Auto Parts Maker Gives Mobile Workers Tablets to Improve Work Flexibility.
When you lock your car and hear that beeping sound, use your in-car navigation system, or even push the Start button, there’s a good chance that you are using a vehicle subsystem that was designed and built by Delphi Automotive, a leading global supplier of automotive technologies. Headquartered in Gillingham, England, Delphi sells a wide range of solutions to car manufacturers around the world. Its 160,000 employees work at design centers, manufacturing sites, and customer support centers in 32 countries.
With the globalization of the automotive industry has come the globalization of Delphi. “Fifteen years ago, the people I worked with were down the hall. Now they’re all over the world,” says Sean Murphy, Senior Manager of Collaboration Services at Delphi Automotive. Globalization has also brought increased competition and faster product development cycles. Delphi needed to speed up its development processes to survive in this new faster-paced environment.
To help compress the time and distance between employees and speed up decision making, Delphi launched a program called Connected Worker, aimed at giving employees better digital tools. “We’re giving specialized devices to various user populations to give them the mobility, performance, and collaboration tools they need to get their jobs done,” says Andrea Siudara, IT Vice President and Leader of the Connected Worker initiative.
One targeted user segment is the highly mobile professional—about 5,000 employees whose jobs require them to work in multiple Delphi facilities or at customer and partner locations. Delphi sought a full-powered computer that was mobile and had great battery life and fast startup times.
Delphi chose the Surface Pro tablet running the Windows 8.1 Enterprise operating system. “Our employees are all familiar with Windows, which dramatically simplifies adoption, and Windows 8.1 offers a great touch experience, blazingly fast startup times, and rock-solid stability,” says Murphy.
Delphi looked at other mobile devices but thought that the Surface Pro offered the best combination of portability, battery life, and compatibility with Delphi applications. Delphi also knew that its corporate IT team could easily manage and secure the Surface using its existing Microsoft System Center 2007 R2 Configuration Manager installation.
Delphi worked with IT partner Sogeti to build the Windows 8.1 image, roll out the devices, and train employees. To date, Delphi has deployed about 400 of the planned 5,000 Surface tablets, which are being used by engineers, salespeople, and managers. Employees are finding that having their critical Windows-based applications just a “swipe” away makes a huge difference in how productive they can be.
Delphi is also rolling out subscriptions to Microsoft Office 365, a cloud-based suite of email, communications, and collaboration tools that helps employees connect with one another and access documents anytime, from any location and device. Employees are also using Yammer, a social networking tool from Microsoft, to find colleagues around the world, engage with leadership, and solve problems collaboratively.
By giving its mobile professionals better tools, Delphi Automotive has helped them work more productively and make better decisions. Modern tools also help attract talent and keep data more secure.
Work More Flexibly and Productively
When employees have more flexibility in determining when and where they work, they get more done. An employee can quickly start up her Surface after dinner, check email, respond to a colleague in China, and move a decision along without waiting eight hours. “Staying connected and productive is much easier with Windows 8 and Surface,” Murphy says. “These tools help us effectively move work along beyond the typical workday, which is critical in a global company. The flexibility to work when and where necessary gives employees more control over their workdays.”
Make Better Decisions
It’s not just about making quick decisions but also about making better decisions. Recently, a Delphi group in Asia was setting up additional production capacity for a part that was also manufactured in North America. As the group members were talking with the North American team over Yammer and Microsoft Lync Server 2010, they realized that there was an error in the equipment selection process and were able to prevent a mistake that could have potentially cost the company millions.
“Lync, Yammer, Windows 8, and Surface are revolutionizing how we communicate at Delphi; this improves every major process, from sales to product development to manufacturing,” Siudara says.
Attract Top Talent
Delphi competes against top automotive and nonautomotive companies for the brightest college grads. Having modern tools helps tremendously in attracting top talent. “When candidates see our employees walking around with tablets and using Lync to join videoconferences with colleagues around the planet, they think, ‘These people get it; they are investing in the right tools,’” Murphy says.
Strengthen Data Security
In addition to being able to centrally set security policies and manage devices, Delphi will activate the BitLocker feature in Windows 8.1 Enterprise to encrypt the Surface hard drives. This will help protect data on the devices if they are misplaced. “By giving employees a powerful device that they love, we reduce the chance that they will use personal devices to do their jobs, and this improves our overall security posture,” Murphy says.
As part of an effort to modernize its workforce, Delphi Automotive is giving 5,000 mobile professionals Surface Pro tablets running Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Office 365. With their new centrally managed devices and cloud services, employees can work flexibly anytime, anyplace, and make better decisions by having quick access to the right people and information. By providing such tools, Delphi can also better compete for talent.