From the very outset, the Bordeaux Campus has carried the banner of the digital transformation of Groupe Thales.
Two years after the staff move, feedback has been very positive in terms of the adoption of new working concepts and the shift towards the new digital culture.
Invest in Bordeaux wanted to hear from Pierre-Emmanuel Raux, the director of the Mérignac premises and member, to get a clearer picture of the motor behind this digital transformation.
Has the Thales Campus reached its cruising speed in terms of innovation and new jobs?
It represents the largest industrial property investment to date in the Bordeaux region.
On this site, innovation was factor in the actual building of the premises.
Its 60,000m2, including 28,000m2 of technical platforms and 1,500m2 devoted to innovation, were built in 18 months, thanks to advanced project management and innovative building techniques, such as the use of a digital site model to carry out review studies.
Two years after its opening, it represents a tangible example of adaptation to digital transformation and the integration of innovation.
Thales is currently focusing on staff autonomy, collaboration, agility and controlled risk-taking.
Thales adopted the start-up mentality and has realised that this cultural change is an undeniable asset in attracting and retaining talent.
Over 2,700 employees in avionics and airport systems work at this site, which makes us one of the biggest employers in the region. In addition, this is the only Thales site in France to have as many different job and business profiles: in all, there are no less than fifteen families of professions/skills!
Focused around customer experience and collaborative working, it is the cradle of the design & development and integration & maintenance of avionics suites, civil and military cockpits VDUs, airport radars and surveillance systems.
More than 35,000 aircraft and helicopters in service around the world use equipment developed thanks to the expertise of employees on this site.
How is the Campus in Bordeaux preparing to face the new challenges of future aeronautics?
The 1,500m2 of the Innovation Hub benefit from synergies between the civil and military activities on site to become an integral part of Thales strategy. Major innovation issues in aeronautics are borne by the four key fields of Thales, which are connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cyber-security.
For instance, we are currently working on subjects such as the connected aircraft, which is becoming a genuine communications node to exchange, send and receive external information in real time. This information, enables, for example, the aircraft to recalculate its flight path in real time according to weather data; to send information to the operation centre of its airline and to offer passengers an in-flight connection similar to what they would have at home or in the office. This is thanks to the digital technologies we excel in.
Open to its customers, partners and other Thales entities, in addition to numerous collaborative spaces to foster cooperation, exchange between teams and the transmission of new work methods, it includes a design centre to explore new concepts and a FabLab for rapid prototyping.
It hosts multiple skills and professions, from designer to chemist to cognitive science experts and radar operators and belongs to the international network of Thales Innovation Hubs.
How does this Campus fit into the regional ecosystem?
This collaboration also represents a solid anchor in the regional aeronautics ecosystem which integrates major groups, intermediate-sized companies and SMEs, start-ups, universities, research laboratories, training centres (Aerocampus, IMA, etc.) and competitive clusters (Aerospace Valley, Route des Lasers), as well as clusters such as Aetos in the drone sector and Topos in geo-localisation.
Its location means it is also close to its customers, i.e. armed forces and aeronautics manufacturers.
This unique initiative Digital Tour is the direct result of the group’s strategy, which has invested 7 billion euros since 2014 in digital technology, through several acquisitions and the creation of its Digital Factory last year. The latter, which employs 200 people, is geared towards accelerating digital transformation, not only through products but also through the Group’s work methods.
Campus Thales Bordeaux: key figures
- 2,700 employees, of which more than 70% are engineers and managers
- 80 recruitments for permanent positions in 2018 (all professions)
- More than 100 interns and 50 apprentices
- Activity breakdown: 50% civil, 50% military
- Premises of 60,000m2, including 1 Innovation Hub of 1,500 m2, 1 design centre and 1 FabLab.