing some new technologies and new products for the future.