The “SEAT Ideas” programme, which encourages all company employees to propose improvements in their day-to-day work that enable them to optimise tasks, processes and any other aspect of their working environment, collected more than 3,000 initiatives in 2020. Of these, the almost 850 that are already being implemented have enabled SEAT S.A. to save 7.2 million euros.
The “SEAT Ideas” programme, which was updated and digitalised two years ago, is a firm commitment by the company to promote innovation and internal talent, giving a voice to professionals to propose improvements to their daily work, as they are the ones who better understand their environment and their potential. Employees submit their proposals on a digital platform, which are then analysed by experts to study their validity and applicability. Finally, the company rewards the creators with an economic incentive, which in the 2020 edition amounted to 0.9 million euros.
In each edition, SEAT S.A. urges people to achieve optimisation goals in any field, from products, facilities or processes to more everyday issues, as well as progress in sustainability and environmental care. The latter is the area that has experienced the greatest growth in recent years. In 2020, the ideas with the greatest potential for savings were in the areas of Production, specifically in Sheet Metal Work, followed by Energy and Facilities, and Logistics.
SEAT S.A. Vice-president for Human Resources and Organisation Xavier Ros highlights that “despite the complexity of the situation resulting from the pandemic, our company’s employees have continued to promote and share their ongoing desire to improve and their innovative spirit. Their attitude is an additional impulse to overcome the challenges of the company and of the current moment, enabling us to detect possible ideas for improvement at the source that can have a positive collective impact.”
When selecting the best initiatives, criteria such as the contribution of value and their potential for economic savings are taken into account. At the same time, initiatives that don’t immediately translate into tangible benefits as they are originally proposed, but that can be applicable due to their originality in some other aspect, are reoriented, resulting in added value for other proposals.
Sustainability, technology and algorithms in industry 4.0
In this edition, the idea that generated the most savings was the design of an alerting algorithm that reinforces the delivery notes system for JIT parts supply (Just in Time, or those that are not in stock and are supplied in a matter of hours). Likewise, other initiatives of a sustainable nature stand out, such as the replacement of oil pumps by vacuum pumps without emissions in the cooling systems of production facilities, or the introduction of a new algorithm that prioritizes the use of water for maintenance according to real needs, compared to the previous automatic use by hours.
Employee innovation as an asset
SEAT S.A. employees play a fundamental role in promoting innovation in the company, both in the optimization of processes and in ways of working, as in the development of new services and innovative products that may become part of the future company portfolio. To this end, SEAT S.A. created two years ago “Innovation Day” an inspirational event focused on recognizing and fostering the innovative spirit among company employees, which complements and extends the “Ideas SEAT” project. As a result of Innovation Day, projects have emerged such as the creation of car parts made with gas and rice to achieve for more sustainable vehicles with less plastic; virtual reality and immersive reality applications to reduce time and optimize car design and manufacturing processes; or a highly realistic image simulation program, which is used in Design. Besides, the company is finalizing the launch of the SEAT INNOVA platform, which aims to become a meeting point for networking and inspiration, connecting workers from different areas and presenting innovative projects in detail, while allowing participation in challenges, workshops, and talks related to all areas of the company.