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Bernard Chambon, Rhodia - New business Model

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Rhodia's performance, as with any chemical manufacturer, depends on the situation of the rest of the industry. We, indeed, sustained losses during the first part of 2009 Keep in mind, before September of 2008, that is before the crisis, the situation was good. Chemical corporations had inventories that were based on very high-priced raw materials. When the economy collapsed in October, we had to maintain very high inventory levels, with very high-priced raw materials. This inventory had to be sold off over time. This took a good deal of time. The story of Rhodia, is the story of Rhône Poulenc, the story of a group with a long tradition of social dialogue.When facing a crisis in 2003, it had already been possible to come to a compromise, laid out in an agreement signed with the labor unions. A restructuring plan, which resulted in the elimination of 4,000 jobs across 27 subsidiaries in France, a complicated legal situation that was laid out in an agreement signed by France's five labor unions, including the CGT,France's largest labor union confederation. All of this happened without an hour lost to a worker's strike. To confront the crisis, Rhodia used all of the tools at its disposal: short-time employment, leaves of absence, as well as employee sharing, which was used on a rather limited scale. I have three comments to make regarding the assessment: HR departments--I concur with my colleague on this point--have a sense of morals. What would happen in a company if they didn't? First comment: a good labor policy requires economic visibility. This is the main challenge today. There is little short-term visibility, something that is especially true for an industry like mine. We are all in a situation of major uncertainty, and it is very difficult to make decisions, whether in regard to capital or human investments. Beyond the economic and financial crisis is the lack of visibility over the medium-term, reinforced by the energy crisis. In fact, it's much more complicated than that; this involves climate change, renewable raw materials, new energy sources. We must redistribute ourselves, re-imagine our industrial model. This revolution will, inevitably, disrupt the former state of affairs. The question remains as to how quickly the old model will disappear and the new model will take its place. It will not be an easy change to manage.

Video Details

Duration: 2 minutes and 48 seconds
Country: France
Language: French (France)
Genre: None
Views: 82
Posted by: cscideas on Jan 12, 2010

Bernard Chambon, Assistant General director for Rhodia, discusses the series of events that lead his company to sustain losses during the first quarters of 2009. How was Rhodia able to manage its resources in such an uncertain economic context? What new economic models can be expected after the crisis?

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