Michelin tire factory in Olsztyn produces over 10 million tires a year. How is it possible that, at the same time, it excels in the implementation of ecological projects?

The example of our factory proves that it is possible to reconcile the environmental responsibility with modern management. We are consistent in implementing ecological projects because environment protection is our priority. We are successful because we place importance on sustainability and, at the same time, on competitiveness, digitization and employee autonomy.
Back to ecological projects, we have many achievements to report here. For example, thanks to our environmental investments our factory managed to reduce water usage by half.
One of our most ambitious project is the planned launch of the new energy source, compatible with the future, more restrictive European environmental protection standards. Environmentally friendly gas heating plant at the factory will reduce, and in the future eliminate, existing carbon energy sources. The project will be implemented in several stages. Stage one is a construction of a gas heating plant, which will start operating from the end of this year. A gas pipeline will also be built in the factory. We are planning to switch to gas heating completely by the year 2030, but we hope to complete the project earlier.

The recent press reports say that Michelin factory in Olsztyn uses intermodal transportation and replaces its fleet with electric cars.

Indeed, starting October we are implementing new, ecological solution for the transportation of tires produced in our factory. It is a combination of rail and road transport, which means the tires manufactured at the factory are transported by trucks loaded on trains. This solution is a big challenge from the logistic point of view, but we take it up because it contributes towards the significant reduction of exhaust emissions
Electromobility is a part of our environmental strategy, hence our decision to replace the internal transport fleet with electric cars. We start this process with the purchase of two Renault ZOEs equipped with special tires for electric vehicles – MICHELIN ENERGY E-V that are responsible for 30% of energy used by electric vehicles. Several electric car charging stations will be built at the factory. More electric cars will come to the factory later this year.

You mentioned that the factory focuses on competitiveness and digitization. What does in mean in practice, how are these goals realized?

Business success on an increasingly demanding market requires focusing on competitiveness, which I understand as being ahead of competitors in terms of quality offered to customers and the production of technologically advanced products, while maintaining optimal costs. On top of that, in the case of the factory, there is excelling at timeliness, reactivity and flexibility. Competitiveness requires constant implementation of innovative solutions, hence our involvement in digitization.

For us, the essence of competitiveness is to support processes, increase reactivity and support employees by giving them information that have direct impact on their decision making process. By supporting the communication between facilities and people, digitization may improve the quality of work in a variety of positions.

We also attach importance to robotics. We already have many fully automated machines, and we keep introducing new robots in order to improve or eliminate heavy processes. By the middle of the next year we will double the number of robots to around 20. I would like to stress the fact, that no machine can replace a man and his abilities. Robots are there simply to relieve employees of the heaviest, tedious and repetitive activities.

Since the man is, and will continue to be, the most important part, please tell us more about the role of already mentioned autonomy in management.

Implementation of employee autonomy required the change in thinking and approach to management. We focused on team work and autonomy. In our opinion it leads to self-development of teams, which in effect set the tasks for themselves. They don’t need constant supervision because employees are proactive. One can invest in technological solutions, but without competent and dedicated employees no company can succeed.