We’re Ready to Step into the Future
We are well aware how important it is to have a “drive”. In fact, a drive is not just about going by car – even though we are involved in improving this activity each and every day. It also means energy, enthusiasm or the right impulse to win. In other words, it covers the determination to fulfil the company vision.
Therefore, we have renamed our internal newpaper to – Drive. The newspaper is published to inform you about Digiteq and what is going on in a regular and open manner. We would like to present lots of interesting projects we work on, introduce individual working teams and colleagues and touch hot issues in the newspaper four times a year. We believe that sharing informations connects – both people and various departments.
The printed version of Drive will be available at all our branches. Moreover, its electronic version will be always available at www.digiteqautomotive.com/drive, and you will be able to access it after logging in. Its electronic version for mobiles and tablets will differ from the printed one a little – namely because it enables us to add enhanced photo galleries or videos to chosen topics.
The feature topic of the first issue is, quite understandably, the evolution of our company and the new organization structure. As well as the above, we also introduce innovation ambassadors, the CDIS project and several interesting working teams and colleagues who you can meet on the premises every day.
And because we want Drive to be informative and enjoyable, and to convey the information that is interesting, we would like you to get involved in the process of creating it. Are you involved in the development of a new product? Are you working on an interesting project? Do you happen to know about a colleague with an exciting hobby? Let us know – just drop us a line on the newspapers’s team e-mail email@example.com.
We believe that Drive will soon become your sought-after source of company information. And we hope that you will like the first issue.
Andreas Hauptvogel and Milan Klaus
Innovations drive us forward
We have got our own innovation ecosystem that allows us to bring new products and services that with an added value for the business – they present combinations of technologically breakthrough solutions.
Innovation ambassadors training during which they could have a hand-on experience with the improvement of the wheelchair users’ mobility in Prague using the HCD method
Innovations substantially improve the competitiveness of our company and each of us has a chance to participate in the innovation programme. A lot of colleagues are already engaged in it, and it presents an opportunity for their personal and professional growth.
You can meet our innovation ambassadors during our innovation challenges. The fourth of them for this year, called “Future mobility”, will start soon, and more of them on other topics will begin right at the beginning of next year.
Human Centered Design (HCD)
It is not an easy job to propose, design, and implement a product that is fully functional, and perfect in all aspects. It needs thorough thinking, research, creativity, and perseverance. HCD is a process of designing products and services according to the actual needs of end users. The aim is to think about products and services from the view of the actual user and his everyday life, his thinking, emotions, and needs. Not to build something based on ideas from the working desk that only may appear that they “would definitely work”.
- Create new products and services that we could offer to our customers
- Support members of the VW Group during the development of new products and services and their implementation and placement on the market
- Support the VW Group with creating patents
- Develop our own products and services, improve our know-how
What do the members of the innovations team say?
“I’m convinced that Digiteq Automotive can really contribute to the development of innovative and intuitive solutions that will improve the mobility of this and future generations. I’ve been in the position of an innovation leader for over two years now, and I’ve been trying to focus my experience and energy on building a sustainable innovation team and ecosystem. Our aim is to engage both innovators and the management into creating and thinking outside the box, and gradually create products and services that end users and out customer will care about. This will also mean that our employees will gain new competences, and they will develop them. We have started the job at hand at full throttle this year, and I believe that the year of 2020 will be about acceleration and anchoring innovations in our company’s DNA.”
“We are actively changing the world around us to be better. Both from the angle of view of creating an innovation ecosystem in the company, and by opening automotive to our generation and to the future generations as well. It’s a kind of work that makes sense. I actually pretty much enjoy connecting people and technologies. And – there’s a lot of talent in our team.”
“As an innovation ambassador, I have an opportunity to learn new things and work with people on interesting solutions of various issues.”
“I’ve been into text management, and I’ve found out that I need to combine the focused work when I tend to sit long hours with something more dynamic. The ambassador is a connection among experts, inspires synergies, and creates space for creativity, intellect, and inventiveness. This is exactly what serves as as counterbalance to my work in text management.”
“My motivation is to offer creating projects to other colleagues, too, and to show that ‘it is possible to improve the company’. Innovations support the growth of employees –technicians who are able to design a project meaningfully, which I consider important for long-term survival of the company as it is simply impossible for a few managers to see and solve all company issues at hand.“
“I’ve accepted the role of an innovation ambassador as a chance to try a completely different kind and character of work and make my day more diverse. It also represents an opportunity to learn new skills. I enjoy watching a participate in the process where ideas gradually transform into new products and solutions.”
“My motivation to accept the role of an innovation ambassador is the chance to take part in something that actually drives the company.”
