In 2014, Voortman opened a subsidiary in Nantes, France. The company name Voortman was, also thanks to our French agent, already known in France. However, customers were reluctant because of the lack of a local subsidiary with a French speaking service department. The opening of the new office, with Sébastien Cantin as an Area Sales Manager and its own service engineer, changed this.
At first, all activities aimed at the promotion of the new office and the enlargement of the brand awareness of Voortman, by means of customer visits, exhibitions and events in the Voortman Experience Center. Voortman France’s first customer was steel supplier Maisonneuve. Soon, Maxime Dagbert, the owner of Consométal, supplier of welding equipment, proposed to become our dealer in the eastern part of France. Together with Consométal, Voortman sold projects to large steel structure companies like Bect (in the Lyon area) and Giraud-Delay (in the Ardèche).
Sales continued to grow and in order to provide the French customers with the best service, a second service engineer was hired, Pascal Guitard. In order to better serve the extensive French market, Voortman asked Maxime Dagbert last year to become our new sales manager. From his work location Lyon, he is now responsible for sales in East France, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Voortman France expects to further enlarge its actual customer database in the coming years.
According to Sébastien Cantin, French customers are positive about the Voortman approach: “We do not only support them with the purchase of new machines, but we think along in their processes and on the workflow in the workshop. We are happy to share our knowledge of the steel branch with them. Customers look at Voortman as a modern machine supplier, thanks to the high level of automation of our machinery and the possibility to place them in line. The development of The Fabricator, with which we meet the needs of steel producers, contributes to this as well. And with our professional service department we can really distinguish ourselves from our competitors.”