To support the ambitions of a unified, innovative and digitalised Group where human energies come together to realise their potential, we provide a useful snapshot of the four functional and dynamic areas. A look back at some of the key facts about them:
Ethics and compliance are growing concerns for the Group’s employees, even more so for the new generations joining the company. For the implementation of the Sapin II law [French anti-corruption legislation], LACROIX Group has taken a rather avant-garde approach, initiated at the end of 2017, by calling upon the French Anti-Corruption Agency (AFA) and its assistance mission to economic actors. The Group has indeed benefited from individualised support in setting up and improving its anti-corruption program. This was a real accelerator for the deployment and integrity of this approach.
“During an AFA presentation at Middlenext in December 2017, the department for assistance of economic actors spoke about its missions and invited participants to not hesitate in seeking its assistance. As a mid-sized company, the resources allocated to the “compliance” areas remain modest, despite the growing awareness of the challenges related to the fight against corruption. The Group therefore responded favourably to this pilot approach, considering it useful to benefit from methodological and legal support in the implementation and improvement of the components of our compliance program. Then, with a program endorsed by the AFA in hand, we were able to roll out our policy across the Group in which we provided face-to-face training to more than 450 employees, including our Polish and German teams. These individuals were subsequently certified as “compliant” following a benchmark assessment.”
At the same time, cultural changes have taken place. “Contract Management” and “bid process” cultures have been established step by step but durably in the Group’s activities. A dedicated digital “Legal & Compliance” portal has been created and made freely available to all employees. More recently, efforts aimed at structuring of the Group’s organization and management of Intellectual Property have led to the recognition of innovation’s value alongside the intangible heritage of innovation and patent creation. This inventiveness, embodied by the LACROIX Tech technical community, also ties into fertile discussions of R&D breakthroughs at LACROIX Group.
Two main themes have emerged from the rise of R&D in the Group in recent years: the technology roadmap and recognition of career development in the technical branch.
“Created in 2019, the technology roadmap has been in place since 2020. It is obviously relevant to our needs since it is the result of mutual synergies and priorities shaped by all our R&D teams. It integrates the concerns of multiple contributors: communication protocol, embedded computing, cloud computing, security, etc. It ensures that we are ready to manage and select the technologies of tomorrow.
The technical ladder, the third issue after management and project management, structures career development and progression for the technical area. An innovation originating in English-speaking countries, this approach is widely used throughout the technology industry. Seven “members of technical staff” have been appointed in 2020.
These two examples illustrate the LACROIX Group’s technology industry credentials, which are now indisputable.”
More R&D and a twofold increase in spending over the last 4 years means more funding is needed! LACROIX Group currently benefits from the Research Tax Credit, and its establishment of French and European collaborative projects makes it eligible for additional funding support for its R&D. Nonetheless, funding, although a less “visible” subject, remains key for LACROIX Group.
“You might say that we’ve been active these past 5 years in the M&A category: we completed six acquisitions, one acquisition of a minority stake and one joint–venture with BPIFrance. At the same time, we had to finance the Group’s organic growth and working capital requirements. In 2020 and in the midst of the COVID crisis, we also contracted a state-guaranteed loan (PGE) for €18.5M, and on this occasion we had confirmation that our banking partners are behind us and have full confidence in our strategy.
We also updated the finance function over the course of this plan, through digitalisation. A few examples: dematerialised invoicing to customers, digitalised expense reporting, dematerialised supplier invoicing (still in progress).
We have also launched a project to harmonise and modernise our reporting tools.”
Numerous projects were investigated during this plan, some of which are still ongoing. They all serve the same cross-functional purpose of making the Group’s businesses more competitive and more agile so that they move more quickly. The Ambition 2020 plan contains a lot of “doing,” “know-how” and action, as well as a lot of “making known” and communication: saying, showing, explaining, both internally and externally, who exactly the LACROIX Group is. What is its course, its vision, its strengths?
“LACROIX Group’s image and reputation are important for all our stakeholders, to give them confidence and reinforce their choice to believe in us. The development of the Group’s communication over recent years can be summarised in 4 words: cross-cutting, coherent, digital and transparent.
Cross-functional collaboration is certainly the most important. By creating the Communication Commission four years ago, consisting of the communication managers from each of the three businesses and myself, and by having it take all the structural decisions related to our communication strategies and tools, we have rapidly given coherence and complementarity to our messaging. This organisation has also allowed us to accelerate the digitalisation of our communication, using a content strategy on social media, for example.
Let’s continue to make known what we are doing and what we believe in for the future.”
LACROIX Group, a family-owned, mid-size international technological equipment manufacturer putting its technological know-how toward a more connected and sustainable world, the Smart World, is today recognised and followed by the national media. It is also increasingly recognised by its stakeholders.