Sagem Industries consolidated in Sagem

Effective January 1, 2012, Sagem, a Safran group company, will expand its scope of business by consolidating Sagem Industries, which basically comprises the Fougères plant in Brittany, not far from Mont-Saint-Michel. Just five years ago, this plant was part of Sagem Communications and turned out some 100,000 mobile phones a day. Safran divested this business in 2008, but decided to keep the plant, and convert it to the production of electronics for aviation and defense applications by leveraging its proven expertise in mass production and logistics, notably printed circuit boards. As an integral part of Sagem, this plant can now fully capitalize on its broad-based skills and expertise.

Production for PC boards…

Sagem's Fougères plant is ramping up production of printed circuit boards for the company's aerospace and defense products, in particular avionics and optronics. However, adapting to this high-value-added technology sector required retraining the plant's personnel. The Brittany-based plant's competencies were consolidated by transferring operations from Sagem's Montluçon and Poitiers plants. These new facilities now focus on their core businesses: navigation systems at Montluçon and optics, optronics and infrared seekers at Poitiers.

… and for the FELIN soldier modernization system

Sagem's new facility, which until now reported to Safran group headquarters, is already contributing to FELIN, an integrated equipment suite that is the key to the soldier modernization program for the French infantry. The plant manufactures and assembles several components and subassemblies used in the 22,588 FELIN systems ordered by the French Ministry of Defense, including the radio, the Sitcomde, a tactical terminal for platoon and section leaders, the man-machine interface for dismounted soldier, and power management equipment, especially for vehicle-mounted systems. The plant was given responsibility for these parts due to the similarity of the skills needed with its legacy expertise in mobile phones. As part of the overall production system for FELIN, Fougères complements Sagem's Poitiers plant, specialized in the production of optronics (aiming sight and multifunction binoculars).

The other main strength of the Fougères plant is its knowledge of logistics, a key to management of the FELIN program. Fougères is now Sagem's main hub for the preparation and delivery of FELIN: nearly 1,000 systems are delivered for a single regiment, which means 65,000 separate articles. In the last step before delivery to armed forces, the FELIN systems are loaded into eighteen 30-ton semi-trailer trucks, on 520 palettes and in 5,600 boxes. Fougères delivers all systems for four regiments per year.

At the same time, Fougères leverages these skills to help other Safran group companies. For instance, in January 2009 helicopter engine specialist Turbomeca chose Fougères to take care of logistics and storage for half of its spare parts stocks, as well as the pool of spare engines and modules.

A supply chain for critical aircraft parts

Sagem gives Turbomeca a modern supply chain, suited to the requirements of helicopter turbine engine operators. The watchword here is responsiveness: 20% of the daily shipments of engines and modules for Turbomeca are for AOG (Aircraft on Ground) situations, where an aircraft is grounded for repairs. The parts have to leave Fougères within two hours and get to the helicopter operator as quickly as possible, anywhere in the world. As a center of excellence for the production of printed circuit boards, Fougères also works for Safran Electronics, a division of Sagem, making it a pivotal supplier for onboard computers. These electronic processing units are an integral part of today's engines, braking and landing systems, avionics and navigation systems, and optronics.

700 highly qualified workers

The highly successful transformation of Fougères is due to the 700 highly skilled employees at the plant. In 2009 and 2010, 356 employees exercised their rights to training courses to maintain and develop their skills. More than 70,000 hours of training were provided over the same period. In-house, colleagues from Sagem's Montluçon plant provided training and tutoring in the new skills required. These training programs resulted in the issuance of 194 professional certificates, giving line workers and technicians an additional qualification recognized industry-wide.

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