|” With our partners, we service the entire French territory and 32 countries in Europe ! “
Transports Feuillet is a family-run business located in Dagneux, in the Ain department, specialising in transporting mini-batches of 1 to 5 pallets throughout France. We talk with Lionel Fratta, grandson of the founder, who, with his brother Thierry, has managed the company since 2004.
Can you tell us a bit about the origins of Transports Feuillet ?
My grandfather René Feuillet bought the company in 1945, when it was hust a beverage and fuel trade. The goodwill included a transport licence, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the activity developed. We were doing then on a regional scale what we do today on a national level ; in other words the technical consolidation and delivery of small pallestides batches in Rhône-Alpes and collection in Rhône-Alpes / PACA.
Your company has been in business for 70 years. What is the secret of your success ?
We have an unusual operating philosophy and a unique positioning in the region. There are lots of operators in our business, “line hauliers” we call them, who specialise in particular routes such a Lyon-Bordeaux and Lyon-Paris. We provide operations to multiple destinations and service the entire French territory with our partners. We also pay careful attention to ensure quality and to respect deadlines. For that is often what makes the difference !
Why did you build a new logistics hub ?
The old hub had already reached saturation point in 2006, but the economic crisis forced us to postpone any kind of investment. Our new hub is twice as big as the old one. It has a surface area of 5 100m² and entered operation in March 2014. Every morning trucks come and go with goods for numerous destinations in Rhône-Alpes. This is where we “slit up” the trailers and prepare deliveries. Over time, the old buildings will be reassigned for warehousing and for preparing orders.
Transports Feuillet joined the Astre Group in 1992. Why ?
Astre is a group of about 160 companies operating in the transport sector, 90 in France and 70 in Europe. Joining the groupe has helped us expand our business to 32 European countries !We work with 18 partners and we are now creating a new route in the north of France that is scheduled to start in June. The Group has since created a number of spin-offs with Astre Iberian Peninsula, Astre Italy, Astre Benelux and soon Astre Switzerland.
How do you go about making your business more environmentally-friendly ?
We are commited to reducing the volume of pollutant exhaust emissions from our vehicles, in particular through the ADEME CO2 Objective Charter. This involves very rigorous servicing and monitoring of our equipment and engines. We utilise embedded computing tools to provide information feedback, our drivers follow training sessions to reduce consumption, we operate the most recent trucks… it is interesting to note that 20 years ago, trucks returned consumption figures of 50l/100km. Today, that has dropped to 30l/100km !
Why did you join LUTB-RAAC ?
We joined LUTB about five years ago. It is a good way to think about the future, to enter into partnerships and share our experiences on a very wide variety of topics. We can have discussions on engine design, silent vehicles or urban distribution. As an example, we have run tests on vehicles to minimise noise by using insulated flooring, we have worked on pneumatic locking systems… simply to illustrate that there are still many areas to be explorated !
|Transports Feuillet – Key figures
|« Everything hinges on our ability to develop smart materials… »
Hutchinson has operations in 23 countries, employes more than 30 000 persons, including 8 000 in France. We talk innovation with Jean-Pierre Bretaudeau, international research and partnership manager, at the Group’s Research Centre, near Montargis.
What is the speciality of the Hutchinson Group ?
Hutchinson is a world-leading supplier of “smart” solutions designed to enhance comfort and safety essentially in the automobile and aerospace industries. We design and develop technologies primarily for anti-vibration, fluid transfer and sealing applications, to optimise the energy performance of our customers. We rely on our knowledge of materials and their functions to strengthen our drive to become the worldwide reference in our fields.
What kind of strategy does Hutchinson implement to boost developement ?
In a nutshell, we can say that at Hutchinson, function precedes product. Simply put, we have gone beyond the simple logic of product and moved into a dynamic logic of function and efficienty. For example, we have designed an active, anti-vibration system for automobiles to help reduce vibration and optimise consumption. This has prompted us to think in terms of energy efficienty and thermal management, such that we have considerably exceeded the limits of our mission as a manufacturer of elastomer products, even though our elastomer culture remains one of our major strengths.
How do you shape you R&D policy ?
Innovation is at the heart of our strategy. The Group invests 5% of its revenue in R&D every year. For it is our belief that the future belong to “smart materials” that can be adapted to product functions. The engineers in our research centre develop new polymers, thermoplastics and composite materials as well as new manufacturing processes to create more lightweight products, promote better energy management and improve user comfort and safety. We also have state-of-the-art equipment to assist our work in chemical analysis, digital simulation, behaviour of materials, mechanical vibration, transformation processes, acoustic measurements and so on.
Does your research work bring tangible results in terms of performance ?
Oh yes, indeed ! Automobile constructors are always on the look-out for new technologies that lower consumption using lighter materials and improve efficiency. We have, for example, developed solutions that lighten our products by 20% as well as solutions that improve driveline energy output by 15%, at the same time delivering a significant reduction in consumption. We have also developed a kinetic energy recovery system for hybrid vehicles that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy under braking. Innovations such as these have made us a privileged partner for some of the world’s major constructors.
What is the nature of your collbaoration with LUTB-RAAC ?
We have been a member for several years now. The primary interest is to be in contact with the lead players in the automobile and transport sector, which allows us to share our energies with partners and create a real synergy. We will be taking part in June “Automotive Techdays” organised by the Rhône-Alpes Automotive Cluster to present three of our latest innovations. Our goal is to be in sync with manufacturers’ expectations so it is important to be in touch with them on a permanent basis. LUTB-RAAC provides the ideal forum for interaction and evolution.