Today you announce the opening of a new workshop for NV Equipment. What will its characteristics be and what need will it meet?
Pascal Cardi : NV Equipment started in Normandy in 1990, before moving to Saint-Gilles Croix de Vie, where I took over the company in 2000. After a strong growth until 2008, the company suffered from the crisis, but for 2 years, the activity resumed strong. We had seen this upturn in the market for large boats and multihulls and have been working on an expansion project since last year to keep up with this evolution. The first digging will take place in December 2017 and our new 1500 m² workshop should be operational in September 2018. It will be dedicated to the mechanical construction of aluminium and stainless steel structures. Our current 3500 m² workshop can thus be entirely dedicated to flexible products such as acrylic protective fabrics.
You also focus on digital. What is your strategy in this area?
Pascal Cardi : Our digital strategy touches all areas of our business.
For the product development phase, we have been using virtual reality for 2 years, which gives us more flexibility and allows us to go as far as a physical prototype.
Our project within 3 to 5 years is to delete the paper plans, which will only be projected. Our new workshop should make it possible to accelerate this industrial evolution. Production monitoring will also be computerised.
From a commercial point of view, virtual reality allows the customer to better imagine the product on the website.
Digital technology is also being used in the administrative field, with order tracking and invoicing.
How will these changes translate economically?
Pascal Cardi : Today, we have two types of customers, each accounting for about half of our business: boat builders and dealers, whether they are dealers, hardware chains or sailmakers. NV Equipment employs 145 people, including 20 in product development. Our 3 fabric cutting teams work 24/7. With sales of ?11 million in 2017 and 12,000 products sold, we have returned to the 2008 level. Export represents 30% of the activity. Our objective is to reach 16 to 18 M € in 2020, thanks to trained teams, a reliable and short customer lead time, a good flexibility and a recognized brand. To this end, we have just launched an in-house biting training course with GRETA and we are always following the advice of the yachtsman to make sure of the product.