On 15 May 2019, Pierre Saubot, President and founder of the Haulotte Group, received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the European Rental Awards in Madrid, Spain. This special award is the culmination of his career as an entrepreneur at the head of the Haulotte Group. This was the opportunity to look back with him on his journey and major dates that marked the creation and the development of the group.
Missed the first part of Pierre Saubot’s interview?
Over the past 20 years Haulotte has succeeded in developing and maintaining its leadership on the global market, what are the secrets of this success?
Flexibility! Coupled with a long-term vision and family governance. From the outset, we focused our investments and skills on innovation, R&D and final assembly, delegating the rest of the activities.
This model has allowed us to maintain industrial flexibility and to cope with peaks and lows in market activity. It should be noted that our sector (which is governed by the decisions of professional rental companies), experiences a recurring cyclical activity with very large amplitudes decreasing or increasing every 6 or 7 years.
Thanks to our original model, we have succeeded in developing ourselves without ever having to carry out a single social plan. Then, Haulotte, remains and will remain a family business, of which the Saubot family is the majority shareholder. As such, our decisions are never governed by short-term financial objectives. We always work with long-term objectives of 10 to 20 years.
And how do you see the future of the market 10 or 20 years from now?
Firstly, the market will continue to grow. Our product range corresponds to a growing need for construction, maintenance and service activities in urban areas and at heights.
Secondly, we are moving towards improving the safety, ergonomics and reliability of our machines. We must combine the robustness requirements of rental companies with those of flexibility of execution and comfort for aerial work platform users, who are not specialized pilots of this equipment. They are electricians, building painters, carpenters, masons, etc. They must be able to work everywhere, in all conditions, while remaining focused on their profession and not on the constraints related to piloting.
Thirdly, we are moving towards more environmentally friendly, more quiet, less polluting machines, which consume less energy and some of which are already 100% electric.
Fourth trend, the market expects more efficient machines: more robust, lighter, easier to handle and always able to reach higher heights.
Fifthly, we are developing machines with more smart features, equipped with sensors and advanced human/machine interfaces, augmented by additional digital services: diagnostic and virtual simulation applications, with the eventual integration of devices based on artificial intelligence and steering assistance.
To conclude, what would you say to an employee arriving to Haulotte today?
Only in this way, by collectively facing new challenges, new obstacles, will we succeed in bringing the group to a bright future. Of course, the stakes are no longer the same as they were 20 years ago. The group has reached a critical size that no longer expects the same type of boldness from the teams. Risks must be identified, calculated but also committed. Because if you or your team make no mistakes, measured and non-repetitive, it is because you are not at the limit of your potential, nor of the group’s development potential.
The launch of Pulseo, for example, our new generation of all-electric off-road booms, is a bet on the future. No one has done this before us in the market, and its development represents a very important investment. In this regard, we take a (calculated) risk that is shaking up the market, which we were right to take, and which is already keeping its promises.