On May 19, CoreNet New England's local members descended upon OSRAM America's new global headquarters. The interior re-design of an existing building in Wilmington, Massachusetts, designed by Sasaki, brings together all areas of the OSRAM business—R&D, business units, sales, administration, and customer operations—under one roof for the first time. OSRAM is the world's largest developer and producer of lamps and lighting systems. Their new North American headquarters conveys that this company is entirely oriented around exploring new paradigms that will further increase their business efficiencies and speed to market. At the event, Jes Munk Hansen, OSRAM CEO, shared his thoughts on some of the market factors that served as the impetus for the move, as well as some of the successes they've experienced since the offices opened earlier this year:
"A product used to last for ten years before it lost market relevance due to new innovations. Nowadays, that time period is less than a year. The speed of new product development has absolutely exploded. That kind of dramatic technology change requires a different organizational structure and more importantly, a completely different culture of collaboration, transparency, and speed, speed, speed! Moving to this building signaled an absolutely dramatic, rapid change: we went from a static environment to a very fast-paced environment, and the impact shows. We used to announce less than 10 new products a year and our previous facilities and processes were set up for that. This year we launched 250 products.
Prior to the move, we'd been in the same building for fifty years. We realized we couldn't just uproot 500 people who have been in the same building for fifty years, so the physical move was one part of a much larger change initiative. We aimed to show people upfront what we intended to do. We involved psychologists. We met in small groups. We worked together to draft a vision. It was a major collaboration between leadership and mid-level management and the entire organization. It also became a very close collaboration with Sasaki, our architects.
As the CEO, I wanted to bring technology development and business development together, because we couldn't afford to have these groups drive 20 minutes just to talk to each other. We now have our labs right next to business development, and these adjacencies are made all the more apparent by the dominant use of glass throughout the space. Additionally, we're known as leaders in training in the industry—it's a big part of our brand. With this in mind, we determined that we needed a training facility in the heart of the building. Customers love it. They love being at the physical core of all the work we do. The best compliment I've received when a customer walked into our striking entry is 'when you walk in here, there's no doubt that this is a lighting company.'
With this new space, we wanted people to come away with the clear impression that we are leaders in this industry and the result is fantastic. The employees love it. We've gotten incredible feedback. There's a pride factor I can barely describe. When customers come in, I can see it in our sales people—they're very proud to show them around. We invited employees' families to visit the building and to see the employees walk around with this pride in showing their families where they work was amazing. Collaboration has improved. I hear about how many people they're talking to everyday that they didn't interact with before. And for me, that enhanced collaboration is the most tangible manifestation of our new building and new company culture."