3 Questions for… Benoit Bazin

10/07/2020

As Saint-Gobain reveals its purpose, Benoit Bazin, Chief Operating Officer, explains how it is at the heart of the Group’s strategy.

What does our purpose Making the World a Better Home mean to you? 

Our purpose clearly explains our existential core and truly sets the framework for our strategy. MAKING THE WORLD A BETTER HOME is the powerful guiding thread that gives meaning to our daily actions on the one hand and serves as a reference for our long-term decisions on the other. It directs our investment and innovation choices towards solutions that provide our customers with comfort, well-being and performance, while preserving our planet. It also guides our roadmap for operational excellence, ensuring that our plants, distribution branches and logistics centers are increasingly environmentally responsible and respectful of the health and safety of our employees and partners. Finally, our purpose reexamines and intensifies our role in society, what we call Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which goes beyond our direct economic activity. Our exemplary role in the territories where we operate, our actions to promote employment and training in the communities around us, and the commitment of our teams within the Saint-Gobain Foundation, are all examples of how we participate in building a fairer and more sustainable world. 

What are the major challenges of this strategy? 

Our vision is to become the world benchmark in sustainable construction, improving the daily lives and future of all through high-performance solutions. To achieve this, our strategy involves developing solution offerings in each of our markets: for example, the multi-product and multi-service "one-stop shop" for energy-efficient renovation of single-family homes, integrated value-added systems to support the mobility market in its move towards a green and connected transition, acoustic, visual or air quality comfort offerings for non-residential buildings, etc. This is therefore an important additional step compared to our previous model, which was based on individualized product development. The sense of the transformation undertaken with Transform & Grow is there: bringing together all Saint-Gobain's resources within a country for local activities and by market for our global activities, in order to express the best of the collaboration and talent of our teams, and to enhance the full unequalled breadth of our offer. Our teams and our customers expect it, and this is how we will stand out from the competition. 

What are the major conditions for success?

First of all, we must have the ambition to grow and the spirit of conquest. There are several ways to achieve this: firstly, to enrich and broaden our offer by increasing the performance we bring to customers, by combining some of our products into systems, or by associating them with complementary products manufactured by another Group entity or purchased externally. We also need to leverage our innovation capabilities by aligning ourselves well collectively with customer needs, invest more in digital to leverage the gold mine of our data and optimize our manufacturing processes or personalize our customer relationships, and finally, continue to develop the Group's scope of consolidation to reinforce its strengths.

We also need to change the way we work: by strengthening the agility that our multi-local organization provides, by focusing our actions and resources on key priorities and, most importantly, by making sure that trust, empowerment and collaboration within our teams are fully exploited. The women and men of Saint-Gobain are the key to its success and our role is to unleash their full potential, to invest in new skills and to sometimes incorporate customer profiles into our organizations to better understand their expectations.  This is where diversity takes on its full meaning: in addition to the indispensable talents it offers, it opens up a plurality of perspectives, without which we simply could not successfully navigate the complex world around us. That is why we have just raised our targets for gender diversity in all the Group's businesses and positions. This is an important issue, to which I am personally very committed, in order to build an even more inclusive, open and attractive company. 

Our strategy is ambitious, driven by a sound structure and our mid-term prospects. These are promising because the ecological transition, which is at the heart of our development, is also at the center of the stimulus plans announced by several countries. Throughout the COVID crisis, we have demonstrated that we know how to weather adversity, by continuing to observe rigor and discipline, both in terms of health and in our management. I am convinced that the Group has what it takes to grow successfully in tomorrow's world and to contribute to making it a better place in order to uphold our purpose.