Tuesday afternoon, 2 p.m. We’re speaking with Jacqueline Frenette, vice-president of VPL Glass & Aluminum (previously known as Vitrerie P. Latreille), through the familiar frame of a Zoom window. She is telling us about the company’s history and its process of going through an Industry 4.0 Audit.
This discussion almost seems like a small break in an otherwise very busy day for Ms. Frenette. She starts, “I can tell you a little bit about how we realized the importance of…” The interview barely started, a colleague is signalling to her that a very important call from the US has come in. Her break didn’t last very long! Business never rests for this manager.
She comes back after a moment and picks up our interview right where we left off:
“First, when we were talking about Industry 4.0, to me it was like an extra ‘oomph’ to market our business. But it didn’t really mean anything else. Then I went to an introductory training session given by the MEI and that helped me understand that we are really running behind with process digitization in Quebec. [The audit] allowed us to take a picture of the current state [of our company] and figure out where we wanted to go.”
The photographers taking said picture were Alan Bernardi and Véronique Nabelsi, two accredited Industry 4.0 auditors at Cilex.
We offer two types of support for the Industry 4.0 Audit at Cilex: we can coach organizations through their own audit process, and we can also conduct the audit in itself thanks to our team’s four accredited auditors recognized by the MEI, Quebec’s ministry of economy and innovation. VPL Glass & Aluminum chose the second option and that’s when Alan and Véronique stepped in.
“It’s much more a kind of diagnosis than it is an evaluation,” Alan Bernardi explains when talking about the Industry 4.0 Audit. “In an audit, there’s a standard to follow. You look around and make sure the company is following that standard. For example, an accountant who checks that accounting standards are met. In our case, there is no standard. It’s not ‘pass or fail,’ it’s much more of a diagnosis.”
In the end, the full process of an Industry 4.0 Audit can take over 150 hours. It requires an important investment from the company, whether in work time or in financial resources, and that’s even if government credit [in French] is obtained to cover part of the fees. The audit is not relevant for all businesses and it’s important to use the ADN 4.0 digital self-diagnosis tool [in French] before diving further into the process.
According to Ms. Frenette, Cilex’s coaching made all the difference:
“Alan and Véronique helped us become aware of where we were and design a game plan to reach our objectives. I loved working with these two! They guided us. They understand that, as leaders, we’re not necessarily knowledgeable in everything.”
Following VPL Glass & Aluminum’s audit, Alan and Véronique’s coaching was assessed by the MEI. We are extremely proud to announce that their work for this project received a perfect score!
The First Step of an Ambitious Journey
Ms. Frenette sees this audit as phase 1 of a much more ambitious project:
“In the end, why did we want to do this? Because we want to ensure the company’s longevity, and because we really want our manufacturing processes to be the best they can. And we understand that with the current labour shortage we must find consolidated ways to work.”
In phase 2, VPL Glass & Aluminum team members will establish a prioritization plan for their desired business improvements. They will then work on implementing as much innovation as possible to ensure a prosperous future for the company.
One thing is certain, during our talk with Ms. Frenette we felt her overwhelming pride in her company and her team members. An Industry 4.0 Audit is not something you can do without the full collaboration and open-mindedness of the leaders and employees of an organization. Working together is an important key to the audit’s success, and VPL Glass & Aluminum definitely had that key in hand!
Are you interested in the Industry 4.0 Audit? Are you wondering whether it’s suitable for your organization? Get in touch with us and we will be happy to coach you through it!