Our ambition is to lead our industry, deliver long-term performance and contribute to sustainability. To achieve this ambition, Air Liquide is implementing its customers-centric transformation strategy to deliver long-term profitable growth.?It relies on operational excellence and selective investments as well as on open innovation and a network organization already implemented on a global scale.
To implement its strategy and reach its 2016-2020 objectives, Air Liquide launched its company program, NEOS. Air Liquide can also count on the commitment and professionalism of all its employees, mobilized to always better serve its customers and patients.
Why a transformation strategy?
With the acquisition of Airgas, Air Liquide has grown in size, both geographically and in terms of its markets. In addition, we are interacting with a changing world: the energy and environmental transition is underway; the world of healthcare is changing due to longer life expectancy, an increase in chronic diseases, and the introduction of new technologies; the digital transformation is modifying our ways of working, consuming, and communicating. To meet these challenges, we are implementing a transformation strategy, based on innovation and leveraging digital.
With Airgas, we now serve one million additional customers in a highly customer-intimate business. We serve more than 3.6?million customers and patients worldwide. The industrial offer is increasingly moving toward an approach centered on the end user, transforming the traditional value chain. In this changing environment, our strategy is to bring new, effective solutions to respond to the new expectations and needs of our customers, helping them to increase their competitiveness and to make a difference in their markets.
While remaining focused on the industrial fundamentals of safety and reliability, operational excellence also means for Air Liquide ensuring an unrivaled customer experience, enhanced competitiveness and digitized operations.
Air Liquide investments are subject to an extremely rigorous selection and control process. Through our network organization, we have brought certain investment decisions closer to the field to increase responsiveness and agility. To sustain the Group's long-term growth, we focus on the most promising markets and technologies.
Innovation at Air Liquide is based on science, technologies, customer experience and the incubation of new activities. As part of our "open innovation" approach, we have developed partnerships outside the Group, both in our core business and for breakthrough technologies. Connected to innovation ecosystems around the world, we detect the most promising solutions upstream that will benefit our customers and patients.
A network organization
Skills, better distributed and exchanged globally and regionally, enable us to strengthen our proximity to customers and markets, accelerate decision-making and attract new talent locally.