Playing their part during the crisis
Committed to hospitals in their region
Jacquart & Fils is a family business in the Hauts-de-France region that has been manufacturing mattresses and bedding for the past 70 years. They employ up to 170 members of staff during times of high business activity and in 2019, their 3 factories manufactured more than 380,000 mattresses and box springs for the French market.
When the confinement order was announced, what was your reaction as head of the company?
My first reaction was to protect my employees’ health and their salaries. We quickly implemented barrier measures, well before the lockdown. Our employees’ salaries are 100% guaranteed, thanks in part to the French government’s partial unemployment scheme and supplemented by the company’s financial contributions.
Regarding our business activities, we faced a decrease in orders from our distributors and a halt to raw material supply, forcing us to almost completely shut down our 3 factories. However, 30 employees are gradually restarting production to ensure internet orders, which are on the rise, as well as shipping logistics.
How are you contributing to solidarity efforts?
We are ensuring mattress production for State health establishments (hospitals, EHPAD*…) that clearly need them.
Our machines and stocks are available for volunteer textile workers who have mobilised to produce masks out of tissues that can be washed and reused. 1,500 masks were produced in one week and delivered to the hospitals in Lille.
In addition, we hope to be granted authorisation from the Directorate General of Armaments to manufacture our own models in order to meet growing needs.
The production of these masks is part of a larger initiative involving other businesses in the region. The company LeMahieu, in a partnership with the hospitals in Lille, established production specifications that are now being followed by several businesses; we are voluntarily taking part in this, and so are thousands of textile workers. It is a real chain of production and logistics that has been developed in a hurry by putting together inter-business skills.
How is Societe Generale supporting you in this context?
I think the reactivity of the entire public and private sectors was really good (State, BPI, URSSAF, banks,…). My seasoned HR and Finance teams knew how to react quickly on all matters. Societe Generale was reactive and we were able to postpone our payment deadlines very quickly, without much paperwork. Upon review, our account manager quickly suggested additional aids.
*EHPAD: accommodation and care facilities for the dependant elderly
Feeling useful and helping the community is extremely motivating for employees. As head of the company, my goal is to preserve this state of mind for when activity starts back up again. I am proud of them and would already like to say “THANK YOU!”