Recessed lights and lamps
Primary markets: Canada, US, South America, Europe
Number of employees: 166
Benoit Dupuy, president and CEO
French entrepreneur sees the light
Benoit Dupuy graduated from one of France’s top technical institutes. But after a stretch working as a product engineer at GEC Alsthom, Dupuy moved to Contrast Lighting where he quickly realized entrepreneurship was more to his liking. Five years ago Dupuy led a management buyout of the manufacturer of “stylish, recessed, pendant and wall-mount luminaries and decorative glass shades.” He hasn’t looked back.
Contrast Lighting’s products are mainly used in hotels, resorts, museums and retail stores. Dupuy attributes the company’s success to the fact that the supply chain components it supplies are made locally. This shortens delivery times and provides Contrast Lighting access to a base of talented craftsmen who hand-blow premium decorative glass shades.
Competing with overseas players that have access to lower labour costs, isn’t easy. Contrast Lighting thus constantly innovates by automating processes. This has enabled the company to cut its workforce from 213 posts in 2013, to just 166 last year, all while boosting production levels, as well as the quality of the remaining positions, many of which, particularly those related to its robotics production equipment, are highly-skilled in nature.
Contrast Lighting has also leveraged Canada’s favorable currency environment to boost exports, which it markets through a network of agents set up throughout the Americas and Europe. This reduces the costs of maintaining direct sales forces. The company has also benefitted from strong private and public infrastructure investments, which have been spurred by recent low interest rates. That said Dupuy is far from satisfied with the recent progress. During coming years the company plans to continue to boost production efficiency by increasing the use of robotics, and by further penetrating international markets.
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