Premium Beauty News - What has been the experience in leading Qualipac for almost one year?
Thierry Rabu - I found at Qualipac very strong and recognized human skills, with a high level of technicality and inventiveness, in particular in fields such as electroplating and aluminium forming, in our French sites of Aurillac and Saint-Saturnin-du-Limet. Qualipac can rely on solid industrial bases in Europe, Asia and South America. We have a strong presence in France, which is not so common in plastics but goes well in the direction of current customer demand. From these solid bases, it was necessary to define the major strategic lines to make the difference. That’s what we have been working at for almost a year.
Our first focus has been to build on the investments already scheduled. The second consisted in completing this initial industrial plan; and the third to revamp our supply chain to make a real competitive advantage from it.
Premium Beauty News - The industrial development plan initiated within the group was your starting point?
Thierry Rabu - Many investments had already been planned, including where CSR was concerned. Today, our brand-new electroplating line in our Aurillac facility allows us to increase our production capacity in an environmentally responsible manner. At our facility in Saint Saturnin, we have redesigned the entire water treatment system and invested in new machines to increase our industrial efficiency. Our competence in the work of aluminium, an interesting recyclable material to produce eco-designed packaging, is increasingly recognized.
We are making similar investments in all our production sites around the world. In China, we have invested in new metallization lines with VOC treatment systems. In Brazil, we completed the move to our new factory which is now fully operational. We now produce in this country a complete packaging offer, especially for makeup products, and we have a true centre of expertise in lipstick with production capabilities that also allow us to serve other markets.
Premium Beauty News - Which points have been consolidated?
Thierry Rabu - We completed the industrial plan in order to achieve a better standardization of our whole machinery and equipment, thus facilitating the transfer of lines from one site to another for more agility. We are also moving towards a modular assembly approach allowing more flexibility, a better time-to-market and requiring lower investments from our customers. Ultimately, we are aiming for a very modular industry 4.0 deployment that integrates artificial intelligence tools.
In the same vein, we have also deployed new project management tools for a much more complete control of the risks and a better follow-up of the industrialization lead times.
Premium Beauty News - What about the supply chain?
Thierry Rabu - Our aim is to introduce a collaborative approach between our various factories so that our supply chain becomes a key competitive advantage of the group’s multi-material offer. We strengthened the supply chain team and implemented various tools, in particular for planning, to better monitor our lead-time and increase predictability.
In a context of increasing market volatility, the reduction of delays and their predictability become a real competitive advantage. This is a key element of the Pochet Group’s multi-material strategy.
Premium Beauty News - What about innovation?
Thierry Rabu - We are creating a "Fab Lab" (Manufacturing and Innovation Laboratory) in Chartres, another of our French plants, to be more reactive in the pre-project phase, thanks to accelerated prototyping, and accelerated material testing and functional tests.
We are also interested in 3D printing. We are using this technology to create parts that cannot be made using traditional injection processes. We are still working to improve the decorability of the pieces and also want 3D printing to be more CSR-oriented. This technology has a quite different environmental impact than injection.
Eco-design is also an important field of innovation for our customers. At the Luxe Pack Monaco trade show, we won the Luxe Pack in green award for the eco-design makeup case L’Essentiel. We already master second generation bio-sourced solutions and we are working on the third generation. We are also working a lot on the recyclability of the different plastics, on the possibility to separate the various components, and on the chemistry of plastics that are complicated to recycle.
Eventually, at the beginning of 2019, we will be able to offer a carbon footprint with each quotation request, as Pochet du Courval already does for the bottle division.
More generally, the group’s multi-material expertise makes it possible to propose alternative solutions.
Premium Beauty News - In short, it can be said it was a particularly active year?
Thierry Rabu - Very active and mainly devoted to listening to the needs of our customers in order to make them benefit from the maximum adaptability to address increasingly volatile and unpredictable markets. With one goal: to make Qualipac their preferred supplier.