Plastic Omnium Standardizes its Data Integration Processes with Talend

Business and information productivity gains, improved product quality, increased flexibility... Talend's solutions contribute to the increased agility of the group's information systems.
In the modern manufacturing world, a flexible information system that can adapt quickly to changing market is a necessity. Talend's solutions are very accessible and therefore meet this requirement perfectly.
Laurent Levesque, IS Project Manager

One group: two businesses

Plastic Omnium is a leading player in two sectors: the environment and the automobile industry. No. 1 worldwide for waste pre-collection, the European leader for public and street signs and no. 1 worldwide for car parts and modules and plastic fuel systems, the group generated 2.7 billion euro revenue in 2009, 70% of which outside France. With almost 14,000 employees and 87 manufacturing facilities worldwide, Plastic Omnium spends more than 4.5% of its revenue on research and development. At the forefront of innovation, the group holds over 688 patents and 5% of its employees work in its 13 R&D centers.

Innovation to sustain leadership

Pollution, global warming, new mobility in large urban areas... Plastic Omnium responds to these challenges through innovation. For example, the company has provided the world with more than 10 million microchip-identified waste collection bins improving waste management. The group is also well-known in the automotive industry, for example, manufacturing a hybrid hatchback model for a large-scale series produced car that is 20% lighter than a steel hatchback.

Information technology is at the heart of Plastic Omnium's operations and the group's global presence causes complexity: country-specific practices and regulatory constraints, particular or local difficulties for standardizing processes and applications, the global synchronization of information from all subsidiaries and joint ventures...

"For a long time now we have been leading standardization initiatives to simplify our procedures and improve efficiency. We implemented SAP on a global scale, but for various reasons, some countries do not get access to this system. Therefore, we developed special interfaces for exchanging information," explains Laurent Levesque, IS Project Manager at Plastic Omnium Auto Exterior. "The main processes to interface are generally the same (for example, production statements) and require the careful integration of different applications, of which the number continues to grow over time. Faced with this complexity, we realized that an integration solution would decrease the need to develop interfaces and would better meet our need for flexibility."

Talend Open Studio for Data Integration: simply integrate at the lowest cost

Meanwhile, Plastic Omnium adheres to principles of continuous improvement, which encourage the company to remain attentive to changing technology. The IT team tested several integration solutions before deciding on Talend Open Studio for Data Integration. "Given the highly distributed nature of our information technology, the Talend licensing system, based on the number of developers, proved to be much more appealing than the licensing system of other players, based on the number of servers," continues Laurent Levesque. "In addition, Talend's Java orientation was in harmony with the rest of our information system (IBM WebSphere, Alfresco, etc.). Finally, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration's ease of use and operation was very appealing to us. Following a short training session, we were able to quickly start our developments."

Several pilot projects were created in different countries. One of them, concerning manufacturing statements, aimed to link the factory management system (assembly) and SAP. The ultimate goal is to automate the creation of an item from specific shop management software, based on an SAP repository (items). Eventually, the process will be deployed in all of the group's factories. "We want to benefit from productivity gains both in terms of manufacturing and information technology. Thanks to its simplicity, Talend Open Studio for Data Integration doesn’t add any additional burdens on the IT teams, which are already very mobilized by the projects. With the assistance of automated alerts, business users are notified of potential problems and generally are able to solve these problems themselves."

Another pilot responds to the growing number of applications targeted by the factory reporting. "With Talend, we only have two jobs: one for SAP loading and the other to load the reporting system. Each new target application only entails a slight modification of a job, which saves us a lot of time," says Laurent Levesque.

Migrating to Talend Data Integration to mitigate risks

Talend's solution also helps the IT staff better meet the objective of improving the group’s product reliability. "Even if bumpers are at the end of the automotive manufacturing chain, we are subject to penalties when the waste rate exceeds a certain threshold. We must therefore remain very attentive to the quality indicators, whose management is greatly simplified with Talend Open Studio for Data Integration," comments Laurent Levesque. 

Plastic Omnium decided to migrate to Talend Data Integration at the end of 2009 to benefit from the enterprise-grade services offered by Talend. "The main reason for this choice reflects our desire to mitigate risks. With support services at the professional level, we know that we won’t get stuck and left on our own," concludes Laurent Levesque. "Although were are not using collaborative development features, we share jobs with other countries. Therefore, our standardization efforts are very important and Talend's solutions greatly contribute to simplifying our work. In the modern manufacturing world, a flexible information system that can quickly adapt to the changing market is a necessity. Talend's solutions are very accessible and perfectly meet this requirement."