The Vaillant Group

At a Glance

  • Reduction of travel
  • Improved work- life balance
  • Increased collaboration
  • Carbon footprint reduction

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The Vaillant Group choose Polycom RealPresence Platform to Improve Sustainability, and Collaboration Between Offices Worldwide

Overview

The Vaillant Group is an international family-owned company with a tradition of almost 140 years. Since its founding in the year 1874 the Vaillant Group has been one of the market leaders and technological pace-setters of the heating, ventilation and airconditioning industry. The company develops and manufactures its products and services at sites in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Slovakia, Turkey and China. The Vaillant Group is present in over 20 countries with its own national sales companies, and exports to more than 60 states. Globally the Vaillant Group has more than 12,000 employees, and reports 2.3 billion Euros in annual sales. The headquarters are located in Remscheid, Germany, where Vaillant has over 10 buildings housing more than 1,500 employees.

Challenges

Vaillant Group stands out for its clear assignment of responsibilities and flat hierarchies, which enables decisions to be taken and implemented speedily. But with offices located all over Europe and beyond, the Vaillant Group employees were spending a large amount of time travelling, and it came time to find options, to reduce travel, and optimise communications and knowledge sharing between the locations. The main factors of Vaillant Group’s success are their high demand on quality, speed, flexibility and customer orientation. The challenge was to remain successful, to keep same level of engagement, whilst becoming a more sustainable company by reducing their carbon footprint. Klaus Scheid, Head of Group IT Infrastructure, was given the task to find a telepresence solution that would integrate well within the existing network, deliver high quality video collaboration, and be easy to use.

The Polycom Choice

He and his team started by defining the need and determined how people worked, how dispersed teams were operating and working together. They concluded that by having a telepresence room in each of the bigger Vaillant Group locations, and giving employees other options to meet, the results would be positive. Reducing one day trips by 15%, two day trips by 5%, would prevent 700 trips with associated 450 days of travel, and reduce 400 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge was to find the right solution which would integrate effectively with the existing network and known to the trusted partners: Microsoft® and HP. This led them to Polycom. The Polycom team was then involved in the project and worked alongside HP to deliver the complete project management and deployment in a timely manner.

Scheid explains why they selected Polycom. “At Vaillant Group, we believe it is important to work with ‘best in class’ solutions and suppliers. We opted to work with Polycom for several reasons. The relationship with HP and Microsoft was important to us and influential. The quality of Polycom’s video solutions and their ease of use were equally important. The Polycom RealPresence platform is flexible to support us as we grow, enabling us to deploy more endpoints, or add on devices like tablets, with relative ease.” He continues to say and we know the solution will be able to integrate with the Microsoft solutions once we are ready to do so.”

The solution selected for Vaillant is comprised of the Polycom RealPresence Collaboration Server, the Polycom RealPresence Resource Manager, Polycom Video Border Proxy, Polycom RSS 4000 and over 45 Polycom RealPresence Telepresence solutions, HDX 7000, HDX 8000 and HDX 4500. Together with HP, Polycom designed and delivered the complete project in less than 8 month.

Results and benefits

The telepresence rooms are accessible to all employees at The Vaillant Group.

Klaus Scheid knows that in order for a solution like this to be adopted, it needs to be easy to use. He explains “Each location is registered on the address book. So by clicking on the location you want to connect with, you establish the video communications. As regular team meetings are held with several locations, each meeting room has an identification, such as purchasing meeting room, making it again simple to each person do connect to the meeting.”

Internally steps have been put in place by the communications team to increase adoption, and promote the usage of the Polycom RealPresence platform.

Christoph Schnier, Group Purchaser IT and Telecommunications is a great supporter. His team of 15 members used to meet several times a year in person for a five hour meeting. Since the delivery of the Polycom solutions, he can meet with his dispersed team face-to-face on more regular basis. Schnier is also using video to communicate with his suppliers, and partners and explains “video is great, especially if we are working on complex issues. Being able to see the person facilitates the conversation, and we are able to find solutions quicker." But for Schnier, the benefits of the platform don’t stop there, he smiles and shares "I can be in London in the morning, Paris in the afternoon, and home for dinner".

For the IT team, using the Polycom Platform has facilitated project development. Prior to using video it was difficult to get everyone involved in brain storming sessions, and then manage a project with remote colleagues. Today, the team is meeting regularly face-to-face, and collaboration has increased. The sound quality is great, and as English is the language spoken by all Vaillant employees, but often not their mother tongue, being able to see each other helps understand each other. Most of the endpoints delivered have 2 screens, which allow simple content sharing.

Dr Jens Wichtermann, Director of Group Communication & Sustainability shares with us the importance for the Vaillant Group to be sustainable. "As an international company with headquarters in Germany, it is important for us to be in close communications and collaboration with our subsidiaries all over the world. The Polycom RealPresence Platform allows us to increase efficiency, reduce our travel cost, and improve internal communication. It allows us to be sustainable, which is very important to us."

The Future

For the Vaillant Group, the objective is to increase adoption internally, and keep reducing travel. To do that the Vaillant Group plans to keep innovating and giving employees more collaborations tools. They are in process of testing Polycom RealPresence mobile on tablets, and building a pilot with Microsoft® Lync™ Server 2010.


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"The Polycom RealPresence Platform allows us to increase efficiency, reduce our carbon footprint, and our employees have a better work life balance. It allows us to be truly sustainable, which is very important to us."


- Dr Jens Wichtermann
Director of Group communications & Sustainalitiy, The Vaillant Group