Peer Check
Peer Check

Episode 2 · 10 months ago

#2 — Embracing The 21st Century w/ Ivan Filipic


Today’s workers want modern tech. The 21st century is well underway, and workplaces need to keep up if they want to attract (and retain) top talent.

In this episode, we speak with Ivan Filipic, Director of Operations and Engineering Centre at Schneider Electric Field Service, about creating a culture of improvement in large engineering companies. After 24 years in the industry, he knows how to get things done.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Successfully implementing change in the engineering space
  • Adopting digital tools and embracing the 21st century
  • The challenge of proving ROI and getting buy-in

Welcome to peer check, a Colab podcast. This is a show for engineering leaders who want to challenge the sats quo for how design teams work together. You're about to hear a conversation about the ways the engineering world is changing and how top teams are carving a new path forward. Let's do it. Welcome to peer check. I'm your host, Adam Keating, and today I so we're going to talk about practical ways that engineering teams I can get by and for adopting digital tools to make meaningful change in weeks instead of years. Today I'm joined by Ivan Phillipic, who is director of ECOFIT Canada, a Snider electrics North American division. Ivan not only leads his team but really leads by example when it comes to actually taking something and practically implemented with his team all the way through to making sure it actually worked. Ivan, welcome to the show. Thank you. I'm thank you for having me here and I want to they're kind of like you've been schnire electric now twenty five years and you've seen a lot of things over that time. What's been sort of your secret sauce to actually implementing change? Like I know we talked pre call. You've told me five, six, seven, eight things you've done. Like I just off the top of your tongue. What's the secret sauce to making change actually getting by? And so actually it said it's a ten fool years, not tiny five some time. But the ever since I joined the corporation, I was only for the opportunities for improvements and I know when I've been I joined us as a young engineer the company and looking at the processes that we had with the initialither know, and it's very easy to actually spoke in a big corporations, you know, it's very easy to spot the performities for improvement, right, and the first one that I saw is number of errors and actually are being released to production from engineering teams, right, and then I said, hmm, this is something wrong here, because those errors actually always are transferring into the additional quality cost, additional expenses to the projects, know, reduced mudgins and bots on. Right. So when also, at the same time I also had a boss was really oriented for all about improvement as well, and I know that at one time you said, listen, whoever at leases the job to production and job get built without any actually nonconformances because the hundred dollars built. I said, that's a great motipit as well. Right so, but but does that mean that nobody prior to that point has actually ever had a job that actually went through the production without without any error spreads? So then we started looking into this and basically myself and if you got the guys, have developed a future process, because at the time there was also there was no future process. Basically, you rely on yourself and very rarely your jobs, and you, I'll put that, impair checked, because people at that time to check is something that has negative things. Right, so why would somebody check my work and stuff like that? Right, but the you work on the transformation, on the culture change, the work on the new things. At the beginning it's slow, slow process. No so monual payperwork, but but that you start right and starting from the point actually moving going ourhead was actually a quite a journey and by enjoyed it so much we have what we have done. It started really a true change in engineting right. So very quickly after that, basically have we have started releasing jobs production with no errors and no mistakes, because what's going on is basically a people started to trust each other, I've started to thrust the process, started to trust the integrity of the process and obviously everybody seen the benefit right so and then we took it down that road the vast improvement and actually project scheduling or long time deliver these quality cost and but not. So that was a bas key one of the things that we have done in the beginning and as soon as then they actually have carried over down the road and this is...

