Franck Vincens, Plant Manager Lannemezan, France

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Franck Vincens Lannemezan France

After joining the Knauf Group in 2009, Franck moved to Knauf Insulation to become the plant manager of our Lannemezan site in France in 2018. The plant supplies the south of the country and exports exclusively to Spain and Portugal. Its southern location ensures both transportation kilometre costs and carbon emissions are kept low.

I am very proud of the team. They have shown incredible spirit.
Franck Vincens, Plant Manager Lannemezan, France

What were you doing before working for KI?

I was plant manager for Knauf Industries in charge of three plants manufacturing food packaging*.

What have been the greatest challenges of 2020?

At the beginning of the year, the furnace, which had been in use for the past 10 years, should have been rebuilt. With optimised preventive maintenance, we were able to keep serving our customers and postpone the schedule to 2021. Afterwards, the greatest challenge was adapting the plant to specific sanitary requirements in the light of the crisis. The health and safety of our teams which is our number one priority had to be ensured.

How did your plant overcome the challenges of the crisis?

There were different phases. At the beginning, when small gestures were prohibited like shaking hands, most people did not believe in the risks and were not particularly concerned. However, when the pandemic took a turn for the worse, many people wanted to stop working and stay at home. We worked hard to ensure all essential health and safety requirements were put in place. And, of course, we also had many discussions and awareness meetings so that everyone understood the importance of the measures that had been introduced and we could all get into the same mindset to overcome the challenges of the virus.

Are there important learnings you would like to share with colleagues?

The most important learning is that communication, discussion, listening and building trust are key to overcoming challenges.

How has the plant been changed by post-COVID safety requirements?

Safety is centered on DASH requirements — distance, air, surface and hygiene. Those requirements became the ‘new normal’ at work — keeping a minimum distance between people, ensuring good room ventilation, thorough cleaning of the workplace and regular handwashing. We have also introduced green square stickers on tables and the floor to define the right position to ensure distancing between people. There are also DASH stickers around the plant to remind people of the new requirements. Hydro-alcoholic dispensers and cleaning towels are available at key areas of the plant.

What key measures were introduced to keep your team As Safe As Home?

The DASH requirements were really a great way to ensure good sanitary behaviour.

What is your future ambition for the site?

Building trust for excellence in business and environmental performance — this is the plant vision. My ambition is to bring this vision to life with the help of the Continuous Improvement journey.

What have been your proudest career achievements?

Having built solid trust inside the team, we are now focused on the ultimate achievement of productivity and efficiency.

Can you provide examples of how Continuous Improvement has transformed your plant?

Continuous Improvement is really an efficient way to change work culture. It is based on personal involvement and responsibility. It takes time but is completely supported by our team.

How has teamwork defined the plant?

At the height of these unusual times in April, we successfully repaired a chain issue and organised the cleaning of the line without the need for external contractors. The production, process and maintenance teams all worked together with the managers on shop floor. This is just one example of many. I am very proud of the team. They have shown incredible spirit.

What successes would you highlight in connection with safety?

The challenge of safety is ensuring everyone is constantly aware of the risk. One of our targets is that everyone must do a Safety Dialogue every month which means talking about an activity and identifying risks together. I am convinced this will contribute to improving our safety culture.

How does your plant contribute positively to the local community?

In Lannemezan, rugby is important to the local community. Knauf Insulation is proud to support the rugby club and to have shared special moments with the community.

What sustainability successes have been important to the plant in terms of waste?

During our production process, wet fibers that are not fit for use can now be compressed to eliminate water and reinjected into the furnace. This is a great example of waste recycling.

What would you say to neighbours who are concerned about the environmental impact of your plant?

We manufacture glass wool rolls, slabs and bags for building insulation which all play an important role in reducing building energy use and reduce emissions. We also take great care during the production process to minimise our environmental impact to meet our sustainability targets and comply strictly with environmental laws and regulations which are closely monitored by the French authorities.

Franck Vincens is currently working in our Illange plant, France


Plant Managers Knauf Insulation
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