An interview with CEO Jean-Luc BESNARD

By Alexandre Bouvier from “Pays Thibérien”

RAPIC, a specialist manufacturer of springs and wire forms, based in Nantheuil, was taken over in 2005. In the following interview, we meet CEO Jean-Luc Besnard.

This is a translation of the interview by “Le pays Thibérien,” the local authority website for Thiviers and the surrounding communities. The interviewer was Alexandre Bouvier.

— [AB|Alexandre Bouvier|] : How did you come to be head of a manufacturing company near Thiviers?
— [JLB|Jean–Luc Besnard|] : In 2005, when I was looking to take over a firm, I got in touch with the CRA, a national not-for-profit organization which helps match companies to potential buyers. As a native of Aquitaine, I focused on my own region in the widest sense and visited various small manufacturers and service providers. That brought me to RAPIC, one of the few companies suggested that wasn’t in the red. While it had few assets, it had already introduced a quality system and offered genuine know-how.
— AB : What know-how and competitive advantages does your company offer today?
— JLB : RAPIC’s advantages are the same as those of most of the sector’s small businesses: Responsiveness, Proximity and Service +.

In terms of know-how, our staff combines highly-experienced employees and highly-motivated newcomers.
— AB : What are your medium-term development prospects?
— JLB : Before you can develop, you have to adapt your structure.

All being well, we expect to move into more modern and more spacious premises in 2014. In the meantime, we are upgrading our machinery as rapidly as possible so that we can retain, or rather regain, our competitive advantages over any future competitors.

Lastly, we are seeking to develop pre- and post-production activities that will add to our core business.
— AB : What advice do you have for someone setting up or taking over an industrial firm?
— JLB :

  • Don’t rush in without at least some management/accounting knowledge and understanding of administrative requirements.
  • Ensure you have good in-house support and a reliable accountant.
  • Question yourself every day.
  • Constantly remind yourself that whatever the problems, human resources are a company’s most valuable asset.
  • Look after your health and never lose faith in the future, especially when the going gets tough.
  • Be aware that once the buying process is under way, backtracking will have serious consequences.

Please note that since this interview, RAPIC has moved into its new premises.

View online : Le pays Thibérien