...where we are right now. That's amazing and it sounds like we named our podcast after you guys twenty years ago get this moving. We even we even thought, you know, you guys had such a good job or and then podcast after you folks. But I'm really curious iving like when you first started making these changes. I know we'll talk about some of the other things you've done, like really practical examples. How did you get everyone else to buy in? And like there's two directions. As a manager director, you kind of get it buy and sometimes from your peers at the leadership level, to actually make a change, and then get buying from users to actually adopt the change. What did you do at both those levels to get them on the same page and excited versus you just telling someone you need to do something. Yeah, the changes are continuous process, or they actually continuous prom and never change. And there were stops, right, and if it does, it's a problem. Right. So this need to continue and what we do in Schneider here is a really focusing on the constant improvement, what we can do better, and as such, we have a really adopted the agile methodology within our process and not we have. We are focusing on the how do we do things better than we're obviously focusing on growth year versus over here, and how do we how do we get that done? Doing the same thing obviously is going to give you the same results. Now. So we basically have right now looking at the for last several ideas, looking at it digital transformation in engineering, because the in our world and in the tech company such as Snider, the engineering is really actually one of the pillars of the company. And always looking how do we make it more efficient? How do you actually incuse a true put out of this team without add more people? Right. So what is what is technology that we can actually use and so on, and we basically and how do you do that? It's first of all, I think you need to again to give you a stakeholders on board right. Bring again new bringing a new software and a tool that company this side is not easy thing, right. So we need to go through it. No number of steps and basic qualifications and whatnot, but the you get it done right. So you need to basically explain the what are you bring again, get a keys, take hold it on board, show the benefit's auction, new process, new tools versus of old having easy to understand. Right. So so get it at the after the keys, they will level and then get at the users levels. WHATSO prepared, get the experts in place, show how the thing will do. A few pilot projects know in getting done right. So that's how they been doing for last several years and we do have a number of successful project in place already. Having a sexual approach. That's awesome and one of the things that you said that I think is really important and I think a lot of companies don't do. You know, we talked with digital transformations. are at the highest level and it's like sort of our long overarching mission. But it's kind of general. But when you guys do your projects like it sounds like you've almost assembled like a little bit of a team, like they're sort of a champion and an owner. There's an executive sort of sponsors, like maybe it's yourself, and then you've got sort of a partner to make sure this works. Is this actually built into Schneider electrics culture and almost even like how you guys do team planning, that you know XYZ person takes on so many initiatives over the course of this time? Is that something that's actually built right in? Also, if this so that the team work is important, I know and team are always obviously very important. So so having a somebody to actually spoke for the project, know, having a Fu team members and different type of expertise obviously helps the project implementation. Also brings the confidence to the rest of the company. Hey, these guys actually know what they're doing. It's not it's not about the show. You know, it's give what is it's a team on the team of a smart people that actually got together and they bring it up the bobvious to the company over our process and system. So that's awesome and one thing that I think a lot of teams struggle with, at least we hear, is we constantly hear this discussion about Roy. I need, I need to see an Roy, but it's for like a new technology, one that there isn't an easy way to have an Roy. So what happens that we cause? I've been, you know, paralysis mode of we can't move forward because we have... Ouri, but we can't get in our wives. We can't move forward. And I think you've done some practical things when it comes to like taking the first step with a smaller team proving it out. Can you just talk through like how you think we're building business cases to justify decision and and and you write. So it is always about Roy. So No company wants to invest money to lose one, right. So it's absolutely unheard of. Right. And for us to implement a new technology, you really need to have a business case. Right. So spending the company money, it's not an easy thing. You know, you don't own it, you work for it and they need up the present the case. Well, what am I off see? But about doing? What am I bringing? But other the benefits to the company, and that's been are some coming. So, for example, we had the introduction of the D scan it into our process. Right. So three is going is the expensive thing, right. So it is a price of the really luction you car right. And and then you want you a buide, then you need to convince actually the finance folks, Noor, the actually the leadership, not theed to actually bring this on board, right, because this is what you're going to get, and you bestly show the benefits of the new technology. Explain what you plan to do. Do a pilot, right. So many, many supports are willing to work with you actually to have you to prepare your case right, do a pilot aboutments and and that's basically this is a very exactly done. He basically have, let's say, just for the three D is. Cannot we have selected a job in the field. We went into the field on scanning. Know, bring it actually to engineering as a design input and pull of the all along right until the installation of a product. And then you actually have actual results that actually have that are shown the field service when they get the kit that you design for that particular modernization. Please fits right on, no need for rework, knows, no surprises. Plus, you actually also have actually a D model rank in front of you. All done like that. So when you have a when you have a cases like this, not through the do the actually proper steps? Not, it is very easy to justify, or so when you were building like that partake their business case, you obviously put forward. You know, here's the problem, here's what we're trying to solve, here's why we think this can help. And I think the key part that most people struggle with is, like, you know, an easy Roy would be Ivan can say, Hey, we can save time, center a budget or some number, but most times that's not true. Most Times you can't directly get a number immediate lie and it takes doing some work. So it sounds like what you're describing is that you build out the road map of what step one looks like to prove value, and then what the future can look like if step one goes well. Is that fair? Yeah, that's right, exactly. So so so you best your coming a starting point and where you want to be up that everything is done right. So, for example, in the implementation of a new technology, you really need to know. Very one of them call next what he's a next step. We've been in bold the best the best approach is thought in our case. But actually they get a skill. People that actually will be working on the job train. That can explain it. Technology for the company, the CAN stakehold. There's no and obously jury the results, but it calls me. No the results, there's no project is noble. When you're putting together that business case, it sounds like you've really figured out how to go with the end user, how to build it up for a sort of you know, your leadership group. How do you think about all the tangential stakeholders? So like thinking about you know, for you folks, you mentioned me. Simulation tools, you mentioned me. You folks have P PLM. You've cat told your scanners of everything right, tangential folks being maybe supply chain, maybe it's your it group. How do you think about getting thereby and like what's worked for you to get them on the same page, because we've seen hundreds of companies get stuck at the end because not everyone's aligned on the business value for making a change. How have you gotten the tangential parties engaged in made a successful so... one particular example for us they actually have from from last year, or very, very very recent November. The simple the we have as you as you know, we have been experimented with that callab implementation is Shunei and redone implementation. We doing equalthy team in in Mississauga, so within the engineering team and the production team. But we did not actually finished that yet, not for a national implementation right, and for us right now to do this, we basically right now compains our partners in the business that actually but we are bringing it really works right and we have a done a few trials. We basically have a brought the tool to the people that actually are working in the field, right, and the feedback that I have received from the front those users rushing that they never see anything like it, but its key. They were able, first time will working on a conic complex project to actually look at it, D mormal spinning the way it is not identify the part that was their stuff like that and and but you do some of that is guys are sold. said it's really good. We go from there, right. So any you do this the next time, I think you have a case in for it sounds like it's kind of a similar, similar process and like it sounds you guys are actually done a few times over. Do you? Do you think, like snatschneider particular, has like almost a road map for technology adoptions. Most companies that we run into don't quite know how to buy something they don't have to buy. They don't know how to buy a part. If they're manufacturer and know how to buy an on primary solution, but they're not used to buying a three d scanner, then I used to buying clouds. Software is there like a pathy. Folks are built for doing this. To the sounds like a pretty prescriptive thing you're doing now. No, for us, is actually about the new technology. It's first of all, I think the people that work for us here that they want a new technology. Right. It's also twenty per century, twenty per century young Paul's young talents. If you actually want to have treat them to work in it, in this they need to actually they like to see a new stuff happening. Nobody like right now is working the thirty four years old stuff right. So in order for us to actually really think about the future of the company right, think about actually future times that actually engaging and bring them what, you have to actually also have a twenty one century technology in place. So what are we are? Our goal in this Snai is actually to have the latest greatest tep for the actually for our people and essentially for our customers as well. So yes, of course there's a road map and and we've always constantly are bringing new taking place right so, particularly in a field services based, which are at the forefront of innovations. When you constants, as I mentioned before, the treats, can imagine, color mentioned actually all kind of different simulations as make simulation. This is a something that is happening, but and the within the company, but in the fuel services, on a much quicker basis, because the actually, I'll predict love. We could actually many other than the actually. So I think I'm taking away from this. The thing that's work really well for you folks has not been take tools, push them down, not tell people that we want it's been like really investing culture of adopting technology and incremental change, and I think that's a beautiful part and I think one thing that gets lost a lot of the time is that the culture is there for change but there's not an acceptance to actually doing it. So we talked a lot about you know, it's an example, and I will pick on digital twin for too long, but that's like a big a big theme and it's very scary. It's a very hard Roman to achieve. It is the very complice technology it. So what actually ends up happening is not a whole lot changes daytoday, whereas, like you told me a story about the digital lock, which I can to get you to tell her in a second, and it's so practical. Like it's so practical. But by doing that you're in you're just building the culture and behavioral change. So the next time problem comes up, you use technology and process to fix it, not to just throw it out somebody, but just tell tell me a little bit...

