Roland Vardanega, 54, joined Peugeot in 1967 as a manufacturing engineer. In February he became manager of the new PSA/Peugeot-Citroen platform division, and he is a member of PSA's executive committee. He was interviewed in Paris by Automotive News Europe Reporter Stephane Farhi.
PSA now has five platform teams - four dedicated to vehicles and one to engines, transmissions and components. How do they work?
Let's take the example of PF1, the platform organization dedicated to small cars. It's managed by one boss, Jacques Pinault. It includes the future platform for the small vehicles Peugeot and Citroen will launch after 2000. The team started work a few months ago and will be completed soon.
Besides, all the current projects are attached to the platform organization. It includes the Peugeot 206 and the 106/Saxo lifetime teams, which look after existing cars until their end.
The PF1 team is located at the Velizy technical center, west of Paris, with outposts in Aulnay (the plant for the 106 and Saxo) and Mulhouse (the plant for the 206). It also has connections with La Garenne, PSA's advanced projects technical center on the outskirts of Paris.
Both PF1 and PF3, the platform for large cars, will be located in Velizy. PF2, the platform for medium cars will be in Sochaux.
What is unique about PSA's platform organization?
PSA has chosen to have two hierarchies, one for the platforms and vehicle projects, the other for the trades and skills.
We have divided the car into six parts: body and doors, electric and electronic architecture, interior equipment, exterior equipment, powertrain, and engine adaptation.
For each part, engineering and manufacturing people will be gathered in an area called ZTC (zone de travail commun or common work area).
We will also create a standardized 106/Saxo team for the life of the product. Up to now, these lifetime teams were not the same for Peugeot and Citroen. Peugeot teams had 400 people and Citroen teams had 40 people. These new teams will have 120-140 people. They will be responsible for controlling quality, slashing component costs, and developing facelifts and limited editions.
What is the role of the project manager?
In the previous organization, the project managers were team coordinators. In the new organization, we want them to be not only managers, but to actually make the new vehicles.
They normally report to platform managers, but they also report to Jean-Martin Folz himself. During the first year of a new car program that we call the program advanced phase, the project manager will report to the innovation division, led by Robert Peugeot.
We don't want them to be too influenced or held back by the platform teams people, who can have conservative attitudes or can be very cost-conscious. The project manager must have his mind high in the sky for one year in order to encourage breakthrough ideas.