With the hard-hit premium fragrance market its core business, Groupe Pochet is set to see around a 30% drop in sales for 2020 as a result of the health crisis. A return to profitability and increased agility are two big goals for the French family-owned glassmaker. The group also is promoting its Morphoz augmented modelling tool designed to facilitate and speed up the fragrance development process.
“The coronavirus crisis has had a major economic impact on the group that will be felt for quite some time and we don’t foresee a return to 2019 levels until 2022-2023,” said Tristan Farabet, CEO of Groupe Pochet, at a press conference this morning in Paris.
Pochet outlined several priorities to respond to its current situation.
First, a return to profitability. Groupe Pochet has put an industrial reorganization plan into place at its metal and plastics packaging subsidiary Qualipac, which has been losing business since 2018. Farabet confirmed that the company is no longer for sale following failed negotiations to divest the business to PSB Industries earlier this year. “In this time of crisis, we are choosing to capitalize on the group’s multiple areas of expertise,” Farabet noted.
One of Qualipac’s two production sites in Aurillac will be shuttered and more than 130 jobs will be cut.
Collective performance agreements (a way of avoiding job cuts, where employees might, for example, agree to work part time or for a lower wage) have been put in place at Pochet du Courval and Solev, the group’s decoration division.
A second priority is to increase agility. On this front, Pochet continues to develop its Morphoz augmented modeling tool, a solution launched last year to reduce development times by giving clients an “aesthetic and economic view” of their product. “This tool responds to the quickening pace of product development and will allow cost-savings in numerous areas, including the production of samples.” With Morphoz, clients are able to visualize parameters, such as the distribution of glass, the impact of lightweighting and different decoration techniques and colors, which reduces the need for samples and trials.
“Co-creation upstream is a key factor for our clients, and deadlines should not lead to a simplification of the creative process,” the group explains. In March 2021, Pochet will launch a platform for Morphoz allowing exchanges with its clients on development and validation phases. It is also publishing Morphoz “trend books” twice a year.
The group is also creating a central customer service department in France for Qualipac and is rolling out Pochet 4.0, an IT system allowing it to be more efficient in managing production and more reactive.
Pochet also highlighted its collection of standard bottles—this September it launched a dedicated website for its Standards by Maison Pochet offer; bottles and jars that cater to brands' sustainable development concerns though lightweighting, recycled glass (Pochet's SEVA) and refillable formats. The website also highlights the decoration options on offer.
A third priority for the group is further advancing its CSR initiatives. With the crisis resulting in heightened expectations among its customers in terms of sustainability, the group is putting a big focus on this area. It states that some 80% of purchases at its French sites are made through French suppliers, for example, and this year Pochet du Courval and Solev were awarded Gold labels from EcoVadis (which evaluate CSR performance), while Qualipac attained Platinum status.
The group also highlighted its SEVA1 closed loop glass offer, claiming that in three months in 2019, the use of 530 tons of raw material were avoided thanks to SEVA1. When it comes to plastics, Pochet Groupe has added 15 new plastics through its Virtuous Plastics Program, ranging from RPET to PP partially made from agro-forestry waste. It has committed to using at least 10% recycled plastic in its products by 2025.
Part of its €200m investment to modernize its production facilities between 2015 and 2019, the group invested in a galvanization line at Qualipac in Aurillac that is said to reduce the environmental impact of the process by 40% compared to classic galvanization. At Solev, meanwhile, Groupe Pochet invested in a treatment unit that captures and processes polluting emissions.
The group is also aiming to grow its international business—it has two production sites in China, (Qualipac China and Qualimetal) and one in Brazil—and is seeking commercial partnerships to develop in those regions. Its activity in Brazil has been especially hard hit, according to the group. And while fragrance will remain its core business, increasing its footprint skincare is also a focus.