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Nuts about bolts


“Nowadays the costs of fasteners make up only around 15% of the total costs. The outlay for logistics and engineering is responsible for the remaining 85%,” explains Jean- Louis Jerome, general manager of Bossard France. “This is the ‘15/85’ rule. Procurement must happen, a stock must be available, a hole has to be drilled, a nut has to be tightened, and so on. Our engineers have the goal to reduce all these related costs. They drive from place to place in order to optimise design, assembly and production costs. This way, the customers generate enormous savings.”

According to the 15/85 rule, it is possible to save 50% of the total costs of assembly and sometimes even more by optimising the processes of development, construction, purchasing, controls, preparation, production and assembly. By seeing the fasteners in the context of application, the company is able to offer its customers solutions which are tailored to their needs, providing the perfect complement to its partners own competences, thus saving resources. “Better, faster and cheaper is the maxim,” Mr. Jerome emphasizes.

Engineering is only one segment of the company. The other two are products and logistic. As an experienced distributor, Bossard sells all kinds of fasteners from numerous variants of screws to bolts to related products like washers, pins, rivets, and the like.

“We have over 60,000 articles in stock,” Mr. Jerome points out. “That includes a range of our own brand named ecosyn®, for example ecosyn®-plast, a threadforming srcew, which can be tightened directly into thermoplastic elements; errands ecosyn®-fix, which prevent rotational loosening, perfect for electrical equipment; and so on. The brand is developed by us. The new Bossard catalogue came out in October.”

“On top of this wide range of catalogue items, Bossard is also specialised in tailor-made parts,” Mr. Jerome says. “Almost half of the supplied products are nowadays made-to-measures for our customers. We make sure to pick only the best possible manufacturers.”

All this quality goes hand-in-hand with the innovative logistics the company offers. “We have developed a system, which allows for automatic orders,” Mr. Jerome describes. “This system is called smartBin®, a system with integrated scales. It communicates the stock size directly to us, and as soon as it has reached a certain level, the order is done automatically. Currently there are over 200,000 of those scales in use worldwide, 40,000 in France alone.”

In other words, the customers can leave the whole process involving fasteners to Bossard France, from the integration into the assembly to the timely order, all this available to fair and competitive terms.

The sophisticated logistics combined with the quality of the products and the extensive stock makes Bossard France a trustworthy partner to all kinds of customers, especially those who value punctual deliveries over everything else. “We work mostly for industry,” Mr. Jerome says. “In France we are present in most branches of industry. We have a very balanced spread, with certain strength in the area of transport, meaning manufacturers of trains like Alstom and Bombardier, of ships, boats, motorcycles and so on.”

The share of this segment in France is 25% of the annual 41 million EUR turnover. Other industry branches the company distributes to are those involved in machinery building, like manufacturers of motors, turbines, heaters, burners, air-conditioning systems and compressors, as well as companies which manufacture electronic devices like generators, power distributors, telecommunication products, components and transformers.

The fasteners of Bossard France are useful in the sturdy products of the metal industry, from steel to lightweight constructions, for tanks, containers, safes and all kinds of locks, but also very much in demand in precision engineering, where they are needed for medical equipment, navigation systems, optical devices, cameras and various control systems.

The service for the French clients extends way beyond the borders of France; for Bossard there is no distance too far to provide for the customers. “We support our customers abroad and serve them there, too,” Mr. Jerome promises. Though in many countries, the customers will find an office on-site since the French subsidiary of the Bossard Group belongs to a globally operating company.

Founded in 1831, the swiss family company, by now represented by the seventh generation, changed from being a silk trader to ironmongery early on and grew into a multinational company. The headquarters are still in switzerland, in Zug to be precise. In addition, the Bossard Group owns more than 50 subsidiaries all over the world, and in the markets where the company is not personally present, it has a network of competent partners.

The activities in France started 30 years ago, with ongoing success. By now 135 people work for the local offices, and the profit increased steadily. “Here in France, we have four agencies: our headquarters with attached storage near strasbourg, plus sales offices in Paris, Grenoble and Rennes for the direct contact to our customers,” says Mr. Jerome. “There is also a central warehouse in switzerland, from which we sometimes service our French clients.”

Being the French market leader in its segment, the company dealt with the economic crisis fairly well, even though industry in general took quite a hit. “Since we work for the manufacturing sector, we noted the influence of the crisis immediately,” Mr. Jerome remembers. “Our partners produced less and as a consequence ordered less.”

He admits that the market is still suffering under the consequences of the crisis. “This year we noted in June a deceleration of growth, which became more prominent in september.” nevertheless, the company expects to reach a turnover of 45 million EUR in 2012, four million EUR more compared to the previous year, and it intends to accelerate this course in the future. “We have a strategy which focuses on steady growth,” Mr. Jerome emphasises. “in 2009 we realized a turnover of 30 million EUR. We intend to double it by 2015.”

Considering the quality of products and service Bossard offers, there is no doubt that this goal is reachable. After all, screwing up is not part of the company policy.

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