Innovating to electrify: A conversation with Jerome Fournier

Jérôme Fournier is Nexans Corporate Vice President, Innovation, Services & Growth, and previously spent over a decade involved in R&D at the Nexans Research Center in Lyon and Nuremberg.

Jérôme Fournier is Nexans Corporate Vice President, Innovation, Services & Growth, and previously spent over a decade involved in R&D at the Nexans Research Center in Lyon and Nuremberg.

Q: What’s driving the need for cable and cable services innovation in the electrification market?

From Nexans’ standpoint, there are actually a variety of parameters currently driving innovation — the energy transition, the increase in electricity needs, the rise of electric mobility, just to name a few. Innovative solutions are also needed to address our ageing grids, to reduce the risk of power outages and, ultimately, to deal with climate change and guarantee a climate trajectory below 1.5 °C.

Q: Can you tell us more about Nexans' innovation goals and strategy?

Of course. Electrification is the biggest market of our industry and one that holds the greatest potential for change and growth. It's why we've decided to allocate 100% of our R&D and innovation to support electrification — with 100 M€ annually to spend, 800 experts and the development of more than 50 innovations each year to help us achieve technological leadership in this area.

We are committed to amplifying our R&D investment to enrich and accelerate our offerings in three main areas: customer experience, digital solutions and sustainable development.

But we can't do it alone. Our innovation process relies on a number of partnerships such as a risk management process with Bureau Veritas, digital partnerships including cloud, data and AI solutions with Microsoft, Connectivity partnerships for worldwide deployment of our IoT solutions with leaders like ffly4u, Sigfox and Orange. We've also proposed a recycling service in collaboration with Suez and we're working closely with Carbon 4 and Eco- Passport to reach our commitment to carbon neutrality to fight climate change.

Q: Can you share more details about these partnerships?

For example, in order to integrate digital solutions into our industrial processes, we’ve called on Schneider Electric to support us through their own digital transformation experience and EcoStruxure platform to help accelerate our journey. Partnering with Schneider will allow us to advance rapidly in Industry 4.0. And, by digitizing our factories, we’ll further improve our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality and our cable products and services customers will experience the benefits through enhanced product availability.

On the customer experience front, we’ve signed a longterm partnership with Shippeo, a leader in multimodal supply chain transportation, to implement an innovative new digital service that leverages automation and artificial intelligence to expand our global transport operations capabilities. We began rolling out this transportation offering earlier this year. And this will accelerate our vision for enhanced customer satisfaction and transition to an even more customer-centric organization. Digitizing our supply chain is an integral element of our goal to electrify the future and our partnership with Shippeo helps us take that objective to the next level.

We’ve also launched a disruptive company performance model called the E3, with the E standing for Economic, Environment and Engagement. Every quarter, our activities, unit by unit, are challenged through an innovative model to find the right balance of performance between those three elements.

“ We are committed to… R&D investment… in customer experience…, digital solutions and sustainable development. ”

Jérôme Fournier

Nexans Corporate Vice President, Innovation

Q: And finally, can you tell us about an example where Nexans is excelling in innovation?

Well, is about making the electrical grid smarter and the smart technology behind superconductivity is an important part of that. Two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities and megacities where the density of buildings and infrastructure doesn’t allow for traditional. A single cable with Nexans Superconductivity technology can convey the equivalent of 3 nuclear reactors in several seconds, anywhere at any time.

We’ve also developed connected cable solutions and connected accessories to improve the reliability, efficiency and safety of all types of operations in electrical industries, using real-time data and we’re from 10,000 to 100,000 connected devices in three years.

All told, I think the technological innovation in electrification being spearheaded by Nexans is key to sustainable, balanced and equitable growth that benefits our customers and, ultimately, humanity. It’s an exciting time!

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