LEROY AUTOMATION
A step forward to the new normal world…
Post-pandemic insights from a reinvented mid-market player

Eighteen months ago started an event that has dramatically changed the world, and all of us as individuals. Nobody could foresee nor anticipate how fast, and how far, the COVID-19 virus would spread as a global pandemic… The world health organization (WHO), national governments surrounded by committees of safety specialists and domain experts have been monitoring closely the virus evolutions worldwide, and all made pro-active emergency plans to contain the crisis as much as they could; but the coronavirus outbreak went “out of control”, creating major upheavals in politics, economics, environment, mobility, social behaviours and even philosophy.

The Coronavirus hit many organizations across multiple business sectors, devastating entrepreneurs and destabilizing well-established companies too. Leroy Automation is just one of those mid-market players among others, which has built its resilience though its own internal agility despite the successive lock-downs. Obviously, each organization tried on its own way to react quickly to this unexpected crisis, but it may be worth giving a rough description about how Leroy Automation coped with the immediate disruptions of the pandemic as a use case.

In order to understand better how the company operates, it is important to have a quick overview about its profile. Leroy Automation is a family-owned business established in 1983, which employs circa 70 people nowadays. The skilled engineering resources are mainly assigned to research and development (R&D) teams, and on-site production facilities for electronic product diagnostics, repair and maintenance activities.

For nearly 40 years, the company has been specializing in designing, integrating and manufacturing embedded electronic solutions for rail automation applications including train control and monitoring systems (TCMS), on-board signalling (ETCS - CBTC), and traction power substation controls.

Before the pandemic, Leroy’s activities were mainly executed on-site and remote office was not its strongest asset. However, an initial response to the COVID-19 threat led the company management to reorganize massively and prompty daily routines. The deployment of a combination of remote and on-site work became the new normal, where home-office became yet the default standard. This strategy helped to efficiently manage social and physical distancing inside the workplace by reducing the overall number of staff simultaneously in the premises of the company.

This was not the hardest part to achieve, but it was vital to get the consentement of all collaborators. The main strategic goal to get past this crisis was to keep sustaining hardware product deliveries. It was vital to sustain critical system integration tasks of rolling stock manufacturers and integrators without delaying, nor impacting their own performance in delivering trains and subsystems to their end-customers and railway operators. The resilience, the engagement and a strong supply chain management have been key to successfully deliver customers in this particular long-lasting pandemic situation. While strategic production engineering resources have been volonteered and mobilized to keep manufacturing Leroy Automation’s products, R&D team members and transversal support roles have been alternating between on- and off-site presence.

Although, this new decentralized organizational structure impacted emotional, social and staff management practices, the current crisis has brought new organizational challenges. Such and imposed changes have not only accelerated the digital transformation of the company, but also motivated the employees to move forward and to develop personal initiatives. This pandemic propelled Leroy Automation to upmost Industry 4.0 standard, where information and communication technologies (ICT), security and cyber security policies have been enforced.

The internal IT department has smoothly structured a robust, reliable and efficient IT network infrastructure with optimized data centres; implemented flexible digital VoIP telecoms and real-time messaging, deployed safe software application bundles, and ensured end-to-end communication security. As a result, every internal processes from marketing, sales and project management, company finances and human resources administration to manufacturing scheduling and tight logistics performance can now be handled without any space/time constraints, and with the assurance of best-in-class connectivity and security, allowing all workforce to remain as productive as possible and fully committed.



Even with the difficulties encountered and thanks to those measures, the Leroy Automation company keep positionning as a strong player on the railway marketplace fighting the coronavirus recession. In addition, rail transportation and urban mobility developments could drive the economic recovery after the pandemic. Massive public investment is being made to “reboot” the world machine.

Priority projects include accelerating the digitalisation of rail networks with a new generation of on-board European train control systems (ETCS); strategic plans for international rail upgrades, laying new tracks and improving location connections; boosting autonomous rolling stocks technologies and low-emission urban transit solutions. In such projects, Leroy Automation brings disruptive and proven train control technologies with built-in IEC 62443-compliant safety and TS 50701-capable cyber resilience hardware features, including SIL2-certified I/O modules, high-end remote solid-state power controllers (SSPC), and a broad portfolio of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) train communication gateways for on-board signalling upgrades.

While the crisis is still having an effect on the course of daily activities, Leroy Automation is still moving forward on its international business development strategy. The company is planning to exhibit and to showcase advanced train automation technologies and control solutions at the following ’21 railway trade events starting with the RSSI C&S, Indianapolis - USA in September; the European SIFER rail central marketplace located in Lille - France in October; and the APTA EXPO, Orlando - USA in November.

Now, as of mid-2021, the global pandemic situation seems to be improving daily but not evenly across all world regions. Even if one can even feel that the crisis is on its way to the recovery, “no-one is safe until everyone is safe” as titled in the latest publication Covid-19 Diaries from UNICEF - the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund. Only then, managing for the present and the future will have a meaning with a stronger focus on ensuring long-term value through increased flexibility, fairness and sustainability...

About LEROY AUTOMATION

LEROY AUTOMATION is a company headquartered in Toulouse with a North American subsidiary located in Montreal. For nearly 40 years, LEROY AUTOMATION has been designing, manufacturing and marketing automation products and embedded electronic equipment for on-board rolling stock vehicles, automation solutions for electrification networks, and railway control systems. Especially designed for harsh conditions, the company’s products are suited for demanding electromagnetic and extreme thermal, as well as for high vibration operating environments. From feasibility studies, detailed engineering and design, to maintenance and repair services, LEROY AUTOMATION collaborates with its worldwide customers during the complete life cycle of their products and systems. For several decades, LEROY AUTOMATION has cooperated with ALSTOM, BOMBARDIER, CRRC, SIEMENS, THALES, and others in international project and product developments along with railway and mass transit authorities, industrial and military customers, system integrators and OEMs worldwide.


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