- Crisis creates opportunity for growth, change, new technology and innovation.
- This is also the case with the high-tech automotive supplier AVL, where change is business as usual: The international company uses the know-how and resources from several departments and partners around the world to contribute during the corona crisis.
- Also, AVL has adapted its internal processes to facilitate collaboration.
- Among other things, the company has created the platform AVL4you.com to facilitate collaboration during the crisis: This new platform went live during the crisis with great initiatives to engage with employees at home during the pandemic.
- And a new podcast gains in popularity.
Crisis creates opportunity for growth, change, new technology and innovation. This is also the case with the high-tech automotive supplier AVL, where change is business as usual: The international company uses their know-how and resources from several departments and partners around the world to contribute during the corona crisis.
AVL employees work on creative solutions
„We are Austria’s most innovative company in suite, if you look at patents and utility models“, says Human Resources Manager Markus Tomaschitz, who sees a change in mindset during the past weeks: „That means we have another chance to do things differently, more creatively. It turns out that customer contact is the key. Before Corona we were very clocked, now we are more selective, that frees up time and energy, gives space to talk about things differently. Our internal ideas system is overflowing and we are already getting positive results from it.“
Face shields, produced by AVL-employees
AVL employees from around the globe have taken it upon themselves to use their knowledge and resources to help in this new time. One of these people is Atul Gupta, a Chartered Engineer, a STEM Ambassador and a Fellow of The Higher Education Academy.
He has been with AVL UK for the past four years. And out of that, in April 2019, he started his own venture, BornToBuild Ideas, making education Science Kits to inspire young minds into STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning through ‘Make, Learn & Play’. This is used to boost their creativity, cognitive and motor skills. He now works two days a week at AVL and the rest of his time on his own startup.
He utilizes a lot of different machines for this work at his industrial workshop, his work horse being a CNC Laser machine to manufacture the kits. The machine is very versatile and can cut wood, acrylics, plastics, rubber, and a lot of other materials.
Gupta realized that he could easily adapt the machine to manufacture face shields. So he called up his AVL managers Alan Forrest and Christophe Maleyrie, and proposed the idea that AVL and BornToBuild create face shields together. The idea got immediate approval by the MD.
Each face shield has a laser-cut three-piece-headband and a clear visor. It takes three minutes to manufacture and assemble and costs just 30 cents in material. AVL are happily sponsoring materials and finding care homes in need of face shields.
Although the initial target was 200 face shields, the partners have so far manufactured more than 1000 face shields and donated them to the Red Cross, NHS and care homes in order to tackle COVID-19. Additionally, AVL is manufacturing another 1000 face shields for internal staff at test bed facilities.
Another interesting solution comes from Bill Perry, a mechanical design engineer from AVL. He has been a part of AVL for about two years and has taken it upon himself to help with his 3D printer to produce masks during the COVID-19 crisis. He has been printing face shields from home on a 3D printer to support the national shortage that key healthcare workers have been facing. He has been doing this as quickly as he can outside of his AVL core working hours as he is still working as much as normal from his home office.
But what about AVL’s corporate-startup collaborations in these challenging times? After all, many of the startups and strategic partners have shared how great of an opportunity it has been for them to explore additional markets, refine business strategies and have time to thoroughly check internal processes.
So, Creators Expedition has still been in close contact with AVL’s strategic partners while addressing the importance of expanding and continuing innovation at the forefront. With the extra time at Creators Expedition, AVL now has a great pipeline to really push more collaboration in the coming year.
As for the TECC & TACC 2020 programs, they will continue online and resume in person once AVL receives the clear. This has helped keep the students in the program motivated and innovative on their projects for the semester.
Digital work and digital trainings
Additionally, AVL has also adapted its whole working process due to the time of social distancing. „The level of maturity of our organization is also astonishing in this regard – 95 percent of it works really well and smoothly“ says Tomaschitz. Among other things, the company has created the platform AVL4you.com to facilitate collaboration during the crisis: This new platform went live during the crisis with great initiatives to engage with employees at home during the pandemic.
Additionally, AVL has turned its internal trainings and academy into a place to stimulate personal growth and learning from home during the COVID-19 times. Offering classes on topics like collaboration in virtual teams and structuring work from home to tips and ticks with Skype business. The company is getting creative with providing as much digital and virtual content as possible to keep the employees informed and educated.
„Engine & Environment“ becomes a digital event
Also, the 32nd AVL conference „Engine & Environment“ was not held in Graz, Austria, this year, but online from May 25th to May 29th, 2020. The virtual venue of the renowned trade conference was the thedigitaltrendconference.com platform, resulting in a substantial increase in reach and attracting over 2000 participants from 54 nations.
„A cancellation was out of the question for us,“ says Robert Fischer, Executive Vice President AVL: „We were able to convince almost all speakers and keynote speakers to participate in the new, innovative format.“ Using this platform, participants could take part in interactive lectures from industry-leading speakers and exciting panel discussions – playable as videos, from anywhere, at any time. The interactive chat function also provided the opportunity to get in touch with speakers in each session. The comments then flowed into the three panel discussions on May 29: a unique, interactive opportunity.
Further information via the Autosport Podcast, in associated with AVL
And finally, the AVL RACING podcast partnership with Autosport. After the successful launch in 2019 with impressive feedback and interest from the industry the first episode with AVL RACING guest speakers this year was released at the beginning of May. The topic covers the importance and value of simulation, which is one key element in racing in general, but especially at the moment. With the current situation forcing all motorsport to temporarily pause, is there a virtual way for the drivers to remain sharp? When the season gets underway, how do the teams use simulators to improve those driver skills to gain an advantage over their competitors?
These and many other questions will be answered by Michael Peinsitt, Skill Team Leader and Guillermo Pezzetto, Global Product Manager from AVL RACING
The podcast channel is now continuously increasing in importance as an effective channel to entertain people spending time at home. The next one is already in the planning phase. It will highlight the crucial position of a braking strategy in racing. While Autosport is based in London, the AVL guest speakers are forced to make it work by recording remotely at the moment.
The podcast is available via this link.