2 Strategy The action: a strategic plan based on six priorities www.saint-gobain.com SAINT-GOBAIN UNIVERSAL REGISTRATION DOCUMENT 2021 56 Being a solution provider 3.2 The combination of a global presence and an extensive offering enables Saint-Gobain to offer market players a solution-based approach, i.e. offering more comprehensive responses to specific needs. Beyond the traditional approach of meeting a specific need with a dedicated product, the objective is to support clients with complex issues by offering them performance benefits and contributing to sustainable development. The Group’s organization by country and market enables it to be as close as possible to its customers, anticipate their expectations and offer them the appropriate solutions. By combining its skills, inventing and offering new services, implementing its full potential for innovation, and strengthening synergies between its business lines, Saint-Gobain offers integrated solutions that better meet its customers’ expectations. This approach, which represents a major differentiating factor for Saint-Gobain, is implemented in several areas: developing cross-selling and specialized channels, in ■ particular through vertical market solutions, thanks to joint sales forces mastering a whole portfolio of brands, thanks to training services for professional customers and end-consumers, or thanks to specialized sales channels; offering systems, i.e. a combination of products and ■ services which guarantee a given technical performance and often combine benefits in terms of sustainable development and productivity. This is particularly the case for prefabrication, lightweight façades, partition systems, building science, high-performance systems, exterior insulation systems (ETICS), and connected glazing solutions; offering services, and thus ever more options to the ■ Group’s customers across the entire value chain. This is notably the case in the field of shared logistics and kitting services, intermediation platforms, after-sales services, automated warehouses, recycling services and digital solutions. Thanks to this approach, Saint-Gobain strengthens its competitive advantage by offering integrated offers for a wide range of situations, from the renovation of single-family homes, hospitals, schools, and collective housing, to the construction of new offices and collective and individual housing, green mobility and the decarbonization of industry. Accelerating growth through innovation and digital tools 3.3 Putting the customer 3.3.1 at the heart of innovation Cultivating proximity with 22.214.171.124 the Group’s customers United States, China, India, Brazil), as close as possible to local situations. Proximity to its customers is the foundation of Saint-Gobain’s innovation approach. Knowing professionals better means better understanding their specific expectations, making it easier to charting innovation, which helps to identify opportunities more quickly for the Group to deliver value, reduce time-to-market and optimize return on investment. For architects and engineers, this means technical support, ease of collaboration, and ease of testing new products and solutions; for craftsmen and building contractors, this involves the supply of products and materials, access to distribution sites, ease of installation, advice on installation, and project management support; for developers, this is the total cost of ownership, on-time delivery, and advice to help anticipate changes in standards; for owners and occupants of buildings, this concerns in particular the multiple dimensions of comfort, customization, maintenance costs and property prices. In addition to the diversity of business sectors and client businesses, it is also the diversity of situations and expectations in each geographical region that must be taken into account. This is why Saint-Gobain’s eight cross-functional R&D centers are deployed all over the world (France, Germany, the If customer knowledge is acquired in particular by managing the customer relationship, collecting and analyzing data (see in this chapter, section 3.3), innovation seen through the prism of co-development is carried out through a full range of tools and initiatives: deployment of training and methodologies, investments in test benches, development of real or virtual prototyping resources to accelerate customer validation, and creation of specific locations. “Design thinking” approaches and user experience in the development of new products, systems and services are also deployed in the various R&D centers. As a result, the R&D teams are able to run scenarios for the use of different prototypes and to evaluate, modify and propose solutions that meet the expectations of customers in the mobility or construction markets. The determined response that Saint-Gobain has given to the consequences of the pandemic has proven that this priority given to customer relationship can be satisfactorily and productively maintained through digital initiatives such as virtual tours, real-time and remote brainstorming, or virtual and augmented reality. Finally, teams of building science specialists, present in the various R&D centers around the world, are working to continuously improve comfort for end users and the ease of installation for craftsmen, and also to reduce total cost of ownership for building owners.