The massive use of remote collaboration and the modification of organizations brought about by the health crisis can lead companies to want to accelerate their digital projects transformation, as shown by Pascal Wronski, CIO of Saint-Maclou. While technologies such as 3D printing illustrate the capacity for rapid innovation.

The organizational urgency imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic has led companies to switch to collaboration technologies more quickly than some had anticipated. According to a Citrix / OnePoll study, 74% of the French teleworkers questioned (out of a thousand) had never experienced remote work before. Adaptations made to the load step which rely on the communication infrastructures and software already available but which could well transform the habits of companies in the long term and lead them to evolve faster. While in the field, innovative technologies such as 3D printing are used to try to find quick solutions to concrete problems.

More generally, “this crisis will lead companies to have to accelerate certain digital transformation projects and to work in a more agile manner”, believes Pascal Wronski, CIO of Saint-Maclou. The specialized brand, forced to close its stores due to confinement and without a commercial site, created in a few days a catalog of online offers associated with an 0800 number and a cell of telemarketers to advise customers and allow home deliveries. These sellers were quickly equipped at home with the secure environment and the application to manage requests.

On the CIO side, 90% of the telework teams. As the “run” part of their workload is temporarily reduced, they devote themselves to IT projects and, in this context of crisis, how to be able to accelerate the most strategic. “We have the will to go much faster on the implementation of the merchant site”, quotes as an example Pascal Wronski who considers it necessary to use this period of reflection to find technological and organizational solutions, to take a step back, to open up to other ways of proceeding and encourage innovation. “I am convinced that this crisis will make it possible to become much more agile on business projects, in a test and learn mode, to make much clearer trade-offs.” It is often on forced projects that we get to the point, he recalls, estimating that the organizations set up with telework will also bring the teams to work differently.

3D printing, an example of acceleration

Before the pandemic, the progression of 3D printing was already going well, both on an industrial level and on an individual scale. The maker movement, which consists of making objects yourself, had already evolved considerably with the technologies available in fablabs, 3D printing services and 3D printers acquired on a personal level. Initiatives are currently underway by professionals in the sector – including specialized sites such as 3dnatives  or 3dprint  – which are joined by individuals , in particular in the manufacture of protective masks with visors or valves for breathing apparatus, such as those Italian company Isninnova associated with a diving mask. There remains, however, the problem of the homologation by the medical community of the elements produced, guaranteeing their effectiveness. The manufacturer Copper3D, specialized in antimicrobial materials, which offers to download the open source file of an N95 mask to be printed in 3D, warned  that it was not a final model, which was therefore not intended to be printed or sold and that a version 2.0 was arriving.

The industrialists join their efforts

Industrialists are using their 3D production equipment, such as the car manufacturer Ford, which prints visors on its FDM Stratasys and SLS equipment from EOS. Manufacturers of 3D printers are helping  Stratasys  by delivering face protections from several of its sites, while FormLabs, in Massachusetts, has  launched the production  of nasal swabs for samples intended for Covid screening tests. -19.

In Spain, a consortium of the Leitat technological institute, CZFB, HP, the car manufacturer Seat and other partners, has developed from 3D printed parts, a medical ventilator validated by the director of innovation of the Tauli Park hospital. Airbus and Navantia joined the project. Another initiative, the 3D Hubs on-demand manufacturing platform has launched a fund  to ensure the production of vital components for medical equipment projects related to the fight against Covid-19.