How has the group reorganised itself since the sudden death of its chairman Christophe Jung last December?
The capital is now held by Christophe's three children: Virginie, Jean-Baptiste and Paul. Their mother also sits on the supervisory board. A management board has been set up around Michel Walter, who chairs the board after having been managing director. It is important to note that the governance had already been reorganised to allow Christophe Jung to concentrate on strategy. A team had been set up several years ago to prepare to take over from him, so it is now in place and the company's strategy has not changed.
What are your priorities for the group's logistics business?
The management of automated flows is now so widespread that it has become a key priority. We have equipped ourselves with one of the most efficient WMS (warehouse management system) type inventory management tools on the market, namely Reflex. Christophe Jung had put together a powerful IT project team made up of numerous engineers. In April 2024, our site in Dambach-la-Ville (Bas-Rhin) will be implementing an automated preparation solution, which we see as a pilot for a possible wider roll-out later on. Automation allows us to meet the increasingly short deadlines demanded by our customers.
What other developments do you see in logistics?
The health crisis has generated an increase in demand for stockpiling, which can be described as 'securing', to protect against supply uncertainties. I have the feeling that we are moving away from the previous practice of "zero stock", including in sectors that were the most fervent supporters of it, such as the automobile industry. Furthermore, the movement towards outsourcing of the logistics function by shippers remains significant, and last year we won a contract of this type from a major client in the region.
What are your main projects at the moment?
We are starting to operate the largest platform in the group's history in the north of France: 60,000 m² in the Lille metropolitan area, straddling the municipalities of Illies and Salomé, which we are renting and which was built by the operator PRD, for the needs of a client in the food industry. These premises were delivered in three stages, between last December and March. The site already employs 75 people and it is expected that the number of employees will increase to 200 within two to three years. The building in which this warehouse is located still has a reserve of 40,000 m² depending on opportunities that may arise. In addition, in Dambach-la-Ville, in addition to automation, we are expanding our two platforms to 34,000 m² since February and 28,500 m² at the end of May. In total, we have 310,000 m² of logistics space in Alsace and Hauts-de-France. Pure' logistics, excluding transport, represented a turnover of 34 million euros last year, out of a total of 86 million euros for the group, with a workforce of just over 600 employees.
You were a partner of the Euro Supply Chain trade fair in 2022 and have renewed your support for 2023. What did this exhibition bring you? What do you propose for this second edition? As an Alsatian company proud of its roots, it would have been inconceivable for us not to participate in the launch of the show and not to support it. With its regional profile, the show has managed to create a friendly atmosphere, with directly operational contacts: it is the meeting of the great family of our trades! I believe that now that it has proven itself, Euro Supply Chain has the assets to take on a more national dimension. For this second edition, we are organising a workshop on innovation in the automation of flows, exactly in phase with the new offers described above that we are starting to deploy. Can Alsace establish itself as a logistics region despite its lack of land? I'm convinced of it, and it's a northerner, a logistics region, who's telling you this! I don't think that Alsace is worse placed than its neighbours located on its eastern or western borders to capture the major European flows. It is also a gateway for trade with Eastern Europe. Furthermore, logistics activity is often linked to a port and, with Strasbourg, we have a strong river infrastructure which is resolutely investing in multimodal transport. Moreover, Alsace seems to me to be particularly well placed to seize the opportunities of urban logistics, which consume less space.