Transforming home and industrial businesses.

Saint-Gobain speeds up the digitalization of its business processes and increases employee productivity deploying Adobe Acrobat Sign internationally.

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Established

1665

Employees: 166,000
Paris, France
www.saint-gobain.com

12K

Electronic signatures each month

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Objectives

Integrate a standardized electronic signature solution that fulfills company requirements

Keep pace with Saint-Gobain’s transformation and digitalization of its business processes

Facilitate smooth integration with existing tools

Comply with eIDAS, GDPR, and local regulations

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Results

Cuts signing time of HR documents from 2 weeks to 24 hours

Meets international compliance rules

Increases employee productivity and optimizes business processes

Secured employee buy-in, with more than 12,000 monthly transactions in 24 countries across 13 different departments

Speed up the signing process to keep pace with transformation

“How can we legitimately claim to be an innovative business and promote digitalization to our customers without having a digital signature ourselves?” asks Blandine Bruno, Senior Legal Counsel at Saint-Gobain.

 

Saint-Gobain is a French industrial flagship specializing in production, transformation and distribution of goods and services for the home and industrial markets. With more than 166,000 employees in 75 countries, the company aims to be the global leader in sustainable construction. Since late 2018, Saint-Gobain has set about this by launching a “Transform and Grow” program, which re-centers the company’s activities around its aims and simplifies its organization. 

 

“The transformation plan had a major impact on HR and specifically support services. In France alone we were going to be making around 50 amendments to contracts per month, for 12 months,” explains Guillaume Baudrand, HR Digital Project Director for Distribution at Saint-Gobain and previous Deputy HR Director for Support at Saint-Gobain’s headquarters. 

Simplify the digitalization of HR processes

The requirement was to simplify the process of signing documents and speed up recruitment. Previously, a transfer involved holding several face-to-face meetings with the employee and stakeholders in order to sign the contract. In the case of recruitment, the company sent the contract by post and the candidate had to come back with it to sign it in person. This process was even longer and more painstaking because the HR teams had to keep track of it. A new approach was required to complete the transformation.   

 

Other departments quickly showed their interest in electronic signature. “Local initiatives proliferated, which highlighted the need to integrate a standardized solution that met our security requirements," explains Daniel Battaia, Senior Digital Project Manager for Saint-Gobain, entrusted with overseeing the work and project management support for the e-signature integration project.


“I am convinced that the ease with which it integrates with other solutions is one of Acrobat Sign’s great strengths.”

 
Daniel Battaia

Senior Digital Project Manager, Saint-Gobain


A secure solution scaled for mass international deployment

Adobe Acrobat Sign, which some countries already used for various functions, had received favorable feedback. Although it met business expectations perfectly, it still had to pass rigorous scrutiny by the IT Department. “Cybersecurity is an absolute priority at Saint-Gobain. We have a dedicated team that assessed Acrobat Sign to check its compliance. A solution cannot be integrated without its approval,” adds Battaia. 

 

The other validation criteria focused on:

  1. The ease of connecting Acrobat Sign to existing tools with a view to complete digitalization of processes;
  2. The solution’s ergonomics, to ensure easy appropriation by employees;
  3. Its suitability for international deployment;
  4. The editor’s reliability;
  5. The solution's ability to comply with legislation as it evolves.

Having been chosen as Saint-Gobain’s preferred electronic signature solution in France and internationally, Acrobat Sign has moved from being the recommended solution to the standard solution for all business units; Battaia considers it to be 'strong positioning for IT and digital management'. Acrobat Sign has since been interfaced to several other company solutions — Salesforce CRM, payments software, electronic document management, and soon, a Contrat’Tech solution to speed up the digitalization of the purchasing process. Battaia adds, “I am convinced that the ease with which it integrates with other solutions is one of Acrobat Sign’s great strengths.”

Simplification of processes that has won over numerous departments 

Digitalization of Saint-Gobain’s documents is a two-stage process: first, sending the scanned documents, which have been printed, signed and scanned again, for electronic transmission.  Secondly, replacing the scan with the Acrobat Sign electronic signature. The main issue is whether the courts will trust the electronic signatures and whether they will be admissible. “Technically, Acrobat Sign has proved that it complies with eIDAS regulations and the associated implementing order, with Acrobat’s commitments and guarantees. There is no doubting the value of an electronic signature using Acrobat Sign,” comments Bruno. 

 

After HR, Purchasing, Legal, Audit, Marketing, the IT departments and international mobility management department will be adopting the solution. Successive lockdowns and Acrobat Sign’s ease of use have sped up its adoption: e-signature facilitates business continuity and helps to make contractual exchanges more fluid and secure.  


“The risk of error or loss is reduced. There is an increase in reliability. And everyone benefits — the lawyers, of course, but also the assistants, for example, who have less administrative work to do.”

 
Blandine Bruno

Senior Legal Counsel, Saint-Gobain


Tangible improvements in productivity and efficiency 

Acrobat Sign therefore helps teams to be more efficient. The fact that the document is preserved in its entirety ensures that all the pages have been signed or initialed, eliminating the risk of archiving an incomplete contract. "The risk of error or loss is reduced. There is an increase in reliability. And everyone benefits — the lawyers, of course, but also the assistants, for example, who have less administrative work to do,” explains Bruno. 

 

These productivity gains are backed up by a reduction in the time required for signatures, which has dropped from 2 weeks to 24 hours for transfer contracts as part of the company’s transformation. Baudrand notes, “we would never have managed to adhere to the target of 50 contract amendments per month without Acrobat Sign.” 

 

In addition to saving time, another key benefit for Saint-Gobain is document traceability and follow-up. “We have been spared pointless tasks such as document tracking and recovery,” agrees Bruno. Once the document has been produced, the teams have a dashboard that tells them the document's status, dispatch date, whether it has been signed and the signatory’s identity, with the option of automated recovery. 

Improve Saint-Gobain’s appeal and recruitment of better-qualified staff

Traceability has produced tangible benefits in numerous situations. In the case of recruitment, the tool’s ease of use and the improved speed of exchanges has helped to attract better-qualified candidates. “The ability to offer an electronic signature option reinforces the company’s appeal and dynamic image. We have a number of new recruits who have joined us because they had concrete offers more quickly,” comments Baudrand.

 

From the legal point of view, tracking makes it possible to ensure that the right version of the contract is signed by the right people. “Where a mass signature is concerned, we can send a document to 300 people at the same time around the world. Tracking and automatic recovery will gain precious time and enable us to concentrate on our work,” Bruno remarks.

 

Today, Acrobat Sign is used by more than 3,500 Saint-Gobain employees in 24 countries across 13 different departments, generating more than 12,000 transactions per month. While change management has been simplified by the ease of using Acrobat Sign, in future Saint-Gobain will be spreading the word about transforming processes. “Electronic signature using Acrobat Sign is gradually taking root because it doesn’t have a downside. We are putting in place a dedicated IT team to assist business units that want to integrate it, and in future we will standardize its deployment with the aim of optimizing all our business processes,” remarks Battaia. 

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