Made In France
Granted, the "Made in France" is fashionable. But at Raidlight, we made the decision in 2008 to create the brand "Made in France by Raidlight" with 100% manufacturing in France. The same approach was initiated by Vertical (Raidlights now sister company) and we combined our ideas when we took over this company. It now comprises of a range of a dozen textile products that are made in France, which account for about 8% of our turnover. Only 8%? Or 8% already? You be the judge, it is a fact.
Why are the textiles Made in France?
There is no technological or quality advantage to making the garment in France.
Sewing machines and textile know-how are almost identical everywhere for this type of industry. The cost of production varies from 1 to 5 times in France compared to other countries of the world.
So it is a deliberate choice to try to produce a part in France.
The choice to purchase or not is then deliberately left to the customer; deliberate because in these times "crisis" we want to make a "social" axis of our productions In effect then one either complains about unemployment and does nothing or, one acts and one makes work. Here and at Raidlight we act.
We offer our customers the choice to buy sports textiles "made in France". Today, the situation is that this choice "Made in France" accounts for 8% of our turnover.
For other products where the "quantity of labour" has less influence on the cost, the roots are in France, and we follow them whenever possible. For example, with our range of socks, the majority of our bottles and running poles that we produce are made in France at Guidetti.
Note that at Raidlight -Vertical we plainly and transparently show our production in North Africa and Asia, by providing internet pictures of the factories working for us, and which we visit regularly. A product manufactured abroad can also be achieved with respect and fairness.
We also like to show Raidlight Verticals textile know-how. Our design workshop is open to all customers at Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, and we organize more than 50 company visits per year. We have also received more than a dozen classes of students in the past year. The French textile know-how we maintain and we claim.
What products are made in France?
Noting that the labour cost ratio per person is approximately 1 to 5 comparing France and Asia, we turned to relatively simple products requiring little time. The goal is not to increase overheads to over 25% of the selling price compared to a competitor’s price. And to do that we reduce our margins and ask our distributors to do the same.
The range therefore includes shirts, underwear, bags and back packs which are fairly simple to produce, and where the most product value is in the material used. This range “Made in France by Raidlight” is truly 100% crafted in France from every aspect, it is not a simple addition of embroidery or other decoration.
It would be politically correct to say that we will relocate production to France. But this is not easily the case. Our production in France is a dedicated range, and production in France is not applicable to the vast majority of our products.
- A technical backpack we sell for € 60 TTC to the public, we pay ourselves between 20 € and 30 € labour costs to (depending on the area sold).
- For this type of backpack, it takes about two hours of labour.
- The cost of labour in France for minimum wage is just over € 10 an hour, or more than 20 € at craft person level.
- As such the production labour alone would be equal, or nearly equal, to the price we have to sell it at. Not counting the price of raw materials, the amount needed to pay the design, sales, promotion, logistics and management ... The equation is impossible to solve.
- Alternatively, this bag could be sold from 200 € to 300 € VAT incl. Who wants to pay that?
- "Reducing dealer margins" ?? The next idea is often suggested: the distributor maintains a fixed sum of 30 € (the one that applies to the Asian product) and sells the bag 90 €.
A nice idea on paper, but it is hampered by the fact that most of the costs remains proportional to the purchase value. And in a competitive world, it does not work. We make the observation each time we offer a lesser margin. We do not report the problem that our distribution network now consists mostly of independent shops, who need a coefficient x2 price of purchase and resale price (including VAT refunded) even to survive. The balance sheets of these stores do not allow any quick fix. So to alleviate this Raidlight also sells direct by mail order, this additional margin reasonably covers marketing costs (website, preparation of packages, promotions etc.).
In conclusion with an objective assessment, today, in our TEXTILE business, in our market of "LEISURE" where users are looking for a TECHNICAL product, it is not currently possible to relocate our complete production in France.
Digression on the future?
The world is changing, can we hope to relocate to France in the future? Here is my opinion that does not apply only textiles, but to all products manufactured today in the great factory of the world, Asia.
First two false statements regarding a future relocation to France
- The cost of transport from Asia increases. But the cost of transport is less than 10% of the cost of the product. Before this increase has caught up the difference in price from January to May ...
- The raw material prices are increasing, "indexed" on the price of oil increases. But the raw materials are increasing both in France and around the world...
A third factor is more interesting:
- For several decades, we come to have "better and cheaper by producing further." But three years ago, the hourly cost in Asia increased by + 10% to + 15% per year, (Fluctuation of the euro, when declining due to the European crisis, further increases this factor). And industrial policy of countries like China and Vietnam is to go upmarket to production technology products, and gradually abandoning sectors such as textiles.
China is changing very fast. What country (or continent) can replace a country like China ?? I think that there is none, therefore there will not always be this "very low cost" resource to produce the products we consume today.
So we can believe that France and Europe will again become more competitive in the medium term compared to other countries.
However, it must necessarily make a choice to fit:
- Either revise our way of “consumer society” or actually buy our technical backpack 200 € - € 300 (the same as that currently is € 60), but then to make it last 4 times longer to write it off financially.
- Either it will completely review the product, to return to more simplicity. There are 20 or 30 years, the backpacks were much simpler technically (straight shoulder straps, a few pockets, etc.), this primarily because they were produced in the country where they were sold.
Another debate will be to upgrade the manual trades, because the production plants will not run without labour.
Raidlight-Vertical lacks the ability to change the world,
but we make this contribution to maintain the debate.
Today, producing 90% of our products abroad, the fact remains that more than 50 % of our annual expenditures are made in France, 25% in payroll (28 employees), 25% in general purchases, promotion, logistics, taxes ...
Since 2009 we offer a range crafted in France to voluntarily give a chance to buy products Made in France.
The choice is now partly in the hands of users, customers, and consumers.
This now represents 8% to 10% of our annual turnover.
It is up to you to change this ratio if you want.