The very first edition of the Innovation Forum was held on April 18 and 19 at the Gilles Soucy Innovation Centre (GSIC) in Drummondville, Quebec. Over the two-day event, participants were able to attend fascinating conferences detailing the latest innovations and market trends as well as presentations and creative workshops.
The Innovation Forum, organized by the team at the GSIC, allowed Soucy’s innovation experts to come together and share ideas and knowledge, discover new practices, and get inspired by peers. It was also an opportunity to present Soucy’s innovation strategy.
The GSIC was founded in 2020 to perpetuate the culture of innovation of Soucy's founder. The experts at the GSIC are dedicated to developing and mobilizing creative intelligence to design the best performance track systems for our customers.
Here is a summary of each day
How to innovate?
After a word of welcome from André Todd, Vice President and Chief Manufacturing Officer; Jasmin Villeneuve, Chief Operating Officer; and Martin Portelance, Director of the Gilles Soucy Innovation Centre, participants attended a conference on Soucy’s innovation strategy given by Dave Caissy from Audax Innovation. The underlying message was that to innovate, you have to be proactive. Thierry Montcalm, Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Soucy Techno, added that "to be proactive, you have to focus." Focusing on one area is the best way to innovate, because although there are many avenues to explore, relying on specific expertise allows you to move forward more quickly.
Innovating through simulation
The second conference of the day was led by Magella Bédard, Department Head Simulation and Modelling at Soucy Caoutchouc. It focused on the topic of simulation as a catalyst for innovation. Ms. Bédard explained that digital simulation enabled her subsidiary to test the rubber component of track systems in order to understand where and how cracks occur. Thanks to these simulated tests, Soucy has been able to provide superior track systems for the agricultural and defence sectors.
The third and last conference of the day was given by Dennis Perron, Method Project Coordinator at Soucy Caoutchouc. He presented the Caout toolbox, a project that he has worked on for six years. The Caout toolbox is a database that can be used to, among other things, share data collected from tests performed on rubber.
Workshop on life cycle assessment
At the beginning of the afternoon, Sébastien Dutilly, Senior Advisor Sustainable Development and Continuous Improvement at Soucy Centre de services, led the Innovation Forum’s first workshop and presented the strategy behind the development of the life cycle analysis (LCA) program. Participants were divided into small groups and had fun analyzing the life cycle of maple products.
The first day of the Innovation Forum ended with a presentation of the GSIC’s ongoing projects and an open house. All Soucy employees were invited. It was a great opportunity for everyone to meet the team and visit the GSIC’s offices!
Putting yourself in the client’s shoes
Day two began with a conference on innovation by Louis-Frederic Marchildon, Innovation Project Manager, Parts and Accessories at our subsidiary Kimpex. To innovate, the team at Kimpex decided to put themselves in the shoes of clients in order to identify customer irritants. As a result of this exercise, they designed the Rouski Evo, an improved version of the Rouski, a retractable wheel for snowmobiles that is easier to install and can be locked.
3D printing for models
Vincent Morin, Director of Industrial Design, and Maxime Normand, Director of Engineering at Soucy Powersports, presented the advances in industrial design at Soucy. For example, they explained how 3D printing can be used to create track system models. The two engineers showed full-size models of tracks made of cardboard, which are regularly used by the Innovation Centre team.
Workshop on intelligence
In the afternoon, participants were divided into small teams for a workshop on intelligence. They started by choosing a topic and analyzing it with the information they found. They then shared this information with the other teams and found ways to automate monitoring.
In summary, these two full days of activities allowed Soucy employees to discover the work being done at the GSIC and to propel their creativity in the company of peers. It was a joyous occasion where colleagues from different subsidiaries were able to connect and build ties. We’re convinced that every participant left the Innovation Forum with a head full of brilliant ideas!