Designer and manufacturer of intelligent modular conveyors for the logistics sector, SME from Saint-Etienne continues to go from strength to strength. Boa concept now has 75 employees and in 2022 should reach a turnover of approximately 20 million euros, which represents an increase of 35%. On Monday, the company officially opened an extension to its premises on the occasion of its 10th anniversary of the launch of a new product: the V 2 “plug in store”, a robotic inventory management solution.
As far as they are concerned, it doesn’t change anything. The international context in no way currently blocks or even slows down the progress of Boa Concept, which successfully appeared in June 2021 on the Euronext Growth market in Paris. Covid damaged the SMEs of Saint-Etienne, whose turnover in 2020 fell to 5.6 million euros (the target was 11 million euros) compared to 9 achieved in 2019. However, driven, among other things, by the development of the sector in e-commerce , bounced back very well last year, growing at an unexpected rate… 162% to 14.8 million euros. The first half of 2022 is in continuity with the already recorded EUR 9 million (+50% compared to 1.ahem half of 2021) and a total of approximately twenty million is calculated for the entire year.
“Everything is definitely going faster than expected”, comments Jean-Lucien Rascle. And again he adds, “potential growth was limited in part by a lack of available labor and inventory”. Now ten years since Chantal Ledoux and her husband Jean-Lucien Rascle, engineers and entrepreneurs in series, pure products of the School of Mines in Saint-Etienne, launched the Boa Concept. Before their actual production, the company invented intelligent modular conveyors designed for the world of logistics. These small modular conveyors, one to three meters long, connectable and each equipped with a motor and an electronic card, offer unprecedented flexibility to “intralogistics” (order generation, packaging, receiving, production…).
Plug and store, version 2 is on the market
The idea also ensures the investment of the sector by, as a result, allowing the logistic routing system to be adapted to the physiognomy of any place, as well as its rapid expansion or, conversely, its reduction if necessary depending on the volume of activities. 140 locations are now equipped with solutions, whether they belong to logistics players (Logsytech, Vingeanne, etc.), direct e-commerce players (Oscaro, Ekosport, Motoblouz, Aroma zone, Bricoprivé, Zoomalia, etc.), retail (Gemo, Obut, Kingtoy…) or industry (Raja, Orexad, Mersen, Hamelin…). The research and development team – four people, but in constant contact with various specific design offices, which represent 40% of the workforce – works to improve and diversify the products. And there is something new in this topic.
Where the average basket for our conveyor is €400,000, it is €1 million for the Plug and Store.
Jean-Lucien Rascle, co-director of Boa Concept
Boa Concept already offered Plug and store, a robotic inventory management system that was adopted by Obut, for example. The development of its version 2, supported by the Aura region through the BPI (Public Investment Bank) with up to 50% subsidies and refundable advances for an investment of EUR 1 million, aims to really diversify the turnover, which is still at 95%. initial product. This “V II” is now on the market. “Where the average conveyor bin is €400,000, it’s €1 million for a Plug and Store”summarizes Jean-Lucien Rascle, who promises that other solutions, “for example additional optimization products”will be released soon.
From external growth to project department
In an economic context that is likely to be increasingly appropriate at this level, external growth projects are being considered. In France, “about the technical possibilities associated with new products”, says Chantal Ledoux. And abroad, “on small study and business structures to best fit the way of working in the target countries”. 20% of Boa’s turnover is currently generated outside of France: in Europe and Morocco. In short, enough to give Boa managers serious prospects for development, who are not worried about the huge remaining potential for customers to equip themselves with conveyors. While they are planning a new capital increase, they hope to reach a turnover of €35 million in 2027 and will hire around fifty people by then, after hiring around ten people in 2021 and then 22 in 2022 (a few positions are still open): engineers , IT specialists, project managers, sales, administration, fitters: these are all positions.
We have improved the working environment. It matters a lot in today’s competition recruit.
Chantal Ledoux, co-director of Boa Concept
Currently, they have 75 employees, so that they have a little more practical comfort, but also aesthetics. Boa has leased part of the former premises of the late offset printer Titoulet on the Loire on the border between La Talaudière and Saint-Etienne, which has just expanded into an adjacent building, now operating on 4,700 m2. 800,000 euros were invested in the installation of new workshops, the improvement of processes in the entire location and, above all, in making the offices more pleasant and attractive. “And this work environment is of great importance in the face of today’s recruitment competition”, emphasizes Chantal Ledoux. The extension, celebrated on Monday at the same time as the company’s first decade, allows Boa to see the arrival until and including 2023. After that, it will probably be necessary to open a side workshop. Probably nearby: ZA Molina La Chazotte is right next door…