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From VIE to Digital Leader: What I Learned Along the Way

I started my career at Schneider Electric in 2020 as a VIE contract, working on a digital transformation project in Germany! Before moving abroad, I spent two months training in Grenoble to gain a better understanding of the project. Before I knew it, I was leaving for Lahr to work in the local plant, to help them on their digital journey.

My project enabled me to meet so many people in the factory and the company. Being on a VIE contract, I had no administrative or accommodation problems as Schneider managed everything. This was a huge plus!

What does Digital Transformation look like in a plant?

At Schneider Electric, digital transformation in plants is about deploying standard tools that are useful to support processes & traceability. However, depending on the needs of each plant, we’re also working on implementing new solutions. I was working on the deployment of a new software that launches, follows, and closes manufacturing orders in production. This software might become a standard tool deployed in all our factories in the years to come. For this project, I had to work with various teams. From the developer team but also the production line team or the quality team.

When deploying this kind of tool, we need to be sure that we understand all the operational requirements. That’s why we spend time collecting information from the field teams and we make sure technical specifications meet the needs. What’s truly important is to minimize potential overlap and unnecessary duplication of effort. We want to ensure line operators won’t have to repeat the same action twice because we implemented a new software.

I learn a lot during this project. First, I had to understand the plant’s process, identify improvement needs and then, ensuring that the software was fitting the demands. It was particularly complex as we have a lot of variables to consider. The amount of data managed by the software is huge and we must take into account all the cybersecurity rules while deploying the tool.

Seizing new opportunity in Digital Transformation

At the end of my first year, a new opportunity came up for me with Schneider. I moved from my VIE contract and into my current permanent position as a digital transformation engineer in Lahr!

I oversee the implementation of new digital tools in the factory, I choose them and lead all steps of their deployment. This includes the planning, training sessions, and communication. It’s a very broad and very interesting mission!

Digital transformation engineer positions in factories are recent, and we have a lot of interactions with different teams including external people. In this context, I had the chance to go to Paris to meet other digital leaders but also to Carros (France) to discover how their factory is operating.

The life in Lahr Plant

I arrived in Germany after two years in Spain and I’m happy to say that I’ve found my feet in my department and within the factory. The atmosphere is pleasant, and I’ve even kept little habits that are not very German like coffee breaks and after work sessions with German and French colleagues!

My colleagues help me out with the presentations that have to be carried out in German, but I’m proud to say that I am more and more able to understand and participate in meetings that are conducted in this language. I have special German lesson trainings paid by Schneider that are hybrid e-learning and one to one, which I think is a very good method to progress!

Another positive point that counts a lot for me is that the company is committed and respects its sustainable commitments. Schneider Electric has even developed an internal platform that allows employees to volunteer their time for social or ecological causes during working hours.

I am happy to have a job where I am independent in managing my tasks, priorities and choice of tools but where I have a lot of support whenever I need it!

Are you interested in a career at Schneider Electric? Check out www.se.com/careers for more information and for available positions to take your career journey to the next level.

About the Author

Dorine Normand is originally from Grenoble (France) and she’s currently working as a digital engineer in Germany. She joined Schneider for a VIE after she graduated with a mechanical engineering degree. She’s now in charge of the deployment of new digital solutions in Lahr factory.

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