Mission possible

In the wake of unprecedented challenges brought forth by the Covid-19 pandemic, the aerospace industry found itself navigating uncharted skies. Yet, during the turbulence, JPB Système dared to defy the odds. Here, company CEO, Damien Marc, explains that sometimes, it pays to be brave.

As JPB Système approaches its remarkable milestone of 30 years in business, I look back on a journey that has been marked by moments of triumph and adversity. At the same time, it’s apparent that from humble beginnings to becoming a prominent player within aerospace manufacturing, every step of our journey has been characterised by a willingness to take calculated risks, challenge the status quo, and seize opportunities for growth and advancement.

A pinnacle moment for our industry and manufacturers like us was of course the Covid pandemic of four years ago. For my company, this rather inconveniently came at the very moment we commissioned a new state of the art production facility, and very shortly after announcing two new product solutions. We’re often put to the test, but it never seems to happen in the form or at the moment, we would prefer. Nevertheless, we dug in and while the world hit the brakes, we decided to keep our foot on the accelerator. Inspired by our country’s President, who as Covid struck, encouraged manufacturers to ‘be brave’, and trust that our government would support us, we proceeded with our ambitious plans.

As we pressed on with construction of our new facility and drove forward with the new product solutions, we were also made some strategic supply chain moves around existing products. This saw us take the decision 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 over-stock ahead of the actual need, for us it about maintaining customer satisfaction and not losing business.

At the same time, with the industry in freefall and with redundancies and furloughs commonplace across other companies throughout the manufacturing and supply chain, we managed to buck the trend. Not only did we retain every single person in our workforce, but we stuck with our recruitment efforts, on the assumption that sourcing skilled people would still be an ongoing issue (which has turned out to be accurate), even after the pandemic was in the rearview mirror.

Meanwhile, true to his word, our President didn’t desert us, and instead provided the financial support he promised. In fact, for us, the move to continue our development of new product solutions and invest in manufacturing technologies like 3D printing to create them, paid off.

Recognising that our own ambitions aligned with our government’s goals to support innovation and accelerate the transformation of key industry sectors, we were recently awarded funding to advance the development the technology solution for manufacturers that we previewed in 2019.

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.

Looking back, we weathered the storm better than some, partly – I would like to think – by making wise business decisions and taking a few calculated risks, rather than mere happenchance or good fortune. Indeed, had we rushed to hit the pause button on Beta versions of new product solutions announced just prior to Covid, we would not have moved forward. This would not have seen us ultimately commercialise those solutions, which in turn would have likely had them not catch the eye of the government body responsible for awarding funding to companies they deem progressive and innovative. While neither my senior team nor I are out-and-out risk takers, there is nevertheless perhaps a certain amount of truth in the adage that fortune favours the brave.



JPB Systeme

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