Premium Beauty News - How did the Company cope with the confinement and then the de-confinement period?
Marc Pivaudran - We stopped production for a month. This decision was motivated by the fact some brands and several suppliers had stopped their activities. We also had to take measures to guarantee the safety of employees.
Throughout this period we stayed in contact with our customers to establish delivery priorities when production resumed, and to plan postponements precisely.
Premium Beauty News - Did you encounter organizational difficulties?
Marc Pivaudran - The reopening of the site on April 20 took place smoothly, our employees were reassured by the measures implemented in the premises: supplies of masks, hydro-alcoholic gel, temperature measurements, organization of flows, working shifts, etc. We regularly assess the situation with their representatives and make the necessary adjustments.
Currently, 60% of the workforce has resumed work, i.e., between 100 and 110 employees out of a total workforce of 165. In practice, this situation facilitates the implementation of distancing measures.
Our main suppliers are operational. We haven’t had to deal with any specific organizational problem. We follow closely the needs of our customers and we adjust our organization according to priorities.
Premium Beauty News - What is the situation like in terms of orders?
Marc Pivaudran - There were fewer orders of course but the situation was not catastrophic! Some customers delayed by a few months some projects already signed or in development. While some projects were also put on hold.
We are fortunate to be involved in the supply of major market references and to be very well supported by our historic customers who provide us with a sufficient load plan, some of them even offering to anticipate payments during this period.
The current situation is indeed frustrating because we had an excellent start to the year, with a significant increase in production. But the Company’s situation is sound, we have no worries concerning its long-term viability. As a precaution we requested and obtained a loan guaranteed by the State.
The challenge now is to prepare for the future and a market recovery which could be very sudden, comparable to what happened during the 2008-2010 crisis. Even if it is difficult to draw a parallel with previous situations, we know that agility and the ability to respond quickly will be important assets when the crisis comes to an end.
We have therefore maintained all of our investment plans, in particular the installation of a new anodizing line, even if its implementation was delayed.
Premium Beauty News - What is your vision for the short term future?
Marc Pivaudran - We have no short-term concerns but rather a lack of visibility. Asia is a important market for many of our customers and we received encouraging feed-back on the fact that recovery is strong and sustainable in the region. However, unknowns remain regarding recovery in air travels and duty free sales.
It’s too early to tell. At the end of the summer, we will be able to get a clearer picture of the situation.
Premium Beauty News - What are the Company’s strengths?
Marc Pivaudran – First and foremost, our ability to innovate and our agility. I would add, what stands as an important component of our DNA: the drive to take up the most difficult technical challenges! This is where the Company and its teams express themselves best. Finally, one of the key axis of our CSR policy, which has been implemented for a long time and by conviction, is the reduction of our environmental impact. Today, this policy is perfectly in line with the expectations of consumers and brands.
We are recognised as experts in perfumes, but we have recently signed some fine developments in make-up and skincare. We are looking to improve our position in these two categories.
Premium Beauty News - At a time when the crisis has highlighted the drawbacks of the mass relocation of some productions, do you see an evolution in demands of brands?
Marc Pivaudran - We have been contacted by customers who used to produce in Asia and who are now looking to secure their production in Europe. This movement started some time ago, but the crisis contributed this need. However, let’s not be naive, the price equation will remain an important factor in many projects and our key competitive advantages stand elsewhere.
Premium Beauty News - You had engaged, more particularly, in significant R&D work for the use of recycled aluminium, will the project continue?
Marc Pivaudran - Of course! There is a real expectation on the part of our customers, and project studies are underway. While some obstacles are still to be overcome, we will probably be able to deliver the first parts in 2021! This issue shows that the crisis has in no way called into question sustainability commitments!
Premium Beauty News - What is your vision of the major post-Covid trends to come?
Marc Pivaudran - More than ever, environmental issues, the CSR policies of brands and of their suppliers, will be important issues in the luxury and premium sector. Relocations will accelerate in all sectors. The crisis will have a catalytic effect on all these trends.
Premium Beauty News - What would you like to say to your customers today?
Marc Pivaudran - Have confidence, you have, in common, with your French suppliers an exceptional know-how that will allow you to meet the most demanding needs.