Every year, VivaTech brings together the greatest minds in our industry to connect, discover, support, and inspire one another. So, of course, Vivatech 2023 was no exception, with 2,500 exhibitors from over 146 countries and talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, Elon Musk of Space X, and Mark Benioff of Salesforce, among many others. While the exhibit halls were buzzing with activity, it was the events outside that truly captivated attendees.
At the many events hosted in conjunction with VivaTech throughout Paris, attendees wine, dine and listen to conversations with exciting and inspiring players in tech in more intimate settings.
One of the highly anticipated side events of VivaTech is Hardware Night, organized by Kickmaker. As part of this event, industry experts gather for roundtable discussions on various topics. Jean-François Fleury, our Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Supply Chain, was invited to share his expertise and insights during the third edition of Hardware Night.
The Topic on The Table
The topic for this roundtable, moderated by Jade Le Maître, CEO of Proxinnov, was “First plant or production outsourcing: which strategy for which product?” Joining Jean-François at the table were Jérôme Monceau, Founder and CEO of Enchanted Tools, and François-Xavier de Thieulloy, Director of the Expertise Division at BPI France.
Jean-François, with his extensive experience, was able to provide valuable insights into large-scale manufacturing.
He began by highlighting the company’s recent transition from Technicolor to Vantiva in September 2022, humorously noting, “We are a young French start-up with 130 years of experience.”
When questioned about Vantiva’s significant outsourcing, he explained that 95% of the company’s production takes place outside of France and that Vantiva “inherited” its current manufacturing setup. According to Jean-François, this came as a result of massive deindustrialization in the early 2000s when many companies worldwide aimed to reduce costs by selling factories and embracing outsourcing. However, he emphasized that the benefits of outsourcing have diminished, prompting Vantiva to reconsider its manufacturing strategy, including the possibility of re-internalization and repatriation.
Throughout the discussion, Jade posed several questions to Jean-François, delving into topics such as managing outsourcing, protecting intellectual property, and preserving company culture, which he admitted is much easier to maintain when manufacturing is done internally. He adds that company culture can run strong in outsourced manufacturing, but this is only accomplished if a company can keep teams that can control and influence all design steps.
At the end of the discussion, the audience, many young tech entrepreneurs in France-based start-ups, posed questions to the participants. One audience member raised the question of whether environmental impact was taken into consideration when developing manufacturing strategies. Jean-François proudly shared Vantiva’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and highlighted the company’s recent achievement of receiving a second Platinum medal from EcoVadis and a string of gold medals in the recent past.
He continued by explaining that Vantiva works with manufacturing partners on not only respecting and exceeding norms when it comes to protecting the environment and ensuring that a significant effort is put towards bettering the human aspect of its operations and the communities of its workers.
You can view the full video (in French) below:
Jean-Fancois’s session starts at 2:49:30