[LES ECHOS] VLAD: greener and cheaper batteries by focusing on people and Industry 4.0

[LES ECHOS] VLAD: greener and cheaper batteries by focusing on people and Industry 4.0

ONLINE ON www.lesechos.fr on 11/27/2023

A leader in the medical field, VLAD, a battery manufacturer and distributor in Indre-et-Loire, is taking care of its difference in a highly competitive sector to conquer new markets, particularly in the mobility sector.

By Christine Berkovicius

Ten years ago, VLAD was a small company of 15 people dedicated to the manufacture and distribution of batteries. Today, this company based in Parçay-Meslay (Indre-et-Loire) has 90 employees. It has multiplied its turnover by four and has established itself as the leader in France in the field of batteries for the medical sector. In the meantime, Vlad was taken over in 2016 and has completely transformed. "We have two reactors that drive us forward, Industry 4.0 and corporate social responsibility," says its president, Jean-Louis Jarry, a sixty-two-year-old self-taught entrepreneur.

In a fast-growing sector where competition is global, the company, which is triple ISO certified, has used computerization, digitization and automation to lower its production costs. Two robotic lines have been set up to gain "30% in productivity" and improve product quality, without ceasing to hire.


In addition to streamlining the industrial tool, Vlad has reworked its offer by developing eco-designed, reconditionable, seamless lithium-ion batteries that can be opened and dismantled to reuse certain cells instead of throwing everything away. The challenge is to meet the growing environmental requirements of contractors, particularly in the hospital sector. "If we want to produce batteries in France as in China, it doesn't work because we're more expensive. The only solution is to differentiate yourself," the boss continues.

Another key element in Vlad's transformation is the place given to people, with an HR policy that aims to be "benevolent". It has resulted in the opening up of capital to employees - 50 of them own 9% - a four-and-a-half-day working week, the redistribution of results when there are any, the establishment of collaborative working groups around CSR, etc.

On this new basis, VLAD, which has become a mission-driven company, intends to conquer new markets with its autonomous energy solutions. In addition to the medical sector, which currently accounts for 65% of its business, the company is targeting the field of mobility with last-mile delivery or electric bikes, such as in Tours, where it will supply the batteries for the new self-service bikes.


It is also interested in autonomous mobile robots (AGVs), connected objects, anti-theft alarms, lighting, with a partnership with a public lighting manufacturer to equip autonomous street lamps. The company also wants to diversify its offer in the medical field and is finalizing its first external growth operation, with the acquisition of an Italian company of technical lamps.

To achieve this, VLAD has invested €8 million in a new positive energy plant, almost twice the size of its current site and even more robotic, which will be operational next spring. Production should be able to be multiplied by two, or even triple, with around thirty hires envisaged. The goal is to reach a turnover of €40 million by 2026, to celebrate its fortieth anniversary in style.