...about the digital lock. It was so practical. It's such a like special use case. But the initial thought was, you know, how do we smartly use tech to actually go through and just what happened there? No, it came a the issue are push the previous kind of right, a lot of money sunk into it and now this kind of needs to actually travel across that come. But we got everything. You got a belly Kount of the case and we'll stuff note. But then you need to have a lot hand. How do you send the key? That's so the key needs to go to separate mail and stuff like that. So that was a that was totally actually impractical and everything. But we do a bitter we go, and this came from a from a different part of our organization, as gay look at this stuff, right, and then they actually first time we got introduced to a company called set up for and we start actually looking at their offer and the bomb that actually was a digital lock operated by the Bluetooth. Wow, all right away. Then actually the idea. Okay, let's talk, let's see how we can do this, and basically we start working with a bit set up, a set up for a company and working together and escape on the from the product and solution for our problem. So right now wed our skin and actually does a digital lock on it. Know goes a bit ever it goes. We controlled actually access to the lock, giving access to amstative controls, but not it is a something that you don't think about it. It was a lot of people actually don't think there's a lot with the kid up with the Bluetooth. You do in the key for it. YEA, and but start digging, start actually engaging other people, actually the ideas out there. You just actually need to listen, need to open our eyes, and they look for it rightful are you like these things are? Obviously, like I that story stuck with me were chime for and walking through it, but like it sounds so forward looking now and a lot of things are practical, which I really like. Are you seeing the younger generation actually excited by that? Because I know, thinking for myself, a part of what was tricky when I first worked in industry was that a lot of tools were twenty years old. There wasn't a whole lot of appe type for change. Honestly, one of the main reasons we started collabs because we said we couldn't do that for thirty years. That was actually one of the main reasons. What's been there? What's been the reception of sort of that younger generation coming in and do you see them kind of grabbing on to some of these initiates and helping drive that change in the company? So let me tell you. I think, because this is very wide acceptance of the new technology, is a new base of tin things, more practical base everybody but they see is actually better way of doing it right. So, for example, after going to give you this, wants to be, must be implement a collap in, an equippit it bas the start sharing the d models with the guys in a shop. Right. So it is a quite different than you build a complex speech, geto order product, not from it, from it from a to D D drawing. You know what I versus when you look at actual that collap the D model in a collap. Right. So we have addressed so many issues with that and for it our process immensely and we are able also to a sold the process with the people that normally are hired for on that project basis. Right, you douse it training requirements. You actually have that. You maximize the quality output that that process. Right. So, and I tell you, adoption is actually Abou See, the people love it. A lot of the inventions or the technology that we are actually right now try to get our coming from the people itself. For, for example, treity scanard was not actually, let's say, my idea. It came from the actually people, from an intinding. Hey, how do we do this? There's a better way. said. Yeah, of course. What do you think the role of your engineering team is in driving this change? It sounds like you folks faster that as part of your culture. But like do you do you look at someone's performance view and say you know, hey, someone's probably an amazing at the interterestinking outside the box naturally a bonus. But how...

