The Normandy-based SME is looking for new openings in Asia through a local network of distributors. It is also ready to respond to its clients' concerns regarding critical size.
The French SME Jacques Dubois will be banking on its long experience to break into the Asian market. The company was founded in Barentin, near Rouen in 1937. At the time it produced knitted metallic products. It entered the aerospace/defence market in the 1980s. Today this sector accounts for 75% of sales. The company specialises in technical products, including electromagnetic shielding and products used for Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) applications. The company is also present in the space sector.
The company is making its second appearance at the Singapore Airshow, as part of a proactive approach to the Asian market. It is actively looking for local distributors, with a special focus on Singapore, Malaysia, India, Japan and possibly South Korea, according to company CEO Thierry Voiriot.
Voiriot says the company will be counting on the French system of voluntary business placements and on continuing support from the French aerospace industries association, GIFAS. He indicates that sales on the Asian market could be increased by a factor of four over the coming five years. At present, he adds, the region accounts for just 5% of total sales.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is seen as one of the sectors offering the greatest growth potential for the company. Voiriot says the company is aiming to develop IoT applications in the aerospace/defence sector, including connected tools and environmental data sensors (e.g. for air quality and communication network monitoring).
The company is also looking to satisfy demand for defence equipment operating in ever-higher frequency ranges. Accordingly, it is developing new products for electromagnetic compatibility applications and for frequency ranges that are not currently covered (up to 40GHz). These systems are destined for sensors and countermeasures for aircraft and missiles.
The coming ramp-up in deliveries of the Dassault Rafale combat aircraft, for which Jacques Dubois produces electromagnetic shielding for embedded equipment, will have a beneficial impact on the company's activities over the coming years.
A positive impact can also be expected from the company's participation, as of the end of September 2017, in the GIFAS Ambition PME-ETI programme. This initiative — supported by the state-owned investment bank, Bpifrance — is an accelerator programme providing support for small and medium-sized companies. Voiriot explains: “Jacques Dubois is experiencing growth problems. The GIFAS programme gives us the opportunity to put ourselves in a position to facilitate our quest for growth and formalise our internal and external development strategy. Potential targets for a second external growth operation, following the acquisition completed a few years ago, will give us the possibility to acquire new competences that we are currently lacking, e.g. in the electronics sector. We are also very interested in the Internet of Things. Depending on the target we identify, we will be able to raise funding to complete the acquisition.”
The PME-ETI programme will also include an external consultant appointed by GIFAS to enable the company to identify its current weak points and help it to define a strategic development plan for the period 2018-2023.
The results of the company's efforts to achieve critical size could be spectacular. Voiriot sees the company potentially increasing its sales volume and workforce by a factor of three or even five by 2023.
In the meantime, the company plans to continue to beef up its R&D efforts, in which it is already investing 15% of sales. This proportion is set to increase to 20% over the next five years.
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