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Saft products set new standards in innovation and applied technology. From research and development to manufacturing, we set the pace of change and help our customers achieve great feats. We employ a huge range of scientists – 1.5 percent of our workforce has a PhD – and have structured our product development so that we can try as many things as possible and either proceed with them or see them fail fast. It's about discovery, application and affordability.
We have many firsts to be proud of – from our Seanergy® marine lithium-ion modules for clean marine applications, launched in 2014, to having the first lithium-ion batteries in Space; from being recognized by Guinness World Records in 2011 as producing the "world's most powerful battery" to powering the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander in 2014 to collect data about comets. But our history of innovation isn't all recent, because in 1946 our subsidiary Henry Bissle made the first Ni-Cd batteries, and in 1965 we filed the first patents for primary lithium. And we're always looking to the future. Today, we're working on cheaper sodium-ion batteries that could store excess energy, as well as lighter and more dense lithium-sulfur and solid-state batteries.
The result: our batteries play life-changing and life-saving roles around the world – and in space. In 2009, it was our batteries that started the auxiliary power unit used by Captain Sullenberger to land Flight 1549 safely on the Hudson River, saving all 155 people aboard. The aircraft had struck a flock of geese and lost all engine power.
Saft has a presence in 18 countries, with 30 sales offices and 14 manufacturing sites. We have more than 3,000 customers and 4,300 staff from 49 countries and our customers come from a broad range of markets from all around the world. This global presence is a huge asset and we encourage international co-operation between teams and projects to make the most of it. It's about being part of a global team.
Saft's policy is to recognize and value collective and individual performance. We encourage teamwork and for individuals to take the initiative and assume responsibility.
At Saft, we believe in and invest in our staff. Training and mentoring programs operate across the company, helping to bring out the best in everyone. For example, our new Technical Expert program – called STEP UP – recognizes four different levels. It starts with specialist, then expert, senior expert and fellow at the top. Recognition is given in one or more domains including technical, applications and functional (R&D, engineering, field services), combined with know-how (operational and leadership). Since starting in January 2017, we have already created four fellows.
Saft's continued success is based on our motivated and engaged staff.