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As part of its annual day dedicated to Socially Responsible Analysts and Investors, Groupe SEB opened the doors of its Burgundy site in Is-sur-Tille. An opportunity to go beyond industrial performance and examine issues of well-being at work

An industrial success story

The Is-sur-Tille site was born in 1976. It went on to become Groupe SEB’s centre of expertise in electrical cooking.

In 2002, following the bankruptcy of Moulinex, its primary rival in the deep fryer market, the site found itself supplying almost the whole market via its clients, beating production records with 2.2 million products delivered.

But the context changed and retailers began sourcing fryers in China, marketing them under their own brands or no brand. Production volumes at Is-sur-Tille were affected heavily, and the site had to reorganise. It chose to focus on innovation as a key factor in creating value, stimulating the market and differentiating its products from its cheaper competitors.

The Actifry revolution took place in 2006: the first “oil-free” fryer on the market, after four years of constant R&D effort. Commercial success followed, and the Is-sur-Tille site entered a new growth phase. In 2009, the threshold of a million Actifry units produced in a year was exceeded, and the range has continued to diversify.


OPS, the operational excellence programme up and running

Groupe SEB’s approach to operational excellence – Operation Performance SEB – was set up in 2010 with the objective of improving the overall performance of its industrial facilities and related services by putting people at the heart of the process. The goal is to reduce costs and add value for our retail clients in terms of quality of service, flexibility and speed.

Particularly advanced in establishing tools and methods, the Is-sur-Tille site, with the backing of all staff, is engaged in empowering its teams, encouraging agility and flexibility and adopting an approach based on sustainable progress.

A system of continuous performance improvement has been gradually introduced, applying working methods adapted to the site: shortening the management chain; AIC – short-interval management – to encourage dialogue; 5S for the organisation of workstations and clarification of instructions; Gemba Walk to systematise daily rounds; maintenance self-checks… In parallel, the site encourages its staff to evolve and increase their abilities through training and support, while also favouring flexibility. This has led to the site being able to call on effective, multidisciplinary teams that can be mobilised quickly to respond to natural productivity demands and variations in workload.


Eco-design, a strong value in the development process

When creating products, the Is-sur-Tille development teams incorporate the Group’s eco-design recommendations at a very early stage, combining reduced resource consumption and recyclability. In order to do this, they rely on the eco-design guide, which was thoroughly revised in 2013.

At each stage of development, the eco-design criteria are clearly expressed, verified and validated before moving on to the next stage: specifications, quality specifications, selection of materials, recyclability study, reduced energy consumption, packaging, palettisation etc. Production constraints are also taken into account very early in the product development process: reducing lifting effort (preventing musculoskeletal disorders), encouraging delayed differentiation (for rapid adaptation to the markets), considering repairability…

Eco-production, protecting the environment and preventing risks

Respect for the environment lies at the heart of the site’s production challenges. The facility has ICPE environmental protection certification by prefect’s decree and was awarded ISO 14001 certification in 2004. The environmental approach is clearly structured in order to respond to regulatory requirements, prevent pollution risks and constantly improve the site’s performance in this area. It involves identifying and preventing pollution (equipment, choice of construction materials, coatings, interviews, analyses, inspections) and raising staff awareness, including encouraging them to report failures or suggest areas for improvement.


A company where life is good

Groupe SEB ensures the responsible management of its human resources by continuing the consolidation of an international framework based on the principles of non-discrimination and respect for all. It encourages staff dialogue in both dimensions, individual and collective, and places great importance on training as an essential factor in skills development.

At the Is-sur-Tille site, there are many collective agreements and support programmes to enable employees to manage their careers under the best conditions – development of mentoring, training, specific support etc. – and to find a comfortable balance between work and home life – the Quality of Life at Work agreement currently being deployed, crèche places, everyday services, CESU…

Health and safety is also a primary concern for the factory, which has signed up to a demanding Health Performance initiative, aiming in particular to reduce MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders) among staff who are particularly exposed, such as people working on product assembly lines. This has had an effect at all levels of the company:

  • Observation and identification of “risky” movements
  • Raising awareness among project teams so that the issue is taken into account from the product development stage through to the industrial process
  • Workstation adaptations and ergonomics
  • Targeted robotisation: handling and very demanding work
  • Regular changes of post to vary the movements made
  • Daily muscle warm-ups and osteopathy sessions


As well as preventing occupational illness and reinforcing a positive feeling among employees, these changes have also increased competitiveness and productivity at the site.