Sustainable and Humane Digital Transformation w/ Jonathan Théry

In this episode we will be talking with Jonathan Théry at Salomon about digital transformation, emotional intelligence, and sustainability.

Jonathan Théry Share PLM Podcast

Jonathan Théry is currently the Footwear Business Process Intelligence Manager at Salomon, the famous french sporting goods company.

Jonathan has been with Salomon for over 8 years. He has been involved in many projects, such as the digital process architecture from design to the consumer, as well as data governance, footwear R&D, and the sustainability index integration into the PLM system.

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Key Takeaways

  • Jonathan’s new role as Footwear Business Process Intelligence Manager was created just before the COVID crisis started and specifically for him. This role entails looking after different types of intelligence within the company.

  • These are the different types of intelligence:

    • Digital intelligence: How the company uses the power of tools to make the most of them.
    • Emotional intelligence: How to express the needs of the company in a way that people can understand.
    • Environmental intelligence: Ensuring the company knows its impact on the planet when they are creating, developing, or designing new products.
  • Combined all these aspects support and enhance Salomon’s collective intelligence.

  • Salomon saw the need to create such a role after realizing that for a company that has the motto, “Time to play,” they were seeing their people working more in Excel files, sending emails, and creating reports than doing their jobs.

  • The goal of this position is to create an interface for their people to help them and to break silos. It also aims to improve people’s happiness at work, and make them feel that they are still learning new things.

  • They realized they needed to start their digital transformation journey when they asked themselves the following questions:

    • What will happen in 10-15 years from now if we don’t start changing now?
    • How do we think our children would work if they were Salomon employees in 10-15 years?
    • Would we want them to be working the same way we do now?
  • Salomon’s mission is to grow sustainably and have a human digital transformation, while respecting their heritage. They are thriving to enable the emergence of a new generation of digital shoemakers.

  • Many people still believe digital transformation is as simple as using an iPhone. However, it’s not the finger on the smartphone’s screen that is making the things move. It requires energy, an architecture, infrastructure and so on. And all of that can cost a lot. Sometimes even more than the physical product itself.

  • Jonathan makes sure he explains clearly to Salomon’s employees that the creativity and intuitive knowledge that goes into making shoes cannot be done by robots or any technology. 

  • Robots and digital tools will only support the way they create and deliver products together with data and experiences.

  • Jonathan put their PLM system in the forefront of digital transformation. He believes that PLM is the backbone of all systems related to product creation. That’s why he invests a lot of time and energy in trying to educate employees on what a PLM system is. They recently created an onboarding course to help with this training.

  • Salomon’s digital transformation objective is to meet their business goal together with their sustainability target, while still maintaining a good work environment.

  • Jonathan believes that digital tools should enable employees to spend more time being creative, sharing ideas with their colleagues, and knowing their impact.

  • Salomon wants to shift from being a provider of employment to being an enabler of employability, adding skills to everyone’s resumes. They want to use the power of digital tools and give access to those tools to all of their employees.

  • It is important to align the job description and things you are promising to newcomers. It’s about giving them the tools and processes that will help them perform their job in a digital era.

  • Investing in learning new tools and processes is also a way to encourage employees to create overlap areas with other departments. It creates areas of common interest. 

  • Jonathan is very invested in meeting Salomon’s environmental ambition. He believes that giving visibility to how their products are made to all employees is key. Designers can access each material’s score in the PLM system and see how their design will change the environmental score.

  • Jonathan’s advice to business leaders that want to embark on a digital transformation journey is this: Each time you embrace the complexity of someone else’s job, you create an area of connectivity/common interest with other people. Don’t try to be the best but try to understand the world from other perspectives.