Premium Beauty News - Is it not a bit tricky to be the Director of a group that weighs sixteen thousand people and still preach for agility?
François Luscan - Being agile is both being reactive and flexible. With the turmoil we are experiencing in the world and on the market, it is absolutely essential to always be ready to adapt, and quickly. This is true for service, which must be even more reliable and flexible, for costs, which must be even more competitive everywhere, for the development of new products, which must be both fast and rigorous, for reactivity to our customers’ supply and demand, and for the decisions regarding the best adapted production site, depending on both technologies and the deadlines expected. The idea is to implement effective industrial, commercial, and digital organizational structures, among others. Nevertheless, a large group cannot lose its strength and solidity! I am absolutely convinced that size is not incompatible with agility: we need to understand our challenges, be ambitious as regards our targets, and be able to commit both in the short and long terms. This is possible if we have strong teams, an expertise that is really present, and available means.
Premium Beauty News - Customers are at the core of your strategy, more than ever.
François Luscan - Customers have always been at the centre of Albéa’s world! Some of them are international brands present both commercially and industrially all around the world. Almost half our portfolio is composed of regional or local customers. But today, more than ever, all our customers place the emphasis on service and competitiveness – in addition, of course, to the operational performance we always owe them. And none of them has the time to wait for a supplier to adapt to their needs, even if it is their first partner. That is why we endeavour to define the best business model in all our activities in order to meet their changing expectations: which organization, which product portfolio, which planning for our plants, which equipment…
Premium Beauty News - Social and environmental responsibility is another important aspect of the missions you have committed to for a long time.
François Luscan - Social and environmental responsibility (SER) has been an essential issue for us for more than 10 years, whether for our employees, customers, suppliers, and communities. It is really at the core of Albéa’s strategy, and it comprises multiple initiatives and endless projects focused on our men and women, our industrial operations, our products, and of course, our customers, suppliers, communities, and other partners in our ecosystem. But we do believe the approach must be collective, maybe even by working with rivals on standards and regulations, and it is fundamental to have a long-term vision.
Premium Beauty News - Another strength: innovation… on all levels!
François Luscan - Innovation covers several areas. It must be technical, whether it applies to new products or new industrial processes. It must also be developed in design, and we produce more and more “standard” packaging that stick to market trends and are quickly available, at the right price. Ultimately, as far as specific developments are concerned, the idea is to make projects reliable, even those that are extremely complex. And let’s not forget about patents: we are proud of being part of the first 50 companies registering patents in France! Innovation represents a large part of our investments.
Premium Beauty News - Being both local and present all around the globe… How do you adapt to the economic and monetary turmoil in the world?
François Luscan - You are going to be a bit surprised, but I think it is normal to experience turmoil. Some of the countries you are referring to have known a rapid expansion, so it is only natural for them to have a slowdown, and it is a good thing that the standard of living, the salaries, urbanization, and industrialization are improving in these areas.
Of course, we must adapt quickly and as best we can, and sometimes it is hard. But just like we have been serving our customers for 50 years, sometimes the very same ones, Albéa’s vision goes much farther than six months, one year, or five years ahead! Obviously, once these fluctuations have impacted our customers’ supply decisions, they indirectly impact our industrial strategy, in particular our production capacity.
Again, it is a matter of being agile and transferring our equipment from one site to another, if possible, adjusting our organizations if needed, investing in some equipment… This cannot be done in only a few days, and it can prove more costly and complex than what our customers expect, and what we hoped for.
And yet, again, it is all about agility: we must be able to provide the best offer to all our customers, wherever they are in the world: the product they need, at the best total cost, in the shortest time possible, with the best service and quality.
Of course, and this is the strength of a large group like ours, we also provide a real investment capacity, resources in innovation and development, strong industrial processes, an ambitious SER policy, let alone a solid, stable team with people they know and who are trusted by the organization.
As I said, these are the fundamentals for sustainable development!
Premium Beauty News - Will the companies in your sector keep congregating?
François Luscan - To me, it is inevitable! And I am also talking about alliances. Of course, it does not mean the future is only in the hands of large industrial groups: regional, well-performing, and innovative companies will always play a crucial role. But the sector’s major brands are also getting together; they are seeking to capture new markets and territories, and they need strong suppliers to support them and invest together with them in buildings, equipment, innovation, industrial processes, technical expertise, or regulatory affairs…