We’re Ready to Step into the Future
Most people are conservative by nature, and so less than enthusiastic about changes, whatever those changes might be. Perhaps that’s also your attitude toward the restructuring at Digiteq, which we’ve been planning throughout the year. With the company’s new structure scheduled to be launched at the very beginning of 2020, you might be asking why it is necessary to make changes if everything is working just fine.
“The answer to that question is simple. The company is now in a favorable situation, ready to take the next step and move on,” explains Andreas Hauptvogel. “On the contrary, if everything remained the same, it would be bad news for everyone,” adds Milan Klaus. “It would be as if we were sending a message to people that no future is planned for the company. Which is not the case; we do have plans for the future.”
We don´t want to miss the boat
The restructuring stems from several factors, some of which are external, while others concern purely internal affairs. One of the external factors is the fact that the automobile architecture is changing. Volkswagen is aiming to transform cars into moving computers, or smartphones, into which users will be able to download new functions.
“We cannot but respond to a development of such a fundamental nature,” stresses Andreas Hauptvogel. “Until now, our business has largely focused on hardware and electronics. From now on, we also want to focus and strengthen the development of new software functions in cars. However, this in no way means that we want to steer away from what has been our specialization so far,” he adds.
Klaus concurs: “We won’t be dividing areas of interest into sexy and boring. We are not willing to polarize our company and we won´t do that. We need to be able to deal with everything, that is in the line with our company strategy. Plus, areas of interest that might seem boring might actually be much more interesting in financial terms than fashionable trends, the future of which is uncertain. At any rate, the point is that we don’t want to be a dinosaur that’s missed the boat,” he adds.
Change at Volkswagen
Apart from changes in the car architecture, all of the key players on the market are restructuring their operations. Changes are taking place within Volkswagen, where a dedicated task force has been set up at the level of the board of directors to tackle digitization. That was one of the reasons why Digiteq decided to restructure its business.
“In addition, we have grown almost to double in size in the last three years, from approximately 240 to 420 workers. Next year, our headcount is expected to come close to the 500 mark,” says Petr Bergl, who is in charge of the Change management team, adding that during the recent period of intensive growth, certain areas of interest emerged spontaneously within the company.
One of the problems is that as many as three different departments might be working on the same issue in good faith at the same time. “In a nutshell, this means that we’re inventing the wheel three times over. We need to modify the corporate structure to make it consistent with the fact that we have 500 workers, and to ensure that work tasks are dealt with efficiently in the appropriate departments.”
(from left side) Jiří Fojtík, Michal Šindelka, Jan Vlasák, Jana Kocverová, Jakub Zelfl, Petr Bergl, Jiří Mandík, Taťána Poděbradská, Franck Clowez a Jiří Holada. Na fotce ještě chybí Alena Vlčková, Věra Mouchová, Emília Karisná a Martin Severa
Things That Need to Be Done
The restructuring will have a number of benefits for the company’s operations, but there are certain risks and issues that need to be tackled as well.
Possible System Failure
During a certain period, the change might affect internal IT systems or access to the Volkswagen system. “It could have an adverse effect on day-to-day operations. For example, it might happen that your vacation in eDochazka will be temporarily approved by a different person. Likewise, we might not have access to some of Volkswagen’s group-wide systems. We are very intensive working on mitigating the risks, or better still, eliminating them altogether,” says Bergl, openly describing the risks.
High-demand Season Not Forgotten
New projects to be launched in the New Year are being planned now. “Because of the restructuring, we’re chasing two rabbits, but it’s important because we must not forget our main business,” reports Bergl, explaining that the change will be implemented based on clear rules regarding responsibility for individual projects, but it will also include presentations staged to provide customers with necessary information.
Creation of Centers of Excellence
The new structure will include centers responsible for maintaining and sharing our corporate know-how. Each center will be headed by a person who will supervise a team in charge of maintaining and further developing a given competence. The supervisor will assign workers to important conferences, will liaise with firms that can be used for short-term assistance, and will monitor developments outside the company. Whenever a major advance is achieved in his field, the supervisor will have to map it and implement it inside our company. Initially, there will be two or three centers.
Seven Important Things You Should Know about the Restructuring
1) Made in Digiteq
The restructuring was planned within the framework of middle management workshops. For instance, there were three two-day workshops focused solely on defining the corporate structure, specifically the number of departments and topic fields and their specialization. The restructuring project has been entirely prepared based on the experience of the company’s managerial employees. It wasn’t that an army of external consultants came and created blueprints as to how we should proceed.
2) Smooth Transition
To ensure that the change that will come into effect on January 1 is not overly abrupt, a Change Management Team has been established to oversee the implementation process. Most of the team members are Digiteq employees, managers and department representatives. The team is very diverse and targets all of the areas that will be affected by the change. Its members include IT, Controlling, HR, Risk Management, and other experts. They’re complemented by Miriam Fridrich, the only external consultant, who has helped formulate the targets of the change management process.
