Efficient and Sustainable: An Inside Look at How L’Oréal Produces 7 Billion Products Per Year
Today, there is more to industrial performance than just efficiency. It’s about reducing CO2 emissions and water consumption, using clean electricity and protecting biodiversity! And what’s more, industrial performance looks different in every field. So how does it look at L’Oréal?
We caught up with Jérôme, Corporate Performance Manager at L’Oréal, to give us a first-hand look at the L’Oréal’s quest for production that is not only efficient, but that will also be more sustainable than ever before! And with almost a decade of experience in the automotive industry looking at improving efficiency, we knew that Jérôme would have the exciting insights.
First things first, what’s Industrial Performance in the context of L’Oréal?
When we talk about industrial performance it is all about working in a clever way with the best practices we know. We first want to be able to measure how we respond to our customers in fulfilling their expectations (quality of the product, delivery of the product, etc.)
Then, we focus on what the cost is to deliver on their expectations and to look at how we can optimize our assets (equipment, people).
When we find the best in class performance, we will dig-on to find out how it is working and to identify what the best practices are. Ultimately, the goal is to share and implement across the organization the best way to do things and to be able to bring everybody at the level of the best in class!
Before L’Oréal, what were you up to?
Believe it or not, I did not have any experience in the beauty industry before L’Oréal. After engineering school, I spent 7 years in the automotive industry in different plants and different positions in the UK, USA, Mexico and France to improve efficiency. It was in this fast-paced and multicultural industry where I learned a lot about the efficiency concept. I then joined a corporate function to help deploy the excellence system throughout the world (220 plants). After that, I joined a luxury jewellery brand for 3 years to manage the development of the performance on the manufacturing side.
For me, L’Oréal is somewhere in between the luxe and automotive industries: the luxe side makes me think about the handcrafted high jewellery manufacturing, and the industrial side about the automotive industry.
At L’Oréal, our people are encouraged to develop their own initiatives and to do extraordinary things, it’s like a giant lab! — Jérôme
What surprised you the most about working for L’Oréal?
Here, I never get bored! I get to see every plant in the world and get to work with so many different people from an operator to a senior manager on various topics from logistics, maintenance, quality etc… this is an incredibly rich job. What I like the most about my job is to be cross functional to everybody.
What does Industrial Performance look like at L’Oréal?
For me, it was not about understanding how we do performance, but how we do it at L’Oréal.
Each employee can develop his own initiative and go and do things outside of the box. This brings a lot of new initiatives, like a giant lab! The challenge then is when we have found the right and best practice, to gather everyone around this practice and to not lose time to reinvent what has already been done, but to copy it with pride!
We are still learning every day. We have a playground of 40 plants worldwide which allows us to test and learn. Then we communicate the local best practices and the challenge is to apply it worldwide. Right now, we are looking to break the silos and to align the contributions of everybody to move faster!
It’s such a large organization, does industrial performance look the same at all L’Oréal’s plants?
Well, priorities are not the same depending on the market, so there is a local context. That’s why we do not have a unique lever for performance. For example in the Asia Pacific zone we have tremendous fluctuation on the demand, especially on some specific days like 11/11 (Singles Day). To react, we need to be more agile and connected… seeing the problem from an end to end point of view.
We have the same phenomena on some launches where we can have literally a boom on some products and adapt our capacity quickly to react fast and support the market needs.
If each market is different, how do you make it work?
We defined our industrial performance system called EOS (Excellence Operational System). It is based on the best-known practice through the L’Oréal Operations… and, there is Worldwide Performance Day!
Worldwide Performance Day? Tell us about it!
To put it into one word, it would be “Awesome”.
After four months of preparation, we brought the 40 Performance Improvement Managers of our worldwide plants to one location: Montreal, Canada. We spent three days sharing best practices, learning, and working but also getting to know each other.
One of the goals of this event was for the different performance managers to meet and get to know their counterparts worldwide. To facilitate that, we organized a team building event called “Barbecue Challenge” where different teams needed to perform activities to earn money, then to buy food in the market and to finish by preparing a meal for everybody. This was truly a great moment of building friendships across L’Oréal.
Now that the event is over, we are consolidating all of the output from the different workshops that were facilitated and sharing this at a global level for optimal industrial performance in our plants. We really look forward to our next worldwide performance days next year in Asia Pacific zone.
What’s next on your radar?
New tools are giving us a lot of opportunities with real-time analysis and decision-making, but we should keep in mind that we use technology to solve our problems and to be better overall. We want to keep promoting the spirit we have, to go little by little, to prioritize, to go where things happen and to listen our people. Finally, we are thinking about how we can go further when talking about spreading the best practices we have in the organization!
What advice would you give to anyone looking for a job in operations at L’Oréal?
It’s important when applying for a job at L’Oréal to understand that research and innovation is in our DNA. For Operations specifically, I personally like people that come from diverse backgrounds and have different experiences. It can show that they are willing to try different things and go out of their comfort zone.
Especially those that come from different industries! It’s interesting to learn from people coming from industries such as automotive, chemistry, food, etc. The constraint is not the same depending on what you are producing*, and I believe this is what makes the differences when talking about operational excellence. That’s why you need to be open and curious, to show interest in how things are made and why. Then, you’ll need to show you have the motivation to make things change quickly!
*Example: just in time in automotive, expiration date and cold chain for product in food, High diversity of products with a big amount of launch and market fluctuation for L’Oréal
If you’d like to work on sustainable industrial performance or see what else we’re up to at L’Oréal, visit our careers website for open opportunities!