The figures are striking: 100 billion in total, including 1.2 for industrial decarbonisation of industry, 4.7 for railway development, 7 for green hydrogen and 1.2 for new mobility solutions… At a time when the government is beginning to implement this ambitious support plan, engineering is only implicitly alluded to in the different measures. We should therefore urgently remember the importance of engineering specialists who, at the heart of all the transitions, act both as a rudder in directing industrial projects and as an essential operational link in their implementation, as well as being guarantors of their quality.
No industrial recovery without engineering specialists!
Engineering specialists, particularly engineering and technology consulting companies, have proven their worth to manufacturers over decades. Their agility, a key quality when it comes to transition, is part of their DNA! Our clients expect flexibility and adaptability, whatever their business sector, technological choices or organisation. This diversity moreover enables engineering specialists to detect signs of evolutions, early indications of technical solutions, and to accelerate transitions.
Engineering specialists also have a key role to play in the relocation of some business sectors. Relocation which particularly requires detailed consideration of how to optimise our industrial tool. Artificial Intelligence used for automation and training of operators through virtual reality will enable us, for example, to improve productivity in our factories. Similarly, industrial performance tools developed through engineering and the very considerable knowledge of industrial processes and how to optimise them can help to accelerate the relocation of key industries. We have demonstrated this during the COVID crisis by helping to manufacture masks to protect our health workers and ventilator filters. Let’s continue on this path and give the industrial sector a boost!
In these troubled times, we therefore believe that it is essential for outsourced engineering to be fully recognised as a lever for growth and change, not only by manufacturers but also by public authorities. We are more than just providers of flexible skills, we are also project managers, specialists in the management of complex projects (technology, environment, regulations, supply chain, financing…), also incorporating societal factors (acceptance, employment impact, sovereignty…), and fully independent.
At a time of strategic investment decisions, technological options and operational planning, manufacturers and institutional clients need to therefore consult engineering specialists before starting their projects.
Engineering companies undertake 30% of R&D work for big manufacturers of industrial products and equipment, across all sectors1. They are essentially multidisciplinary and are already very active in their industries. When it comes to their internal needs they collaborate with the most innovative parties for work organisation and HR (teleworking, recruitment…). When serving their clients they work together with laboratories, universities, startups, competitiveness clusters, R&D centres of big companies, pilot customers…
At SEGULA for example we lead around 200 innovation projects each year with these types of partners, ranging from digital modelling tools to innovative materials, not forgetting recyclability of products, new energies and digitalisation. And these innovations are not just about PR! The engineering specialists choose them and design them so they can be marketed. We therefore support the manufacturers up until the operational launch, whatever the scale.
Engineering companies also make natural partners for startups and innovative SMEs who rely on them to identify the best uses and put together the initial proofs of concept. At SEGULA we already host a dozen startups in our acceleration hub, HeXplora, created in late 2019.
It is therefore essential for manufacturers to rely even more on engineering specialists, real laboratories of innovation for industry.
Did you know that out of the 32,000 engineers who graduate each year in France, 10,000 choose to join an engineering company?2 This shows the appeal of our sector, clearly seen as a springboard of excellence for young people as it combines interdisciplinarity, innovation and diversity of missions and of clients. We support this rapid gaining of experience through intensive continuous training, driven not only by academic scientific evolution but also by the expertise of our most innovative clients and partners.
At SEGULA, this commitment takes the form of a dedicated training centre, the SEGULA Academy, which offers face-to-face teaching and e-Learning to hundreds of employees each year. More broadly, in the summer of 2020 our profession asked the government to create the FMDCI scheme (training to maintain and develop innovation skills) to help develop the skills of 50,000 engineers and senior technicians working in outsourced R&D. We are thus able to identify the professions of tomorrow and to prepare our engineers to perform them at the most advanced state-of-the-art level.
Flexibility, innovation, talents… engineering is clearly responding directly to the three priorities set by the recovery plan: competitiveness, ecology and cohesion. We, as engineering specialists, are already in position, ready to support our industrial partners in meeting the challenges of these fundamental transitions. Together we will make a success of this new industrial revolution.