3) Continuity Above All
The change is not only revolutionary, but also evolutionary. As opposed to destroying everything old and rebuilding the company anew, the objective was to preserve the continuity of both our business and our people. “We prepared the process so that as many employees as possible would identify with it, and the entire process would be completed without a glitch,” says Bergl, adding, “Some people wanted the change to go deeper. For instance, they wanted our company become an agile organisation. However, Digiteq is a diverse company, and agile management is not yet suitable for us. Nonetheless, wherever possible, we can resort to agile project management; the new structure in no way prevents that.”
4) Better Sharing of Resources and Responsibilities
Among other factors, the restructuring targets processes with a view to improving cooperation across all departments. Already now, workers can be “borrowed”, but there is no procedure for sharing responsibilities. The change will make that possible, as it will allow sharing responsibility for finances and results among several departments. That will allow the company to undertake more complex, more extensive projects.
5) Interesting Impulse
Instead of the original four departments, there will be six, and they will oversee new areas of interest. The new arrangement will provide opportunities for all those who aspire to work in a management position and advance in their career. At the same time, it will improve communication with candidates on the labor market, thanks to the fact that our corporate structure will be more transparent.
6) For Years to Come
The new structure has been designed to accommodate 500 and more workers. Even though the current corporate structure was viable for as many as 400 staff members, it was a borderline situation. The new arrangement will allow the company to grow further over the course of at least the three upcoming years.
The Change Management Team includes a communications unit responsible for processing feedback from staff members. If you have a question, contact one of its members directly – Jana Kocverova, Jakub Zelfel, Taťána Poděbradska or Věra Mouchova. Or write an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Andreas Hauptvogel: Our Goal Is to Stay Ahead of the Others
Have trends in the automotive sector forced you to go ahead with the restructuring?
We don’t follow trends. On the contrary, we do our best to stay ahead of those. We examine new ways of doing things, and implement innovations into our organization – at present, that mainly applies to such important trends as digitization and software development. We want to play a greater strategic role and focus our attention in this regard, and to offer customers better support. However, we’ll never focus on every trend. For example, autonomous driving systems are not our main forte, and to succeed in this segment, we would need more experts working on those topics today. It would be difficult for us to enter this area, especially in view of the fact that there are specialized companies already out there. I want to stress, however, that despite new areas of interest coming into play, we don’t want to lose sight of our testing expertise. That’s a segment where we have an excellent reputation, we do it very well, and it will continue and improve to be an important part of our business in the future.
Will the change improve efficiency within the company?
I’m sure that it will. Before, workers in different departments used different methods, different tools, and they didn’t communicate. To be able to learn from one another and to be productive, we have to share knowledge and communicate with one another. The restructuring will allow us to take advantage of synergies within the company in order to improve our operations. It’s an immense opportunity not only for the company as a whole, but also for individual employees to become experts. In addition, I’m sure that the new structure will bring new energy and new ideas, which will position us even better. I can sense that happening already now, and it’s only good for all of us.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge in the automotive industry?
The fact that carmakers are transforming into software companies. Downloading software into cars in the same way as applications into mobile phones, that’s the biggest challenge. Acquiring the know-how to do that is of key importance. What complicates this, however, is that if you download an application into your smartphone and it doesn’t work, you delete it or restart either the app or the Phone. In a car, that’s not possible in the same manner. Customers expect everything to always work perfectly and rebooting the car or an important driving app is not an option. Another challenge is – car security and car hacking. Once again, that requires a much higher level of security than is the case with smartphones.
Milan Klaus: We’re Joining the Ranks of the Big Players
What is the reason behind restructuring the company’s operations?
One of the reasons is to allow the company to grow. During the two and a half years I’ve been here, the company has almost doubled in number of employees und tripled in reveneus. Some units now have 50, instead of 20 employees, and that poses problems with their management. In addition, we’re entering another developmental stage – we’re joining the ranks of the big players. The Czech Accounting Act defines a large enterprise as a company with more than 250 employees, which we’ve now had for a long time, and over a billion crowns in turnover, which we’re approaching fast. We have 420 employees, and our turnover this year will amount to nearly 900 million crowns. This means that, barring some major catastrophe, we’ll be a large enterprise according to Czech standards within no more than one or two years. The other viewpoint is qualitative in nature – the world is changing, and we must go with the flow to prevent becoming a dinosaur that will last only one or two years before realizing that it’s too late. Another reason behind the change is to make our areas of interest more attractive for our current employees and prospective candidates. Likewise, we want to give the company a new impulse, to show that there is a future ahead of us.
Could the change be more extensive?
We didn’t want a revolution. Even though there are companies that have completely transformed themselves and changed everything, from their structure, to processes and work positions, we didn’t want to go down that path. Our approach is more prudent. There will be changes in about a half of our business; the other half of the company will notice essentially nothing. We believe that this strategy is more judicious, that the organization will be able to cope with the changes without the departure of dozens of workers and other adverse effects.
