[Press article – Article in Le Parisien Eco] Supratec, the small family business that wants to break through
The company of 240 employees, specialized in the design and distribution of industrial products, relies on exports to breakthrough.
“We shall become an SME (company with 500 to 5,000 employees) (editor’s note: intermediate size enterprise) when we will have succeeded in duplicating our success. “For Jean-Marie Jestin, son of the founder of Supratec, his company (240 employees, with a turnover of 55 million euros) is very close to making a breakthrough… Provided it sells again its assembly line or its vehicle carrying heavy loads, which currently delights the aerospace and defense sectors of the giant company Safran.
The other industrial products and processes designed and manufactured by Supratec are installed in plants in all sectors, from the manufacturer of Gemalto smart cards to Chanel the perfume flacon manufacturer. “The marketing must showcase our made-to-measure solutions, by explaining that they are already being used by well-known customers”, analyses the Chairman of the Board.
Since 2009, the company has multiplied acquisitions by competing or complementary companies in order to increase its volume of activities. From the factory in Lorraine to the Tunisian workshop, it was necessary to create synergies between these new engineers or technicians and the head office, at Bondoufle (Essonne). “The teams have their history, their corporate culture and do not see any interest in being incorporated with the group,” observes Jean-Marie Jestin. But the training engineer is today convinced that “all different trades work together”, thanks to the coordination of efforts by the design office, created in 2014.
The result is the dominating feeling of being part of a winning group. It is witnessed by the popularity of 51 % of employees who invest through profit-sharing and interest in a mutual fund. “The setting-up, last year, of an employee shareholding is a lever for growth. Colleagues feel part of the profitability of the company,” says Barbara Cayrol, the Secretary General.
Another cause for satisfaction: the pooling of support functions. From accounting to human resources through experiencing communication, this strategy has led to the recruitment of new talent, better paid because it is remunerated by the six entities of the group. “We are stronger, assures Jean-Marie Jestin. But not to the extent of small and medium-sized German businesses, who benefit from a true distribution policy. At international trade fairs, subcontractors exhibit with a large group. “And Barbara Cayrol adds: “In France, it is more individualistic”.
Supratec, who will be playing for high stakes next June at the Le Bourget Air Show (Seine-Saint-Denis), currently benefits from public aid via the “SME accelerator” programme of Bpifrance. The aim is namely for its activity related to export to increase from 20% to 50% by 2021. Looking forward to reaching it? “Not necessarily, because we lose some benefits, explains the general secretary. The SME status allows us to request the refund of certain tax claims from the State, including the research tax credit. SMEs cannot benefit from this early repayment. ”
In the meantime, the innovative SME, whose capital is held at 86 per cent by the Jestins, prepares for change. “No member of the family wishes to take-up the torch. I prefer it to be the company executives,” announces the Chairman of the Board. In addition to Barbara Cayrol, finance and human resources manager, the latter has taken the advice of a young vice-president engineer and director of operations who has been with the company for the last 24 years.