Entrepreneurs Forever 2014 | Version française

Patrick Peronnet

CEO of Supply Chain Services International (SCSI)

He decided not to produce in France, and to roll out his services all over the world.

Patrick Péronnet lives between Chicago and the SCSI sites which are scattered all over the world, near his customers in the automotive, aeronautical, or nuclear fields. « When you roll out an effort in America, it's 50 times more effective than in France! SCSI has grown quickly! » It took him around 20 years, a whole succession of different experiences, the constant desire for entrepreneurship and the trust of one of his customers, for him to set up advanced logistics and Quality support.

As a born entrepreneur and mechanic, Patrick Péronnet followed a double specialisation in Mechanical Engineering and Business studies, whilst working in the technical packaging company he founded with his father. « I loved setting it up, the excitement of the adventure, versatility, industrial choices... »
He did an internship in the French subsidiary of a brand new company called... Microsoft! « I really wasn't cut out for the short-lived models of IT distribution. I missed the industrial side of things. »

I would love to transmit to young people the desire for entrepreneurship and to aim for the sky. I tell them: go for it, it's easier than you think and you are going to enjoy yourself much more than you ever dreamed.
And especially, don't forget industry, there's more out there than Silicone Valley!

At the same time, Toyota production methods and Quality approaches were spreading in Europe. Patrick Péronnet started as Head of Quality on a time-share basis for SMIs in Mechanics. This introduction to industry marked the ‘’Admission“ phase of his four-stroke career.

The next phase, ‘’Compression’’, lasted seven years, during which he was able to express his managerial qualities for one of the biggest Mechanical engineering companies in the Lyon region. He went through a whole series of tumultuous (and learning) experiences: takeovers, first sale of the company, repurchase and restructuring by the original owner, re-sale... But even as head of the Mechanical division (with a staff of 600) and of the group Quality department (3,000 people), he felt cramped. « I couldn't remain at the mercy of shareholder decisions, and be forced to betray my own promises. »

In 1997, his American customer Caterpillar encouraged him to create his own company, which he did immediately, with one of his colleagues. And now he entered the ‘’Combustion’’ phase. Patrick Péronnet bought an SMI under judicial review, with a staff of 50 in the Rhone-Alp region and he invested €10 million in material, with the help of his old mentor, who became his main shareholder.

In order to ensure Quality support for motor components right through to his customer, he founded SCSI in Chicago in 2001, and was... very anxious about its success. « We had such preconceived ideas about America. We thought it would take us ten years before we made any profit, but Caterpillar was so satisfied with the arrangement that it proposed to extend the service to its other suppliers. »
In 2003, he was managing the 4th biggest mechanical exporter in France and decided to follow the AMP/CPA cycle, like his father. « It was a phenomenal treat! ».

There were disagreements amongst the shareholders, and the two minority partners carried out a strategic analysis of activities: the mechanical ones in France, and the support activities in America. « We listened to our customer and to our gut-feeling and decided to hand over production but keep SCSI, as sole 50/50 shareholders. »

4th phase: that of ‘’Evasion’’, towards international activities. In seven years SCSI went from a staff of 60 to 550, and today has sales of $40 million. « Growth is like skiing on ice, it makes you have all your senses on red alert, and it is pretty thrilling. »

If he divides his work time between three continents and his free time between his daughter and his cars (both vintage and racing models) Patrick Péronnet has not lost his sense of humour. « Don't let's take ourselves too seriously; we are only human; we are born naked, and we die the same way! »

EM Lyon: AMP/CPA 2003
Translation : Carole Bausor, ILTC
Date de parution : 12/09/14