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Scaling up: Here’s how we’re driving production to meet demand and grow market share
May 16, 2024

Interview with Valérie Guénégan, Industrial Director at Watt & Well

Valérie joined the company in February 2023, tasked with industrializing the production facilities to increase capacity tenfold by 2026! With over 25 years’ experience in the electronics industry, working for start-ups as well as large industrial companies, her roles have included product development, quality and support, industrialization, supply chain management and procurement, in Europe and across Asia. Her industry insight, technical skills, and organizational methodology will help dimension the company for its next phase of growth in Europe and the USA.


Valérie Guenegan, Industrial Director

Can you tell us about your role as Industrial Director for Watt & Well? What does a typical day involve?

I will start by saying there is no such thing as a typical day! However, my role is centered around the industrial systems and processes that ensure our products are delivered to our clients on time.

It’s a transversal role, and over the last year we have built up the industrial team across four services: design office and industrialization, supply chain and procurement, internal and external production, and defect analysis service. Thanks to our new site, we have gained more space, so we’ve reconfigured the workshop, redefined the flows and processes, to optimize the way we work as we scale up production in line with our 2025 ambitions.

Last year we focused on industrializing existing products, picking up the cadence to increase our production capacity. This year we’ve launched a new e-mobility product, so now in parallel to our existing production, we’re integrating new production from the second half of the year. And, as we ramp up our production in Europe, we’re also getting ready to produce in the USA.

What are the industrial challenges for Watt & Well, and how do you address them?

Today, the main challenge is organizational. To achieve our growth ambitions, we need to regularly review our work processes to stay one step ahead. As an engineering company, Watt & Well is recognized by its customers for being dynamic and agile, but to grow as an equipment manufacturer and meet the demand for higher volumes and a greater number of products, we must have processes in place that ensure repeatability and allow us to improve capacity and reduce costs. Of course, agility is essential, especially in new markets, but we can’t always operate in urgent mode.

As a French company supplying the European market, we believe being made in France adds value for our customers. Wherever possible, we’re using local suppliers and subcontractors to work with us on an industrial scale, and we plan to use the same approach for the American market. As we work to improve our processes, every productivity gain feeds through to the bottom line. To be competitive in the face of Chinese competition means perpetuating our product design, testing at an earlier stage of production, synchronizing incoming and outgoing logistics, increasing volumes, and reducing delivery times. All these factors enable us to be more competitive and grow our market share.

How is Watt & Well’s project to set up production facilities in the USA progressing?

Watt & Well is already present in the USA, with a subsidiary serving the oil and gas sector, but our ambition is to break into the e-mobility market, which is the largest in the world. To do this, we’re certifying our products to American UL standards, and we’re working with a partner to subcontract part of the production and assembly of our equipment locally, to ensure that our components for charging stations qualify for available subsidies; notably BABA (buy in America, build in America) and the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) which require at least 55% of components to be produced locally.

As an equipment provider, our aim is to develop the same product offering on both continents. We’re now ready to start prototyping at a local level, so that we can produce and qualify a first series. In the second quarter we’ll be looking at the supply chain, where to stock, how to transport, and so on. All this will be managed at a distance between now and the end of the year, so we need to anticipate, be very precise in our instructions and expectations, and integrate customer feedback to be ready in 2025 for a full year of production.

When managing your own production, it’s relatively easy to make sure that everything is going to plan. But working with subcontractors on the other side of the world can be complicated. I’ve already subcontracted production from Europe to Asia, so now I’ll be applying this experience to the American market, in such a way that we can be autonomous in USA, while keeping control of the product design and concept here in France.

Is Watt & Well still recruiting?

We recruited over 30 new employees in 2023, with more than half of the recruits joining our industrial team here in Pertuis, so before we make any new appointments, we first need to integrate our new hires and let the team work together.  However, the American market can move very quickly, so we’re getting ready to reinforce our teams. For now, this involves a lot of travel between France and the USA, but once we’ve launched production, we’ll need to dimension the team accordingly, through a mix of local hires and overseas opportunities for existing talent within the company. As a fast-growing company, in a rapidly evolving market, we’re always looking to assemble the best team to grow with us and join our adventure.

Do you want to find out more about Watt & Well ? Read our interview with Benoît, our CEO