5 Minutes with... Mister Philippe Crez, founder and CEO of Silvadec / Baumex
The company Silvadec from north-western France is a pioneer and according to their own information a European market leader in manufacturing wood composite (WPC) for decking, façade cladding and fencing. Innovative processes are used in production that allow for the recycling of wood shavings and sawdusts to produce weather-resistant wood products that are not sensitive to UV radiation. To tap into the German and South-east European market, Silvadec has expanded into Schierling, Bavaria as Baumex Holzverbundstoff GmbH with the help of Invest in Bavaria. The new production site was officially opened in March 2018.
Silvadec was founded in 2001 by you and your business partner Bénédicte Jézéquel and is considered to be a pioneer in the manufacture of high quality wood composite. What are the differences compared to conventional processes?
The first difference is our patented technology which protects not just the surface but the entire thickness of the wood, ensuring a durable product.
The second difference is that we now see the bigger picture with this technology from the USA: as the technologies are new, there is no academic expertise, and experience is therefore a key advantage.
How did you come to found Silvadec and develop a new process for wood composites? What were the greatest challenges in developing the company?
We found out about these technologies in the USA, and at that time, there were no producers and no market in Europe. That is why we set up Silvadec. The main challenge was to create a market.
What were the reasons for you opting for Schierling in Bavaria and not for locations in Austria or the Czech Republic? How and to what extent did Invest in Bavaria assist in setting up here?
We chose Schierling because of its location, and also because we found partners who were able to build a production facility to meet our needs within the same budget and timescale as an existing facility.
Invest in Bavaria introduced us to those partners and also to many others (regional and district authorities, lawyers and public accountants) who made the success of this project possible. Invest in Bavaria is focused on its users’ needs and excellent at finding solutions.
What were the greatest challenges in setting up the business here?
Finding a plant manager who could bring together French and German business culture.
You have already successfully assembled two production lines in Schierling. How do you envisage the future development at the location in Bavaria?
The future is looking good: turnover is up on the previous year, and we are starting to deliver to Italy, the Czech Republic and Poland. The facility is designed to provide capacity for four production lines, and we hope soon to invest in the third.
Silvadec’s head office is in Brittany. When you compare the working cultures in Bavaria and Brittany, what are the differences and similarities in your opinion?
There are many similarities (work ethic, commitment), but the formal aspects (paperwork) are much more important in Bavaria.
And finally: What is your personal highlight when you visit Bavaria? The nature, the culture or the Bavarian food and beverages?
I enjoy all of those aspects, but what I particularly like is the architecture of the old towns.
Invest in Bavaria introduced us to many partners who made the success of this project possible. Invest in Bavaria is focused on its users’ needs and excellent at finding solutions
Thank you for the interview and wish you all the best in future.