...does how does that fit into how you coach people and create those future leaders? So, I said, the attention of the talents is also something is not the only obstruction, but also detention. Right. So you need to actually create an environment, but people actually going to be able to show them maximum potential, right? So, given access to the tenology, to give access that, you know, thanks, given you an opportunity people speck up and and and grow, right so, and that's that's what we're doing. That's our mindset and we are enabling our talents. No, access to the late testing process, to temology, are enabling into elite and the projects actually, as well know. So this obviously actually comes with the with the pride, and it's all done. No, I can, I can, I can easily say that. Actually, I would attention rate is it's actually high, and it's high, I would say the cause. The enable. Our teams are engineers out tending how people, or you really showed it from the through. While you work on that, on the latest things, projects that actually improved the processes and also their own they only skills as well. Well, sounds that you're listening right. It sounds like you're listening to your people and the industry, which is it's easier said than done. It's really easy to ignore that when you're put in the face of an on time delivery, a target of quota, whatever it might be. It's really easy to put the blinders on and kind of go at that. You know, what I taken away from our espussion so far here is that you know for you comes first from culture, investing in culture of accepting new technology and actually leading by example and then encouraging others do the same. Putting it in practical first step in whether that's a pilot, proof of concept, but showing how it grows. I'm curious now, like, given where you are, you folks are pretty mature and taking new tech and bring it out. What are you excited about for the next couple of years, like what's on the Road Map for fuel service? Like, are they're cool trends that you're following? Now you're like, okay, I need a new digital lock for X. what's on your mind for the next couple of years? So obviously it's continuous implement that Ale is so very going right now. From here is we are going through an essay. People mentation for themselves, so bas can bring it up completely and you actually a platform that you didn't in the know. And this is the actually a woman, when my team is also a saanial. So that is that is a that is a big one. Then we are in the midst of the preparation for it. So, but that was it. But there's also a lot of smaller projects that we plan to do and and I would say that the what's important actually not to get both done into a large projects, know, and that is not able to do anything, because also a quick fixing or stuff like that quick. That's more projects are very important to actually to maintain the momentum your organization right. So so that's good, but but actually have what we've been talking about just recently, or stop, is start implementing new text noise permit that q are code into our product as well. I know that basically the and that are could be unable customer to base is can they who are called get all get the recent wrongs? They didn't an information of the product he's doing right there in front of him, without having a need to go and down within anyway, because it will be all for them. Right. So this is a this is actually a new thing for us, and all that, obviously is going to increase the convenience on a customer side, maintenst Technichians, customers and but nots, and that also is going to use, obviously, and number of form cause number of emails and they look at here. It's not a nothing, actually a big nothing, really complex, but such a such a benefits. Let me ask you this question to kind of pull us all back through, so that exact example, I totally get why you do that and it's something that we're big on a call out to. I could see, though, in many other orcs where someone says, Hey, I'd like to qr codes here for this reason, and then it goes to someone else who doesn't understand exactly what that...

