Interview with Frédéric Perrot, ARaymond France
Frédéric PERROT, tell us a bit about ARaymond :
FP : "ARaymond was founded in 1865 and is headquartered in Grenoble. Today we are a global manufacturing company covering 25 countries and we employ more than 6,000 people. We design and make fastening systems for the automotive, healthcare, agricultural, renewable energy, and manufacturing industries. We work for most of the major global car manufacturers and have a portfolio of more than 25,000 products.
ARaymond France is ARaymond’s French subsidiary. We cover strategic customers [S1] based in France, from PSA and Renault to Faurecia and Valeo. These customers turn to us to design and manufacture custom fastening systems right here at our two Grenoble plants. The products we manufacture here are dispatched to customer sites around the world. In fact, more than 65% of ARaymond France’s revenue comes from export sales; our French subsidiary accounts for 15% of ARaymond’s worldwide revenue."
What made you decide to join Minalogic?
FP : " Our customers are actively seeking new innovations. ARaymond France is uniquely positioned to develop differentiating products that keep us ahead of our US competitors: this is what motivates us to come up with breakthrough innovations. Innovation is part of our core values; it is very important to our people. However, it is also part of how our customers see us. Contrary to popular belief, French car makers are just as innovative as their German counterparts. We are free to express our creative spirit, as long as we meet our customers’ needs in terms of quality, costs, and turnaround times.
The opportunity to network with innovators from other industries—especially ones that make totally different products than we do—gives us access to their R&D best practices and sometimes even gives us totally new ideas for “combo” products we never would have developed on our own.
Grenoble is the only place in the world where you find partnerships like the ones we have with Schneider Electric, the CEA, and Hardis—all made possible by Minalogic."
What collaborative R&D projects are you involved in?
FP : "We are serving as the project lead on PRIMA (backed by the French Single Interministerial Fund). This project involves a consortium of partners including Renault and Fenwick and focuses on Schneider Electric spinoff Gulplug. The goal is to invent an innovative magnetic connector system for trailer hitches and the load-bearing elements of industrial handling vehicles.
But funding is not the reason we joined Minalogic. It is merely a necessary part of supporting smaller businesses that might not otherwise have the resources to work with us. Our main motivation is finding ambitious partners capable of adding value to our product lineup."
What services have you used since joining Minalogic?
FP : " We have mainly taken advantage of expert advice and networking opportunities. Advice mainly concerning collaborative R&D projects, which is something relatively new for us. And the networking opportunities help us raise our profile and get to know the talented businesses across the region. Without Minalogic we never would have been approached by Gulplug—the startup’s founders thought we still made just snaps."
What kinds of partnerships are you looking for as a Minalogic member? Business? Innovation?
FP : "We are looking for partners that are nothing like us. I am a firm believer in working across industries. Bringing together uses, technologies, and products in a totally unique way is how you come up with breakthrough innovations. We all know our own businesses like the back of our hand. The result is often defensive, incremental innovation. Diversity is how you make the big leaps."