Interview with Franck Weinstoerffer from Transports Jean Claude-Mermet
What is your function and your business sector? I work as the quality control officer at Transports Jean-Claude Mermet. Our business activity relates to transports, logistics and storage, and we also handle ads on vehicles as well as vehicle and office renting. Who are your clients and suppliers? Our customer base is mainly comprised of industrial companies working in all business areas (automobile, plastics processing, etc.), and also with haulage companies. As to our suppliers, they are of course vehicles suppliers and insurers, but also tyre, diesel, fuel and oil suppliers. What are your main assets in face of the competition? Our main asset resides in the fact we practically do everything by ourselves, unlike some haulage companies which subcontract. Another of our strengths lies in our proximity and our important haulage ability in the Rhônes-Alpes area thanks to more than 30 vehicles in this region, which gives our customers flexibility and quality of service. Within your current activity, what is the initiative or launch that you’re the most proud of? Precisely that we do everything by ourselves. Not many haulage companies could have managed this, but we have achieved it. Has your business core evolved in the last few years? Yes. For instance, people use fewer and fewer vehicles for long trips, so they opt for subcontracts. We have also faced an important evolution concerning the working hours. Legislation has forced us to limit driving times, and also to accept compulsory break times. This, alongside giving the haulers better working conditions and reinforcing the road safety. Is innovation important to your company? Yes, but it comes a lot from the suppliers. Why? Because we’re now facing many changes regarding the environment, with more and more rules imposed by the government. These are obvious advances but, economically speaking, they favour our activity in more or less proportions.
Interview with Francis Alizer from AFI Company
What is your function and your business sector? I am the manager of AFI since it started in 1993. Our staff includes ten employees, and we work in the industrial supplies sector as well as providing services to the building trade, companies and communities. Who are your clients and suppliers? Our clients are primarily companies from the construction industry and the industrial sector. In both cases, these may be big companies with subsidiaries as well as more local and regional SMEs, or individual tradespeople. Our suppliers are various tools suppliers and makers in Europe. At the moment we use 1094 different suppliers. What are your main assets in face of the competition? Service. We are more focused on service needs and on the solutions we deliver to the client than on the product per se. We try to determine what will best meet the client’s need, we examine the bill of specifications, we check that the request duly corresponds with his needs and we attempt to find a solution satisfactory to everybody. Within your current activity, what is the initiative or launch that you’re the most proud of? Products I develop for the nuclear power industry. These are products used in the transport of TFA equipment. Actually, we’re at the beginning of a deconstruction phase of nuclear power, but one needs to know that this phase will last 150 years and that it involves a lot of trades and business sectors, including ours. How do you keep your customers happy? Fast logistics, a quick reactivity time and stock. We have increased our stock by 35%, and we have also developed a retail website at the same time to make our e-commerce debut. Which complementary services do you propose alongside your products? We propose a range of services and support to the client depending on his specific needs. Thanks to our network, we are able to support clients who sometimes haven’t a lot of representatives, if at all.
How can you maximize your prospecting efforts?
Effective prospecting remains a key aspect of developing your business. To make it happen, you need reliable marketing strategies and a strong sales force to follow through. The keys to succeed in prospecting You must :
- use a prospect database
- implement a strategy
- keep up the relationship with new customers
- structural (business sector, localization, size, turnover…)
- individual (name of managers, postal address, emails…)
- take heed of your offer and your sales force
- examine the competition and your target audience
- define the prospection area
- retrieve prospecting datas
- divide up the tasks
- brief the salesmen
- centralize and archive the prospecting actions
- evaluate the performances