Two production sites, seven logistics centers with 70,000 m² of storage space spread over the entire country and all ISO 9001 certified, a state-of-the-art powder coating factory in Genlis, 350 employees, annual sales of 100 million EUR, 8,000 t of aluminium transformed, exports mainly to non-European countries – these figures underpin Sepalumic’s leading market position.
Sepalumic’s recipe for success? A strict customer orientation and colours – many different colours. Sepalumic was founded in 1967; for more than 50 years, the company has focused on the design and distribution of aluminium profiles and facades. While many things have changed over this long time one thing has not – the customer- driven business philosophy.
“The needs of customers have always had top priority,” states Chris Ward. “They are the guideline of everything we plan, decide and do. We always strive to satisfy individual needs and therefore rely on proximity. While many competitors have one central warehouse, we have seven warehouses spread over France, in Guadeloupe, La Réunion and Casablanca. This way we can quickly react and flexibly to solve problems. Customers have the opportunity to come right to the warehouse, have a good look at products and transport them home.”
Sepalumic does a lot to keep customers happy. The company stands out with a broad product and service range that has constantly been expanded. Windows, sliding doors, verandas, facades, gates, hand rails and roller blinds are ‘effective, quick to manufacture and easy to install’, as the company claims.
With two production sites close to Dijon and in Casablanca, Morocco, and seven warehouses in Mouans Sartoux, close to Dijon, close to Rennes, in Bordeaux, Guadeloupe, La Réunion and Casablanca, the company ensures it operates close to customers. Regular training helps customers to save time and to enhance efficiency. “Every profile is different and every supplier of profiles uses different tools,” states Mr. Ward. “For this reason, qualified technicians support customers on-site.”
Fundamental in-house knowledge is one strength that sets Sepalumic apart. “We greatly benefit from in-house competences, regardless if we are talking about design, conception or marketing,” stresses Mr. Ward. “We have our own technical department and offer the most diverse finishings and colours, always dependent on what customers want.”
Instead of having one central warehouse, we have seven warehouses spread all over the country. This way, we ensure proximity to customers. Chris WardExport Manager
Especially when it comes to colours, Sepalumic sets new standards and encourages customers to opt for new, exciting colours. The range is vast – and second to none. Setting new standards is an important characteristic of the French company. Not only product-wise. With ‘i-process’, ‘project’ and ‘Grandeur Nature’ , Sepalumic has developed three service types that customers greatly benefit from.
“We created i-process in 2004,” explains Mr. Ward. “It is an exclusive free service that allows customers to produce aluminium joinery in an industrial mode with optimized manufacturing processes. The service allows us to enhance productivity and reduce costs.”
Another flagship service is ‘project’, a solution for more complex construction projects and ‘a service dedicated 100% to an individual project’, as Sepalumic underlines. A design office turns individual ideas into customized products and supports architects and project developers. “In general, the customer gives us a dossier and we work out a solution,” as Mr. Ward sums up. Again, this is a free service. A third pillar is ‘Grandeur Nature’, a premium service and strategic business field with great potential.
“With Grandeur Nature we developed a network of experts, such as window manufacturers, that is dedicated for end consumers,” says Audrey Scomparin who is responsible for the development of Grandeur Nature. ”This is the first time that we work directly with end consumers; so far, we have never been visible to them. They not only benefit from the complete range of custom-made aluminium verandas, pergolas and all aluminium joinery for the home but also from professional marketing and communication strategies, financial support, the provision of qualified contacts, training and personalized support. We organise an annual convention and two regional meetings each year. As it is a premium service, members pay for it. In the future we will place a strong focus on this strategic business division and are keen to push it forward.”
Sepalumic’s efforts have long paid off – in France and elsewhere. With an export share of 25% the company has a strong international presence. Customers relying on Sepalumic’s personalized products can be found all around the world – from Norway to Abu Dhabi, New Caledonia and Africa. 95% of exports are generated outside Europe.
For historical reasons Africa has played a crucial role from the beginning. “Nowadays, we have three warehouse centers in La Réunion, Guadeloupe and Casablanca and a powder coating facility in Casablanca,” points out Mr. Ward. “The plant in Casablanca is slightly smaller than the one in Dijon. Customers come and get their products right at the warehouse. We consider Africa as an important growth market and are keen to strengthen our position. Against this backdrop, we are currently establishing two new sites in Africa – one in Dakar in Senegal, one in Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. Transport costs are tremendously high. Transport costs for a 10,000 EUR project can easily reach 4,000 EUR. Given this, we strive to ensure greater proximity. We want to be as close to customers as possible.”
Again, it is the customer who decides which way Sepalumic is going. “The essence of our strategy is to focus more and more on customers,” emphasises Marketing Manager Celia Andres.“ As a consequence, our engineering office is working out more and more individual, bespoke products and projects. This is clearly our strength and our key driving force today and tomorrow. Our marketing department follows a customer-centric approach. Therefore, we rely on expertise and continue to strengthen it.”