By Damien Marc

Paris. 20 June 2024. Unforeseen turbulence can disrupt any industry and the COVID-19 pandemic certainly gave the aerospace industry a shake-up. However, even in such uncertain times, being brave and taking a few calculated risks can often ensure can smoother flight over the long haul. Here, JPB Système CEO, Damien Marc, explains how inspiration from President Macron helped him and others navigate unchartered skies.

Operating within the aerospace sector for almost 30 years now, I have experienced many peaks and troughs; a constant cycle of adversity and triumph that upon reflection, makes me proud of not only personal achievements but the growth and adaptation of the industry as a collective. The old saying ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’ certainly applies in our area of industry, with those who are characterised by a willingness to take calculated risks, challenge the status quo, and seize opportunities for growth and advancement typically among those that succeed in flying higher and for longer.

The most significant challenge in recent memory was of course the COVID pandemic of four years ago. never a good time to confront a pandemic, but for our company, it came at a particularly poor time, shortly after we had just commissioned a new facility as well as two announcing new product solutions. However, inspired by our country’s president, who as COVID struck, encouraged manufacturers to ‘be brave’, and trust that our government would support us, we decided to proceed with our plans.

With the President’s words ringing in our ears, we – with a little bit of trepidation – pressed on with the construction of our new facility and drove forward with the new product solutions. Probably like a few other companies trying to get ahead of the curve, we also decided to over-stock on materials so that we could react quicker upon the industry’s recovery. Although aware that the cash conversion would be degraded from the decision to overstock ahead of the actual need, we were keen to maintain customer satisfaction and not lose business.

It’s probably fair to say that those employers who – despite operations slowing down – managed to retain their staff, are probably the ones who are impacted much less now that production has ramped up and re-recruitment proving a widespread challenge. This is certainly the case from our perspective.

Meanwhile, the President’s call proved to be more than just empty words. Recognising those whose ambitions aligned with their goals to support innovation and accelerate the transformation of key industry sectors, the government recently awarded funding to manufacturers to develop new product solutions and invest in advanced manufacturing technologies to create them.

With 60% growth since 2019 and over 60 new hires, 2024 sees us look proudly to the opening of our new production facility, which via an advanced Industry 4.0 enabled platform embodies our vision for the future and supports our drive to invent and diversify for decades to come. This success would not have been possible without us taking some calculated risks here and there but I’m sure we are not alone in being unafraid to make the occasional bold business decision.

Every challenge requires a different solution for sure, however recent experiences have taught us that there is a certain amount of truth in the adage that fortune favours the brave.

(Damien Marc is CEO of JPB Système, a leading manufacturer of efficiency-enhancing technology solutions for aerospace, aeronautic and other industries, and supplier to the likes of Safran, Pratt & Whitney, GE and Rolls-Royce. The views in this article are the author’s alone)