Recruitment, electricity prices, the market… work shoe manufacturer Gaston Mille favors international companies

EIt has experienced storms since its inception in 1912. Two world wars, oil shocks, mass transfers in the textile market… The SME from Vaucluse is always faced with innovations. It was a health crisis that shook him recently. Negative 30% turnover. In particular: strong dependence on a sector particularly affected by health restrictions in France: catering.

Un bad time pass, he thinks. 2021 is no better. ” We continue to lose 10% of turnover in catering “.

And the situation is also complicated on the supply side, mainly from Asia.

To deal with this situation, the company plans to innovate a number of products related to the hygiene that everyone’s lips are concerned about during the epidemic. VSshoes with antibacterial treatment, easy-to-clean soles, smooth models cContains a few stitches. This is ace. “ This project failed “, – explains Nicholas Mill, director of the company founded by his great-grandfather.

Diversify supplies and markets

The SME then chooses to review its structure. It is shedding some of its executives so that personnel costs align with its bottom line. And it chooses to diversify its supply. “ China, on which we depend, was greatly affected. We realized the danger of depending on only one country. Therefore, we have chosen to redirect our supply to Europe “. Like this fiberglass tip that only China can produce and the company currently prefers the aluminum tip from Turkey.

And this diversification strategy also applies to another aspect: distribution markets. Since the restaurant business did not go well, Gaston Mille took advantage of the opportunities that arose in other areas of activity. ” There are great prospects in the oil field. This is not good news for the climate, but the sector is growing and consuming professional equipment without restraint. “. However, KOM has products in its catalog that are perfectly suited to this type of customer, products that it has improved over the years. This allows us to advance against fierce competition “.

The same applies to the company’s shoes that protect against electric shocks up to 17,000 volts, which have been in development for four years and allow it to stand out in the electricity market. ” With the development of electric vehicles, we need a lot of electricians to manufacture them “. And that’s why shoes can protect them from the risk of electric shock.

Export as output

DMarkets that support the SME’s international strategy, dincreasingly present in the Middle East also In the USA, where it has been a subsidiary since 2015. We went to the US from nothing to great deals with distributors “, in the context of the economic boom with “ ask in such a way that it cannot be answered “.

PTo face this, the company is preparing to do so after two years. hour invest in its production tool. ” We have all the logistics to modernize. With an investment project in our machinery to increase our production capacity by 30% “.

He also wants to hire production operators, but is finding it difficult to do so. Because recruitment difficulties are structural in nature across the country in the industrial sector. Also because north of Vaucluse suffers from a lack of appeal. “The population of Orange is decreasing every year. The rest is of poor quality. There are no engineers and even unskilled workers are hard to find. My sales manager comes from Nice. Among the CVs of the candidates I receive, most often come from Lyon or Paris. But we need workers who live less than 30 minutes away. In addition, transportation makes them very tired. Terrain does not attract skills. And the Orange base, which will host 24 Rafales, won’t help matters because of the noise pollution it creates. “.

Dso that recruitment projects are formed more internationally. Around logistics platforms the company plans to build in the US, Malaysia/Philippines and Europe.

Thus, today it is the international market that offers the most prospects in business (35% of its turnover). And this should allow to reach 10 million euros against 9.6 million euros in turnover this year.

A weak French market

Its export turnover increased by 58% between 2021 and 2022, while France’s grew by only 2.3%. “ Again, this is largely unexplained by our price increases “, regrets the entrepreneur who will like itGaston is Millet privilegede Local with a selection of French made. “ Un a number of large buyers are not interested in Made in France. This is quite devastating. Buyers will have the power to relocate businesses “.

LThe SME also has to deal with rising electricity prices in the French market. His bill ranges from €38,000 to €60,000. ” For us, it is not 10% of the turnover, but it is a concern “. Fears are mixed with misunderstanding. ” We can clearly see that there is no energy crisis this winter. The price of gas and oil is falling. I don’t understand why we pay more “. For example, according to the entrepreneur, it is more expensive than the United States, which attracts more French companies. “ The economy is bright, electricity is cheap. Many prefer to invest there. We really need to freeze prices or we will scare businesses away “.

And the entrepreneur concludes: “Being forced to sell internationally is quite confusing When we manufacture in France. I hope that the country’s economy will breathe new life. And we will buy a little more French production.”