“We operate in two segments,” explains François Lavabre, who is a member of the management committee. “Firstly, we develop software for industry, specifically in the life sciences, food, chemical and discrete manufacturing sectors. Our second pillar is a project management and supervisory service. Each of these areas is equally important to us. Our customers ask us to introduce innovation into their industrial processes through our software solutions. We have to deal with some very complex issues and dependencies.”
Courbon Software SAS, dedicated to software publishing, supplies a wide range of standard software products which are used in many different operations including electronic batch records, supply chain tracking, track and trace, energy management, batch production, alarms, material inventory, quality control, production performance, industrial operation, weighing systems, exchange infrastructure and data analytics.
These are adapted to each manufacturer’s production and processing requirements, resulting in a bespoke solution. The service includes on-site support, 24/7 remote maintenance, training, and technical and regulatory audits. The company’s project management service focuses on multi-technics.
“Our customers work with huge amounts of data,” says Mr. Lavabre. “It is becoming increasingly essential to be able to trace the source of information. One of our key skill areas is establishing the origin of data and identifying how it can be used. We have partnered with companies within the food industry for over 30 years; we know and fully understand the needs and demands of that sector, which means that we are in a position to develop concrete solutions to address specific problems within the areas of information systems and production. We are able to provide equally comprehensive solutions in the other sectors in which we operate. Our main function is the control and optimization of work processes through our software.”
Of the company’s 200 employees, 15 are dedicated to the research and development of new and innovative software solutions. Besides large concerns in the food industry, companies in the pharmaceutical, bio-technical, chemical and automotive sectors number among Courbon’s customer base.
Up to 50% of its 22.8 million EUR annual turnover is generated abroad, the main markets being Belgium, Poland, Brazil, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Spain and Germany. Courbon SAS has been bought and sold a number of times during its lifetime, each move bringing important benefits. “Even though there have been a number of changes in ownership, each stage has been very important for our development,” underlines Mr. Lavabre.
Courbon SAS was acquired by VINCI Energies which contributes to make the firm much more efficient, and allowed Courbon SAS to join the Actemium network (Actemium is the VINCI Energies brand dedicated to industrial solutions). Potential customers can meet representatives of the firm at a number of important trade fairs, including the Pharmapack in Paris, the Maghreb Pharma Expo in Algiers and the Achema in Frankfurt.
“We take part in many events and large trade fairs,” points out Head of Marketing and External Communications Laurie Guillen. “We also organize conferences around Europe and demonstrate our solutions in smaller training sessions too.”
Although the software development market is generally highly competitive, Courbon seems to have carved out a niche for itself. “We have a very particular approach with a specialized, vertical product segmentation,” notes Mr. Lavabre. “With this approach, we try to reduce our risk as much as possible. Innovation is extremely important in our environment, and this is supported by our history and experience.”
Mr. Lavabre has a clear vision of the future in the industry in general and for Courbon in particular. “In the coming years, the traceability of data will become more important than ever,” he says. “We have been market leader in this area for the past four years. Big data and analytics are also increasingly in focus, as is software security. We work with a number of start-ups to integrate security factors into our products. I believe that, when you combine all of these aspects, Courbon has huge potential for growth.”
Mr. Lavabre himself is in no doubt about his own motivation. “For me, the driver is our power of innovation,” he concludes. “We constantly develop and recommend new ideas and technology, and continually try to improve our own performance.”