E-commerce has raised the bar for demand and customization in all areas

[CONTENU PARTENAIRE] Today it is no longer enough to stand out in the product, but at the same time it is essential to innovate in the service to meet the expectations of professional customers accustomed to the agility and ultra-personalization brought by the e-public in general exchange. In terms of professional clothing, the Cepovett Group and its three brands (Cepovett Safety, Lafont and Ox’Bridge) stand out for their commitment to product innovation, manufacturing experience and customer service. To learn more about this winning strategy from a French company that is a leader in Europe in its market that is expanding internationally, we spoke with its CEO Nicolas Sandjian.

What are the challenges in your professional apparel sector?

Firstly, we must distinguish 2 know-how within the Cepovett group, on the one hand the design and manufacture of clothing for the purpose of identification and brand image such as the airplane pilot costume, on the other hand, protective clothing that meets the professional safety standards for public works or high risk businesses.

In our field, the keyword is responsiveness. Previously, our orders came in the form of a planned and centralized “campaign”, but our organizational model was shaken 10 years ago by e-commerce… and the acceleration continues. From now on, the order is placed instantly. We need to provide an ultra-responsive service, delivering the right product at the right time. For example, in a fire-related risk job, the new employee must receive their professional clothes on time, otherwise they will not be able to work…

In this context, we work just in time, in real time, with no margin for error.

How has your organization evolved to manage bespoke, qualitative and quantitative international orders?

We invest in R&D at two levels in product design and organization. For products, we have to be in tune with increasingly stringent standards and always improve ergonomics, style and comfort.

For service innovation, it is above all a matter of properly managing personalization (marking, sizes) thanks to very precise logistics. Because we dress everyone!

For inventory management, it’s about having excellent forecasting tools and an ultra-sharp organization to ensure parts delivery between 24 and 48 hours in 160 countries. We have two platforms, one of 20,000 m2 in Gleizé (Rhône) at the company’s headquarters and a second in Saint Quentin in Picardy near the airports. We can thus radiate at European level and deliver worldwide.

How do you manage the complexity between the order of a craftsman, a great chef or the thousands of employees at Accor hotels?

Our particularity is to work tailored to multiple types of customers, multiple products, from artisans to multinationals.

Major contractors (Vinci, RATP, Air France, Aéroport de Paris, Accor Hotels, Sodexo, Veolia, Orange, Europcar, etc.) are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. We leverage tools developed for large accounts and use them for smaller accounts because our platform is shared.

For example, we have developed individualized order taking. The pilot enters his code and orders his clothing according to his specific endowment, introduces the different customization elements (size, climate, grade, embroidery, etc.) and he will receive his complete and personalized package at home. We are in a “front office” approach that simplifies the task on the user’s side but requires us to develop a complex system to “digest” the information on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, on the one hand, we have mass contracts with large international groups and individualized service for orders and after-sales (exchanges, etc.). This offers excellent customer proximity that reassures.

What are Cepovett’s ambitions today?

We are strengthening our physical presence through the creation of subsidiaries (England, Germany, Benelux, Canada) and partnerships with the Gulf countries to expand internationally. Physical presence with our customers is important, because digital is not everything, we must complement it with advice and support.

With the evolution of standards in the world, which are increasingly closer to European Standards, we are moving towards a standardization of business needs. International groups are looking for security and employee service, we really have a card to play to deploy our know-how everywhere!

What is your vision of CSR in textiles?

In this inflationary period of raw materials, we are interested in finding alternatives in terms of supply (organic cotton, recycling). The use of recycled materials in textiles makes it possible to consume less and reinject fibers into the industry to give them a second life. We are working on this issue with our suppliers and partnering with recycling channels to collect used clothing from our customers and manage the lifecycle of our collections. This is an example of concrete action to create a virtuous circle. Personally, I am very committed and we chose the bee as our ambassador installing hives at the headquarters. Other actions are carried out on the ground in Mali and Madagascar, where our factories are located. We prefer to manage these actions in favor of the environment than to donate money to organizations that have heavy structural costs. Real action is needed.

What’s your news?

For the Lafont brand, we will be present at Sirha, the global meeting point for hotels, restaurants and catering from the 23rd to the 27th of September (EUREXPO, Lyon, France). We will present a new collection of kitchen coats in the company of many prestigious ambassadors such as Georges Blanc, Sébastien Vauxion, Peter Riedjik, Nina Métayer… It is a world of high standards, pleasure and excellence that suits us very well!

This content was produced with SCRIBEO. The editorial team of BFMBUSINESS did not participate in the production of this content.

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