19 January 2016
Interview with Luc Tournaire: For Tournaire, ‘innovation’ rhymes with ‘boldness’!
What are the two words that best represent Tournaire?
- The two words that come spontaneously to my mind are ‘boldness’ and ‘innovation’
In what respect is Tournaire a ‘bold’ company?
- Tournaire has been a family company ever since it was founded in 1833. It still is today, but at the same time it can intervene on behalf of clients all over the world, since 2/3 of our annual sales (in all, 56 million euros in 2014) were to international clients established in more than 70 countries in the six continents. Our boldness lies in our ability to get the best of both worlds: as a family company we can make strategic choices in a self-sufficient and totally independent way, but we also have the will to go beyond the geographical boundaries of our origins and set out, without reservations, to conquer international markets
- I believe our boldness is also visible in our ability to take a fresh look at ourselves, and in our desire to continue to expand the limits of our expertise despite our two hundred years of history: this has happened several times in the life of the company: in 1930, when Tournaire first made estagnons (containers) in one-piece aluminium; in 1950 when we expanded into the pharmaceutical and agrochemical markets; in 1961 with the design of the first floating-filter extractor in response to the needs of our client Tombarel, a perfume producer in Grasse… Finally, in order to better meet the needs of a constantly changing market we have, over the last few months, been performing an audit of our Equipment Division that has led to a total rethink of our development strategy for this line of business with a budget of more than 3 million euros. (Maggy, lien vers interview récente de F Bardini). From today this Division will be more than ever a pro-active player in its market, on the alert, attentive to the new trends and ceaseless changes so as to be a dynamic, adaptable and efficient partner.
- Another example of boldness comes to my mind: this is the ambitious plan we have set up over the last few years to manage effectively the skills and know-how of our employees. On one hand we have Tournaire’s own in-house academy, founded in 2009: its aim is to pass on know-how, promote employee development, provide access to the various levels of professional qualification and protect jobs. Beyond this, the ambition of this structure is to adapt jobs to the new economic and industrial situation. In this respect our company with its payroll of 250 is every bit as good as much larger groups which generally have much greater resources available. (lien vers http://www.tournaire.fr/le-groupe/developpement-durable/gestion-des-competences-des-emplois-et-des-savoirs/ ) For in Tournaire we have always believed that the true value of a company lies in the men and women of talent working for it. We therefore attach enormous importance to the selection and recruitment of candidates, their training, their career development and the quality of their lifestyle with us, since contented employees are an essential foundation on which to build customer satisfaction and loyalty.
And what about innovation? In what ways is Tournaire innovative?
- Our pioneering spirit and capacity for innovation are inseparable from the name of Tournaire; they are essential for a company like ours, they are part of our culture and have been built into our DNA generation after generation. To move on from our historic market with the perfume producers in Grasse to working for other sectors like food production, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, agriculture or animal health, we had to think, innovate, move forward, unceasingly test and refine our equipment; similarly to diversify from equipment to packaging we started from our existing knowledge and expertise and tested numerous materials, assessing their respective qualities, before choosing 99.5 per cent pure aluminum or co-extruded plastic for our packaging. Today Tournaire offers the widest range of technical packaging on the market, enabling us to respond to all demands, however complex they may be.
- In this field of R&D and innovation, the goals for our teams are clearly identified: for the Equipment Division the aim is to contribute to the implementation of the most innovative solutions in the fields of extraction, distillation and rectification, in full compliance with the ever-changing regulatory constraints. Our Equipment Division is constantly adapting its offering to follow the changing environments and industrial constraints of our clients so as to be closer to their everyday needs; the future of this Division also depends on the intensification of processes through technical and industrial partnerships so as to develop new innovations precisely adapted to its clients’ needs. For the Packaging Division the goal is the continuing improvement of the robustness, lightness, ergonomics and recyclability of our technical packaging, the improvement of the barrier function of the packaging, taking into account, when necessary, the presence of a complex environment (lien vers : http://www.tournaire.fr/le-groupe/recherche-developpement/), the specification and improvement of cleanliness, and the design of closure systems that are still better and easier to use for our clients.
- During our history we have taken out many industrial patents to protect our inventions, which have become benchmarks in our markets. To mention just a few: the first System Plus® tamper-proof screw-cap designed by Jean Tournaire in 1978; in 1996, a patent for the first compact condensation, decantation and storage column for the pharmaceutical sector; in 2005 a patent for the GPI seal; in 2010 a patent for the granule dispensing cap, etc.
- One last example of our capacity for innovation: in 2014, Tournaire became one of the first companies in Grasse to be strongly present on web 2.0 and take advantage of all its functions: a completely revamped web site (www.tournaire.fr), now available in 3 languages (French, English, Spanish), the professional ‘Process & Materials’ blog, on which you are reading this article, the creation of a powerful digital ecosystem with interconnections between the web site, the blog and all the accounts and pages on the social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viadeo, Youtube and Google+. Our employees have also been made fully aware of this significant digital evolution. Thus Tournaire’s digital transformation is shared and fostered by all employees who so desire.
Thanks to these two strong values, boldness and innovation, we are today seen as a professional benchmark, expert and attentive to our clients. Their satisfaction rate is 97%,, a testimony to their loyalty to Tournaire and our long-lasting commercial relationship.