Premium Beauty News - So, we can say this merger was successfully achieved?
François Luscan - Absolutely! And not only successfully conducted but above all, considered as a positive and welcomed merger by the Rexam teams who very much wanted it to happen! We thoroughly reorganized the industrial and commercial tool, defined a strategy, set up a real investment policy by injecting the equivalent of 10% of our turnover in each business segment. We had to re-assign everyone with specific areas of work and, of course, increase the pace of training. Of course, some work still needs to be done, but at least we were able to give both personal and collective development prospects to the teams who were in dire need of them.
Premium Beauty News - You consider training, as a key point for the Group’s development!
François Luscan - Absolutely and I’m very pleased to see that you have placed this question on training in second position among your list of topics, because I have always considered this point an essential one. It’s one thing and a cliché to say that each and every business can only develop through the women and men who are part or it or will be part of it. Still concrete action must be taken in that direction, not only in developed countries, like we just did, for example in France in Sainte Ménehould in the Marne area where we recently inaugurated a new site for the production of plastic and laminated tubes and where we also set up a training school in partnership with the École des Arts et Métiers, but also and especially in developing countries. This is the case in Indonesia, where we are taking part in the development of three schools in the periphery of our main production site. This is the case in Brazil and Mexico. This is the case in India. This is obviously stating the obvious to say that hope should be given to all those people who want to work and, of course, to all these young people. 15% of our staff is currently being trained.
And training is also a guarantee of safety and quality. A proof of this is that we improved this year by more than 20% our customer satisfaction rate and by 15% our customer complaint rate.
Premium Beauty News - Train but also support industrial sectors!
François Luscan - More than ever! This is certainly also one of our missions. We were lucky enough - but we mostly gave ourselves the means – to invest heavily on an industrial scale to meet the expectations of our customers whatever their location in the world. These investments also enabled us sometimes to support companies in a tight position. Because we too often forget to mention, that some of our colleagues also happen to be from time to time our subcontractors. I think we can be quite proud of what we just did in Annecy in the French Alps area, where what was at stake was no more and no less a matter of saving a great French and local know-how in the field of metal processing. Know-how is so important! And nothing must be neglected to prevent it from vanishing. For example: try to find someone to supply you in Europe with mirrors for make-up cases?
Premium Beauty News - A global Vision ... but also a local vision!
François Luscan - This is not incompatible, far from it! Quite the contrary as far as I’m concerned! And we are proving it every day. Never before have we invested so much in the world. I can’t mention all the sites, but you should know that we have built in Indonesia what is probably one of the most beautiful plastic processing plants in Asia, employing more than 2,000 people, with 170 injection machines and 7 lacquering/metallization lines running. China is not outdone, where we are completing the construction of the largest site ever designed on this continent. And the same goes for Mexico and Brazil, where we plan to double the production in the coming months. These investments are earmarked to follow local growth.
But it’s a global strategy that takes into account our customers local needs and also, to a larger extent, our core mission, which is namely to preserve and develop the industrial fabric in Europe. The new tube factory we just opened in France in Sainte Ménehould is a proof of this. We invested 20 million euros in the process and took the opportunity to incorporate the production of our two sites in the Marne area, (Sainte Ménehould and Vienne Le Château). Albéa Argonne thus becomes the Group’s Centre of Excellence for our tube activity and will help us support our ambitions to gain market shares in this mature segment. But this is not the only example. I already told you what we had achieved in Annecy. I could also tell you about what we are doing in Plouhinec, in Parigne in the perfume sector and in Simandre where we are investing to improve our responsiveness and customer service to ensure record-time and very secure “product” developments..., or what we are actually doing in our Dispensing division where we will also double our capacity on a global scale.
Don’t forget that 15% of the Group employees are located in France. And you will soon find out more with the new mascara production plant that should soon be inaugurated in Italy near Milan and which should help the Group step up by 50% its production capacity, be it in vials, fibre or plastic brushes.
Generally speaking, “global” and “local” concepts are closely linked. Our local presence enables us to guarantee responsiveness, service with the possibility of relying on the other entities of the Group in all parts of the world.
Premium Beauty News - Yet, so called “emerging” countries represent the largest share in terms of industrial installations?
François Luscan - No at all! You mustn’t be mistaken. Although our presence outside Europe is important, it only represents 30% of our turnover. This is obviously not the same in terms of staff since Asia (including India) accounts for 40% of our workforce. But it is clear that we expect these countries to post the strongest growth rates in the future.
Premium Beauty News - Innovation, quality, time-to-market, prices... Central subjects?
François Luscan - And not always obvious to deal with, it is true! As an industrialist my answers are both simple and complicated. On innovation, we are always ready, not to say ahead of competition... But we need our customers to be willing to pay more for it.
Quality and Time-to-market are ongoing concerns for us. We strive to improve logistics with our customers. It also means developing partnerships in the medium and long term, sometimes with certain exclusivities. This partnership concept, be it with customers but also with other suppliers is I believe, essential. Our mission is truly to be a project manager first. And one of the finest illustrations I can give you of our vocation is the Beauty Solutions Division, which as you know, intends to offer a comprehensive promotional offer to our customers. And it works! As you know, this division achieved in the past two years a growth rate of over 40%.
Premium Beauty News - The Asia/Americas/Europe axis seems to be an unchanging one!
François Luscan - And why not Africa? It could be the subject of our next conversation...