AN INVENTOR AND A MARKETING EXPERT.
How could we present an article on innovation without referencing MACC? Since 1960, the Châtellerault firm, which specialises in selling materials to craftsmen, has lived by and for invention. One could say invention is in the company’s very basis - MACC was founded by Georges Lavrard, an ingenious inventor, joined by Michel Susset, who had a gift for business.
More than half a century later, the Châtellerault firm is still managed by the two founders’ sons. Georges had launched his firm with an idea: a revolutionary folding ladder that he sold door to door to the craftsmen most likely to be interested.
Since then, MACC has developed on the same principle: doing direct sales of high quality material to building professionals and to answer every striving need craftsmen might have.
YOUR IDEAS ARE GOLD.
The founders’ ingenious idea was to satisfy their customers’ needss - the best method was to ask the craftsmen directly for their own ideas. For half a century, MACC has developed innovations suggested by its own customers or by inventors.
The prosperity of this option is based on a contract of absolute trust between the firm and "idea getters". Anyone that has permitted MACC to register a new product to its catalogue is ensured payment in return.
"All the ideas are studied," asserts Jean-Christophe Susset, vice chairman of MACC.
"Yes, but there are more ideas that are no good than ones that are good," explains Emmanuel Dechatre, Research and Marketing director, whose team is in charge of studying the feasibility of proposed projects.
"At MACC, the customer is the cornerstone of everything," emphasisesJean-Christophe Susset. "He is asked about his needs, we ask him if the prototype suits him, and of course, if he is going to buy the product or not. What matters is his opinion."
TWO OUT OF THREE BUILDERS.
Emmanuel Dechatre adds, "With this method, at the end, we are sure that a MACC product will sell."
The Research and Development departement, directed by Bertrand Cupif, is tasked with creating a finished product, from the initial ideas of customers, even if these ideas aren’t complete.
"The most difficult," he notices, "is to find innovation on products as basic as a wheelbarrow."
Nevertheless, MACC manages rather well - every year, on average, two new exclusive products appear on its catalogue. MACC makes a killing: of 300,000 building professionals in France, two thirds are MACC customers, whose product demonstration vans continue, like in the early days, to sell door to door. This is an astonishing system that MACC has exported, through its subsidiaries, in Spain, Italy, Benelux and Great Britain — the export of the franchise representing 20% of its turnover.