Craftsmanship week: focus on the factory of know-how

According to the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Crafts, there are 221,000 registered craft businesses in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (37,200 in Isère – 43,700 in Rhône – 19,700 in Loire), an increase of 39% in five years (+45% in Isère ), for a turnover of €42 billion.

Data that is appreciated the president of the regional CMA, Vincent Gaudwhich, however, is not surprised. “This is very good news due to several factors, some of which are highly technical, such as the emergence of the micro-enterprise tax system that facilitates creation. We also note that almost 43% of the creators are under the age of 35. And that craftsmanship is increasingly feminized as 31% of creators are women”he explains.

“In terms of the dynamics of the sectors, it is clear that the construction sector still involves a lot of craft businesses: 33% in the region. We are more than 10% in the manufacturing sector, including a lot of subcontracting, especially for industries 29% in service companies (hairdressers, aesthetics, car repair, etc.), and 28% in food, of course with specific characteristics depending on the department.”

© DR / Vincent Gaud, President of the Regional CMA

The love for craftsmanship is said to have increased since the pandemic

Still according to the observation of the regional CMA, the trend and the love for crafts has intensified since 2020 due to the pandemic, increasing the interest of citizens for local products, for responsible and more ecological consumption, and worldwide, for a local economy .

This is also the opinion of Hugues Poissonnier. “There is a hunger from people who want to become artisans, but also a taste from customers. They have a stronger need for products that are made locally with materials that respect the environment, that are not made three times off the planet. Quality products that are less quickly thrown away”underlines the professor of economics at the Grenoble School of Management.

“It’s a real consumer trend that means the opportunities are there. And for those starting out, we notice the desire for independence. The fact that we leave an organization and its hierarchy, to make the decisions that we think are the are best when it is not comfortable every day There are people who go the other way, who were craftsmen and who decide to join an organization to promote calm in the workplace.In recent years the trend is indeed towards craftsmanship”he continues.

“And since the points of sale are in many sectors, this explains this quite strong increase. Finally, if the customer’s choice is determined by his values, so is the craftsman, who determines what he wants by setting up value. Independence makes it possible to be consistent with its values.”

© Pxhere / Illustrative photo

Professional or micro-entrepreneur?

A speech that certainly echoes in the spirit of Elsa Drigny, a craftsman in screen printing on objects, who launched her activity in Lyon last year (read elsewhere). “My grandparents were carpenters and seamstresses respectively and I have always appreciated that creative side. But my parents preferred that I have a general school education. So I have a background in interior architecture and decoration. I then worked on several missions in this sector, then more than eight years as a visual merchandiser in stores: I took care of the layout of the stores and the decoration of the windows. There was design, production and layout, but little by little the stores became standardized, resulting in room for my creative mind”, she explains.

At the same time, a health problem caused him to partially lose his hearing. “Being hard of hearing really bothered me professionally. I worked for a very large ready-to-wear group and could no longer find my place as an employee with a work disability. Until I felt that I couldn’t go on and that I had to start working with my hands again. to make.”

Christian Rostaing, President of the CMA de l’Isère, shares the observation of the enthusiasm for crafts, but qualifies. “Those who start from passion generally have gone through an apprenticeship and then entered the service of a craftsman. They follow the “classic” path. The creators of micro-enterprises are people who decide to move from the payroll world to creation. go “like that”. We fought for the micro-enterprise to have a limited duration before they could start a business in your own name, in EURL… To have a status, to contribute. Because if you If you don’t indicate, you don’t contribute, and it can be problematic later on, especially before retirement.[…] When setting up your company, you have the impression of being autonomous, of creating something. The concern is whether it will last over time.

