Thoughts on Efficiency, Schneider’s Meaningful Purpose and Diversity & Inclusion: Key to Drive Digital Transformation

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I’m sure many would agree with me that a current hot topic in the industry is ‘energy efficiency’. The reasons behind this excitement from the business world is simple; using less energy helps reduce operational costs, as well as supports efforts to restore the health of local environments, making it a profitable and popular decision. Further, being more efficient positively impacts financial performance, an important motivator for multinational companies, who regularly seek out professional energy management consultants to improve and promote their energy efficiency. At Schneider Electric, we know this well as a specialist in the field of energy management for more than 180 years.

The world today does not need additional energy. Rather than focusing on generating new energy, we should create alternatives that can make more efficient use of our current energy supply. So far, Schneider Electric has been engaged in energy management activities with many companies around the world. What’s more, we’ve been actively involved in the development of smart-city projects. Our hope is that many more cities will become “smart” to extend energy efficiency and energy management out beyond our enterprises and into the family home.

As the global expert in the field of energy management, our purpose expresses our vision. We say ‘Life Is On’. For us it literally means that our innovations help people to live richer lives, at any time, all over the world. For example, enabling smart and energy efficient power networks across a whole country, will mean that access to affordable lighting and heating in their homes is a reality – this meaningful purpose of what we do drives us.

Additionally, we are seeing a drastic shift in the future of energy. This change is being brought about by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and it’s sketching a rosy picture for the years to come. With IIoT we are seeing a fundamental change to production models of old in a shift that many analysts are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Since the 1990s, Schneider has been developing IIoT-enabled technology. In 1997, we deployed our first IIoT-based product in the form of software that connected Ethernet communication to hardware and machinery. This was the birth of the concept of the ‘transparent factory’. Today, the importance of IIoT is growing at an astronomical rate. Schneider Electric’s technology has evolved with the times to play a big role in this coming industrial digitization. Our technology has been instrumental in the connection of products, systems, hardware, machines and the cloud. But at the heart of this change have our people. We believe that developing breakthroughs are an inherent human ability that should be fostered carefully. It’s something that’s part of our DNA and for this reason, we cultivate talented people to challenge to status quo.  This way we can simultaneously develop their professional abilities and ensure that at the core of this people transformation, as well as technology, we move forward.

Intrinsic to our continued success is the diversity and inclusion of our people and therefore thinking. The basic principle is to recognize the characteristics of our unique people, we embrace all backgrounds and experiences, with a high-performance expectation in all that we do. Our diverse teams work together with a meaningful purpose in over 100 countries. This collaboration mindset naturally leads to new innovations and fresh ideas.

Our Diversity and Inclusion objectives are ambitious and transparent – in recent times focusing on gender equality. Specifically, Schneider Electric has made three commitments as a HeForShe Impact Corporate Champion. First, we have committed to implement a global salary equity review process that covers over 85% of our workforce.  As of the end of 2017, we have met this goal but more importantly, through this process, we are implementing actions for addressing pay equity gaps. Second, we plan to steadily expand the proportion of female employees within the company. We plan to increase the proportion of women by ensuring 40% of new hires are women and increasing representation of women in our top leadership to 30%. As of April 2017, Schneider Electric’s board consisted of 42% female executives. Lastly, we have a dedicated executive level Diversity & Inclusion board that focuses on D&I strategy and our gender equality policy.  The board is evenly balanced with 9 female leaders. In addition, more than 40 CEOs of Schneider Electric corporations worked hard to strengthen the authority of female executives and employees by pledging to strengthen women’s power as developed by the UN Women’s Organization and the UN Global Compact. The leaders who signed this pledge consisted of more than 90% of the entire group, demonstrating a progressive shift within the organization.

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  • I would love to do online training with you guys

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