ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company. ArcelorMittal aims to produce ever smarter, cleaner, stronger, and reusable steels that benefit people and the planet. It operates in 60 countries, employs some 168,000 people, and achieved annual revenues of $76.6 billion in 2021. Created from the merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel in 2006, ArcelorMittal is a listed company with headquarters in Luxembourg City.
Research and Development (R&D) contributes to ArcelorMittal’s business, playing an essential role in its quest to develop smarter steel for people and the planet. In 2021 the company spent $300 million on R&D at 13 centres across the globe, employing around 1,500 full-time researchers.
The key to successful R&D is innovation. ArcelorMittal’s R&D strategy is to develop breakthrough process innovations that deliver cost reduction, sustainability benefits and new products that use less energy and emit less carbon. The company sees significant innovation opportunities in digitalisation, enabling unparalleled efficiencies, unforeseen insights, and new modes of operation in R&D.
The difference between good R&D and great R&D is how creative and innovative you are and how fast you execute research and implement your results. We need to be super innovative to succeed.
, says Kris Kupilas, R&D Digital Transformation Programme Lead.
Managing R&D innovation can be challenging in a global R&D environment, however. Local autonomy is important in encouraging new ideas for ArcelorMittal. Still, duplication of effort between different R&D centres can be costly and demotivating. We grew quickly through mergers and acquisitions, meaning we’ve inherited different processes and procedures in our 13 R&D locations. Changing the mindset and practices is not any easy task: it took time to consolidate and standardise our approach to optimise our innovation.
, says Jean-Christophe Hell, Digital transformation Programme Pilot says.
More than a Tool
Kris Kupilas and Jean-Christophe Hell created a pilot to identify a solution that would give them global visibility and consolidation of ideas. Microsoft 365 is widely used by ArcelorMittal, so they needed compatible software to leverage other Microsoft applications. They also wanted great functionality, with an easy-to-use solution that was cost-effective and easy to implement and adopt whilst not requiring complex change management. A company’s intellectual property is critical to a competitive edge, so data security was another decisive factor.We quickly decided that simply finding a good digital tool was not enough for the task we had set ourselves. We needed a comprehensive innovation solution that R&D people would buy into and help them see the benefits of standardising and adopting the same processes. We recognised that we needed a partner as an enabler, providing innovative leadership, advice, and technical know-how., says Kris Kupilas.
ArcelorMittal worked with CPS’ Innovation Strategy Team to help deliver its plans. CPS has a strong record in supporting clients’ innovation strategies and is an award-winning Microsoft Gold partner. CPS provided expert consulting services from presales through to deployment. This included technical deployment services and advice and guidance on how ArcelorMittal Global R&D could successfully adopt new and revised innovation processes and supporting technologies.
The evaluation team was impressed when CPS recommended the innovation platform edison365ideas as the innovative solution.
CPS and edison365ideas stood out as a good organic fit with us. We had been managing ideation across R&D for a long time, and because the software was fully compatible with Microsoft 365, it was easy for anyone in R&D to adopt.
Kris Kupilas says.
CPS worked with the Global R&D team to
- Understand its global challenges and how they approached their innovation objectives.
- Provide end-user support.
- Support the adoption of the tool and processes.
- Advise on the configuration to get the best out of the innovation platform.
By the end of the engagement, R&D researchers in 13 R&D labs had access to the solution, providing a single platform to capture, manage and evaluate ideas.
Two years after implementation, Jean-Christophe Hell identifies three major benefits of working with CPS to deploy the solution that is helping to consolidate R&D innovation worldwide.
The interface is really configurable,” he says, “so our employees feel it’s their system, which gives them the confidence to use it. Also, it’s very user-friendly, which means it’s easy to propose ideas. And because it’s integrated with Microsoft 365, it’s simple to set up and manage, with all data in the same environment, easily accessed for reporting.
With a large global base of users, standardisation can take time. “The solution was carefully designed for gradual acceptance,” says Jean-Christophe Hell. “We didn’t want a big bang approach. We have the right training in place, with comprehensive FAQs and webinar recordings to make it easy to come on board.”
One of the most interesting functionalities of the tool is the ability to create challenges in line with ArcelorMittal segments’ priorities and requests. By responding to these challenges, Global R&D employees can contribute faster to those requests. , says Jean-Christophe Hell.
CPS continues to work alongside ArcelorMittal Global R&D, exchanging ideas for encouraging adoption and providing ongoing support. With the solution renewed for another two years, the relationship between CPS and ArcelorMittal can only grow stronger.
The relationship was strong from the beginning,” says Kris Kupilas. “Throughout the time we’ve worked together, the CPS team’s responsiveness and experience have been invaluable. It’s not the kind of relationship that ends with implementing a system. We need an ongoing and comprehensive partnership to support our ambitious goal.
We value our relationship with and contributions of CPS”, says Kris Kupilas, “and we hope this relationship will grow even further with the recent extension of licences for the next two years.
- A platform and processes that all R&D staff can use easily to standardise innovation
- Compatible with the diverse ways of working in place at 13 centres across the world
- A robust structure enables ongoing adoption by different user groups.
CPS recommended a configurable, easy-to-use platform that has given staff the confidence to fully adopt the new tool and approach. Easy adoption helps to support some portfolio groups. Full integration with Microsoft 365 makes it simple to set up, manage, and access reporting. All data in the same environment protects a competitive edge.
It was a pleasure to work with Kris, JC and everyone at ArcelorMittal. Their enthusiasm and passion for innovation is visible and this has helped bring the various teams together, making adoption so successful. It continues to be a true partnership.
Christopher Pond – Commercial Director, CPS