© Thomas Richardson / Christian Rostaing, President of the Isère CMA

Indeed, explains the president of Isère, artisans face several stages that can question the sustainability of their business. 40% of companies do not reach the three-year milestone. In the first year it owes a fixed contribution. Second, there is catching up from the first year. Income should not be confused with profit. For the micro-enterprise, the obstacles are different because they are billed on what they declare. But it has the disadvantage that the VAT is not reclaimed. So when a vehicle or equipment is bought, it can be tough to finance. Fiscally, these are things to study. †

Craftsmen in contact with their environment

According to the CMA Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Observatory, the creation of micro-enterprises will increase by 105% between 2016 and 2021. A fad that results in the average number of employees per craft enterprise falling – which stands at 1.5 today – micro-enterprises that hire very little. According to the same observatory, in the same period, despite the economic crisis, the number of companies deregistered has been increasing for five years, but the total stock of companies is also much larger.

To pass the various tests, the craftsmen had to be resilient. Like all companies, those who have resisted the most are those who have been able to invest time and money in the organization of human resources (implementation of innovative organizational forms), the use of digital solutions or ecological transition. This is also explained by the chairman of the regional chamber.

“Craftsmanship has managed to keep up with the times. There are many new professions related to ecological transformation, digital transformation… Craftsmanship can assert a responsiveness that depends only on the person carrying the project. There are many new companies in the field of mobility, bicycles, repairs, for example. But also around the recycling of materials”, says Vincent Gaud. “The craftsman is anchored in his time as in the economic ecosystemWhen a manufacturer outsources the industry, it is because craftsmanship is always present in the ETI ecosystem. Without these small businesses, ETIs don’t move forward.”

GEM professor Hugues Poissonnier goes further by emphasizing that companies and governments should show solidarity with artisans. “Customers have a responsibility to take. The enthusiasm of individuals for the local is important, but the clients must have the will to be responsible players in the economic ecosystem. it is possible to address SMEs, VSEs and craftsmen.”

© Grenoble Ecole de Management / Hugues Poissonnier, professor of economics at the GEM.

“This solution demonstrates the will of public actors to make the local ecosystem work. Similarly, private actors have a responsibility to pay artisans relatively well, allow them to make decent margins and pay quickly enough not to risk that they run into cash flow problems.”

Anticipating the future of craftsmanship

With apparently bright days ahead, don’t forget craftsmanship – anchored in its time and in its territory – to prepare for the future. Especially since the CMAs are also responsible for educating students. “The Chambers are the leading trainers in France. In Aura there are 22,700 apprentices in the CFAs, and so in craft businesses. It’s part of our DNA. There’s no finer social lift than crafts. We take a youngster, and what are level of education, we integrate him into a profession and we transfer him a know-how”, welcomes Vincent Gaud.

On Isère’s side, President Rostaing recalls that at the Bourgoin-Jallieu EFMA, a training center in direct management, the pupils who were 800 a few years ago are now 1200. “We are building next door to accommodate more apprentices. Apprenticeships are a path to excellence, which is no longer considered a dead end. You can start with a CAP and enter the competition for the best worker in France. is 95% Today’s students are tomorrow’s employees and the buyers of our companies. It’s a chain.”

© Pxhere / illustration photo

A chain that is indeed easy to maintain. For if the figures of creation are encouraging, those of recovery are more concerned Vincent Gaud, who regrets that circumstances do not always encourage transference. However, in the next five years, 42,300 regional craft businesses will be transferred, of which 21% of the craftsmen are over 55 years old. “It’s a real topic. Maybe even a concern. These are gestures, sometimes ancestral. Transmission is important to maintain jobs, which are always in line with the times. This figure is huge, it’s a huge project because creating a business is good, but we must not forget what others have created over many years, for example in the arts and crafts, or traditional crafts”remembers Vincent Gaud.

“Today it’s easier to create than to send. A bank borrows more easily from the business plan of a company that doesn’t exist than it does to a company that has obligations. That’s the real problem, which we work on a lot with the banking networks. Create people clear that with acquisitions you already have a customer base, a local footprint… The success rate is much higher with an acquisition than with incorporation Almost half of the established companies no longer exist after five years This rate is much lower when you take over, “even if yes, fiscally there is a cost to the acquisition. But employees, equipment, customers and orders at the start up: it is priceless. Not to mention that all craftsmen strive to …”

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