Véronique Cuziol, project manager at Ubifrance, is convinced that the mechanical engineering sector in France shows the best of French manufacturing: “No, not all French industries are in decline. Some sectors are succeeding. For example, the mechanical engineering industry. ” What exactly is this stellar Industry, how to buy the best table saw? Mechanical engineering companies are diverse in terms of products and services, but generally provide service and produce value added products for the automotive, aerospace and rail.
French mechanical engineering industry has a turnover of 113 billion euros annually, of which 45.6 billion are exported. This puts them in sixth world and third in Europe. Overall there are more than 50,000 companies in the industry, including a few big players (Fives, Alstom, Areva and Air Liquide) and a healthy majority of small companies: 95% of all firms are MSMEs and start-ups.
In addition to China and United States, the European market is a traditional destination of French exports in this sector. Germany remains by far the largest importer. It is therefore not surprising that a lot of companies mechanical engineering French are in the world’s largest industrial fair, Hannover Messe in Germany.
The French enterprises, particularly MSMEs, have been exceptionally effective in leveraging research clusters in the country, some of the best in the world in innovative solutions. A great example is the cluster of industries of Mont Blanc, which specialize in precision machinery, mechatronics and other advanced industrial techniques. There is a national collective interest in creating what has been called the “factory of the future”: a disruptive investment in technologies such as energy efficiency, 3D printing, and advanced robotics that will redefine the future of manufacturing through increased efficiency and cost reduction.
Alunas of these start-ups French are doing much echo with innovative products. For example the French Expliseat, founded in 2011, which produces the world’s lightest seat while offering an innovative and ergonomic design, the “Titanium Seat”. Expliseat recently received certification FAAA (American Federal Aviation Administration) and therefore may provide the US airline industry.
Another example of a successful subsector is manufacturing textile machinery: French companies offer extremely targeted and innovative products and excellent customer service and a highly trained work force.
The top 100 French companies outsourcing includes a large number of business and the LISI group, which has a turnover of more than one billion euros. There are also countless small businesses but very ambitious as Manoir Industries: specializing in forged and cast metal, its goal is to be a world leader in production of metals for the nuclear industry, oil & gas, petrochemical and construction.
Remember that France is one of the most attractive countries in Europe in terms of foreign investment, ranking 4th in the world in terms of industrial FDI. This is no surprise, since foreign investors have access to the second largest economy, third in labor productivity per hour, excellent infrastructure and central geographical position. Moreover, France is second in Europe by the number of patent applications, one of ten such patents the result of collaboration between a French company and a foreign.
Ubifrance, the French agency for export promotion, has 80 offices worldwide. Their role is to help French companies to publicize their products in other countries, as well as assisting foreign companies to find suppliers or French partners.