In all started in 2015, when Ubikey’s founder Atman Kendira was involved in a research project at the” Université de Technologie de Compiègne” (UTC) in the northern region of France called “Les Hauts de France”. The main topics of Atman’s research project were how to improve collaboration, creativity, decision-making processes, information, communication, etc…combining both visual management and new technologies. Easy Engineering: A brief description of the company and its activities. Ubikey: Ubikey was born: developing an innovative and collaborative software perfectly suited for large tactile surfaces (touch screens and tables).helping companies and organizations to set up and digitalize their visual management approach to manage their complex, multi-users, multi-sites projects, face-to-face or remotely. Ubikey Software is aimed at companies that “still use whiteboards, flipcharts and adhesive messages” with the ambition of digitalizing their whole visual management process. Ubikey now has 10 employees and some prestigious clients such as Thales, Sanofi, ArianeGroup, Plastic Omnium and many others. Ubikey also benefits of the strong support from its historical and institutional partners: BpiFrance, the Hauts-de-France region, Paris & Co and UTC. E.E: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Ubikey: Ubikey main activity is developing and improving its visual management software with a strong in-house technical and development team located at the headquarters in Compiègne – France. The other main activity of Ubikey is Sales & Marketing targeting mainly large multinational companies willing to digitalize the Visual Management. Ubikey sales & marketing office is located in Paris – France. E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products? Ubikey: Originally, the first stage of Ubikey software was focused on large tactile and touch screens to be used in a meeting room. With Covid-19 and the development of the pandemic globally, Ubikey had to speed up and adapt its project management solution to the constraints of teleworking, in particular to the use of fixed and/or mobile screens. How to keep critical meetings and working sessions going when everyone is working from home? This question has been (and still is) haunting managers for months since the first lockdowns. How to maintain and follow up briefings, production updates, solve problems, make decision, communicate and keep working as a team…when everything is done remotely from a laptop? “The ‘lean’ and ‘agile’ methodologies prevailed in the creation of Ubikey Office with the objectives of promoting the emergence of ideas, structuring and collaboration, as well as data archiving. “ Ubikey has the solution with its digital visual management software that can be implemented to fit many organizational and operational configurations. Logically, Ubikey activity was boosted by lockdowns, gaining a thousand users and almost doubling its turnover in 2020. E.E: What are the ranges of products? Ubikey: With Ubikey digital visual management solution, you can: Create: From any terminal and/or directly on the touch screenCollaborate: Possibility of working with others on the screen … and/or remotely from several sitesStructure: Organization by project and/or methodological assistanceCapitalize: Automatic recording and/or Project management and archives Visual management is the framework to communicate expectations, performance, standards, and problems in a method that requires little to no time to understand. Ubikey Visual management is used to share information, work standards, build on those standards, highlight problems, stop problems occurring and prevent problems altogether. Sharing Information – One of the major goals of visual management is the sharing of information. This information is usually about the day to day operation with metrics showing inputs, outputs, and any problems. This is one of the main purposes of visual management, the ability to share information succinctly. Visual management also has the ability to build standard work and processes. Improving these standards is the main purpose of Lean is building a culture of continuous improvement. These standards are then built upon with new and improved processes evolving with the business. Sharing Standard Work – Another objective is to share standards of how work should be completed. This helps with shift change overs and training staff in the standard work procedures. Standard work will eliminate waste in the process creating stability and consistency within your Lean Production System. Highlighting Problems – Another objective of visual management is to highlight problems when they occur, appearing out of the ordinary and deviating from the standard. Solving Problems – Highlighting problems and issues on a visual management board allows for the problem to be analyzed and worked through at the point of the problem. It can accelerate the problem-solving process driving quick results. E.E: What are the Benefits of Visual Management? Ubikey: Saving Time – Visual management has the ability to cut down the time it takes to understand and process the information on the board. An efficient visual management board should communicate the status of the work area within 30 seconds. Real-Time Updates – Visual management creates a centralized location for all updates to be kept and housed. It is usually updated daily to provide up-to-date information on production targets, sales targets and problems and issues. Faster Problem Solving – It provides a structured system to discuss and work through problems in a formal setting, helping users accelerate the problem-solving process. By using tools like root cause analysis and problem solving strips you can solve the most complex problems faced by business in a timely fashion. Improved Accountability – Visual management allows for greater accountability for everyone in the process. Helping to define roles, allocate tasks and give a standard work procedure to follow. Everyone in the process has ownership for their daily tasks. Improved Team Performance – Improved accountability can translate into higher team performance. The purpose of visual management is to improve team performance and drive a step-change in efficiency. Waste Reduction – Completing processes at the right time has an impact on reducing the amount of waste produced. By giving stakeholders the correct up-to-date information and resources being properly utilized has a dramatic effect on waste reduction. Visual Management Boards can help you answer questions on the factory floor that might take hours to answer if not done via a Visual Management Board. E.E: Can you tell how each area is performing? Ubikey: Will they meet their targets this week? Who is doing something to correct the problem? When will it be fixed by? If you can’t answer these questions within a few minutes, then it’s time to revisit your Visual Management and the data you collect. Examples of Visual Management done with Ubikey Continuous Improvement Boards – Using a simple design and layout these boards are used to display short term actions. These types of boards are usually found on the factory floor with machine status, daily output metrics and problem-solving issues for all employees to see. Project Status Boards – Status boards are an agile project management tool, acting as a focus point where teams can visualize work, limit work in progress and maximize resources. It gives all stakeholders a clear picture and objective for the short and long-term goals of the project. Daily Management Boards – Probably one of the more used board designs is a daily management board, used to communicate between shifts and across departments. The information on this type of board is simple and easy to understand. E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? Ubikey: After building a strong foundation in France, Ubikey is now expanding its business outside its borders. With large multinational companies as clients, Ubikey software is already used all around the world. In early 2021, Ubikey has signed a distribution agreement to cover Latin America main markets. Willing to keep the momentum, Ubikey is now expanding its business throughout Europe with a main focus on countries such as Germany, United Kingdom, Spain and Italy. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? Ubikey: Covid-19 and the pandemic have significantly and permanently changed our way of working. It took 18 months for what should have taken 5 years to implement. A step back seems impossible and therefore everybody is moving forward. Companies, employees, clients, suppliers, business partners are all used to work from home and/or somewhere else remotely. Distance and location cannot prevent us any more from attending a meeting, workshop, creative session, decision-making discussion, etc.…. Digital transformation and the digitalization of tools and processes are important topics and challenges for most companies and Ubikey is part of the answer. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? Ubikey: Ubikey is focused in developing and improving its visual management software. Therefore, we must be up to date in terms of development technologies, functions and features to meet our clients’ expectations. However, in today’s organizations, a software cannot be installed just by itself and has to be connected to other software and applications within the company information system. Therefore, Ubikey software has to be designed and developed to easily become an additional component of the whole organization. Technological innovation and continuous improvement are parts of the daily life of a software company. But innovation will also come from new ways of working, new ways of management and collaboration, new organizations, new processes…and in order to be fully aware of these evolutions and changes, Ubikey partners closely with consulting firms specialized in those areas. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021? Ubikey: As a start-up, Ubikey is focused and expecting a fast-pace growth for the coming year not only with the extension of our presence within our existing clients but also with the acquisition of new accounts. 2021 will also be an international year for Ubikey with the expansion of our activities in several countries.