How long will the new structure last?
We’re not pretending to be geniuses. We don’t a have crystal ball through which to see the future. We don’t know what will happen in 10 years. Likewise, nobody knows how fast electromobility will advance. No matter what, the corporate structure should not change too often. After all, it requires considerable effort, and the number of changes the company is able to withstand is limited. Our structure is now ready for 500 and more workers over the next three to five years. That’s a reasonable outlook, as far as we’re able to see. In five years, could have maybe 1,000 workers, and it will be time to do something new and different.
The CDIS allows us to access the best VW technologies
There are several technologies for keyless opening of cars available in the automotive market at the moment. Still, the one that would include digital verification to ignite a car does not exist – and yet, it would allow us to drive even without a conventional key, only with a mobile phone or a smart watch in the future. Well – one is being developed right now. The one called CDIS (Car-on-Demand Interim Solutions). The Stefan Jass’s team is working on it at Digiteq Automotive. “I have been driving without a key for half a year. I ignite my car by a mobile phone as if you do things yourselves, you can fine-tune everything and do the right debugging,” Stefan smiles.
This technology also collects various data about the car, including its GPS position, way of driving, state of the engine, and level of oil. In the future, it may even allow online car diagnostics, etc.
As said above, a digital verification is a feature that the competition is also working on, but the major advantage of the Digiteq’s solution is in time. While it takes up to 3 minutes to open a car by the another solution, Stefan’s team uses different technologies to speed up the key’s authentication and digital verification to ignite the car. And the result? If the unit is in the sleeping mode, it takes just three seconds, if it is “idle” it take a mere half-second. “We are working hard to make it in real time,” the team leader says.
In the first league
As well as business opportunities, a great asset for us is also the fact that our company has gained access to state-of-the-art technologies thanks to working on CDIS – up to the locked chambers of key encryption in this very case. Digiteq Automotive is the first and only subsidiary authorized by Volkswagen to implement cryptography.
This is a breakthrough step, and only Tier I suppliers could get so far in the past. This tier comprises only three companies, for example Continental or Hella. The difference between these companies and Digiteq rests in the fact that while Continental or Hella develop software, add some hardware to it, and finally supply a complete key, Digiteq’s way is different – we develop and describe what needs to be done, and hand it over to a “provider”, i.e. to a production company producing the final product. “We will provide the producer with instruction only, without know-how concerning cryptography, and it has no idea what it produces,” Stefan Jass explains.
Project that nobody believed in
It is not only a huge opportunity. A lot of work, risks, and responsibility come with it as well. “With about 11,000 shared cars it is quite challenging, and when we are talking about mass production of ID.3, i.e. Some 500,000 cars, it is basically a whole new level.” Stefan emphasizes. “Just imagine that we would make a mistake somewhere, and it would be necessary to recall the cars. It is a crucial project that brings us money, but it is enormously demanding at the same time.
All this started in August 2016. Nobody believed that the original pre-development project could earn anything. “When we presented a sample after a year and a half, our managing director at that time was literally speechless. The same happened in Germany. Indeed, the project that only a few believed in has become a Volkswagen’s flagship in the field of mobility and telematic units,” Stefan Jass smiles.
At the moment, CDIS is one of your key projects, and 10 people are involved in it only in our company – and 82 more in Israel, Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
CDIS Project Manager Stefan Jass is also Head of Projects and Products (DQP). Prior to that, he was Head of our IT department.
What can all this be used for?
Basically, it opens up a few important business opportunities for Digiteq Automotive. The following ones are the most prominent for the time being:
The Volkswagen Group is already operating about 1,700 cars in the framework of its We Share, We Move projects in Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, and Wolfsburg. It allows you to choose a free cars via your mobile and drive it immediately. It is expected that there will be about 11,000 electromobiles of the group’s marques and makes in Europe in the foreseeable future, and they will be launched outside Germany as well. Prague will be the first in line, with Budapest, Vienna, and Paris to follow suit soon.
It took a long way to the point when it is conceivable to launch thousands of cars in streets. “There was a project with three cars at the very beginning. Then we added 50 more, and finally 1,700 of them,” Stefan Jass describes.
Volkswagen will launch the sales of ID.3 – a purely electric car – in the first half of the next year, and CDIS will be implemented in it on a batch basis. So, customers will be able to choose it as a certified accessory.
CDIS is a part of the Internet of things (IoT). This will make it possible to build data mining above this technology and improve traffic-related information, predict congestions, etc. It would be something like the Waze navigation app, bound with Volkswagen Group cars. As soon as there will be more cars in a similar system, it will also be an interesting topic for insurance companies, predictive service, and other services.