...use case is and they perceive it as a nice to have and if their culture is not to adopt technology, which most companies aren't today yet, it then get shut down. What would you what would be your advice to someone who's pitching, you know, that qr scanner or the digital lock as to why it should happen now versus two years from now what would be like? If what you've learned, what would you tell that person as like ammunition to go into that battle? Yeah, I think I needs to happen now, because that two guys from now, you should be working on something else. Absolute. So there are things that actually that can be done very quickly. That and if you can do it the day, don't leave it for it tomortal. That was that was a saying that actually my father will they to me. If you can do it today, don't leave it. Put the motel. So and that's what we normally actually, we can do this right now. The is not going. Is Not a big project. No, let's actually put some energy and people from there, and usually works. And you can touch braise with me. Maybe a month from now I think we're gonna have it in the system. I love that. I love that we can do today, don't do it tomorrow. That's amazing. Ivan. I really, really appreciate the time and the thoughts and I think I was hoping to get one or two good examples and you've given me seven or eight. If you were to give one last piece of advice to an engineering leader WHO's trying to create the same kind of culture. Where should they start? Where's the starting point for someone who's coming from a place where maybe it's not as accepted to make change? Where would they start? I think a start with the people and the organization. So make sure that the you have a tonti couple individuals for of ourd looking and start working. We do a team for the change. Is Not all about one guy. A change is actually much easier if you actually have a team, audience for a change, and that's probably the best way to start. As he hired an individual haven people know have a right mindset. Let's right culture and of adopt everything's actually become much, much, much more easier. That's awesome. I'man thanks so much for joining us today. Really appreciate it. Thank you very much for the best. I don't thank you. COLLAB is on a mission to accelerate the pace of engineering innovation by giving design teams a better way to work. As an engineering leader, you know it's crucial to empower your team to do their best work. Let collab help you achieve your goals with our web based tool that makes it easy to share and review cad files with anyone, so you can focus on the work that batters without missing a beat or a bolt. Learn more at Collab softwarecom. You've been listening to pure check, a Collab podcast. Keep connected with us by subscribing to the show in your favorite podcast player, and please leave a rating on the show. That helps us keep delivering conversations about how the engineering world is changing and how you can challenge the status well, until next time,.

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