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Digital Re-print November | December 2014
INDUSTRY PROFILE - Chopin Technologies

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46 | November - December 2014

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INDUSTRY PROFILE Chopin Technologies
GFMT TALKS TO SOME OF THE
INDUSTRIES LEADING COMPANIES

by Tom Blacker and Darren Parris,
Grain & Feed Milling Technology magazine

A

fter a very successful time at JTIC in Reims, we made
our way to Paris to the International Head Quarters of
Tripette & Renaud, the location of Chopin Industries. As
we made our journey to Chopin we passed the monumental Stade
de France, home of French rugby. Little did we know, we would
come to discover several qualities shared between that of the
French National Team and Chopin Industries.
Chopin's unique selling point is that its products are, wherever
possible, constructed from French-made parts. As part of an international team with a majority now of non-French customers spread
around the world, Marc Dolige (CEO) encourages a strong ethos

that binds all together in teamwork. This is best summed up for him
by the sport of rugby: different roles for all players, playing in the
same jersey but with no names, and a positive attitude to winning.
Although Marc willingly admits he is not Philippe Saint-André, the
very same ethos of consistent training, education and teamwork hallmarks of the French rugby team are evident throughout Chopin.
As international players in the global market place, Marc has his
staff lined up ready to tackle anything. Coupled with a deep-seated
emphasis on customer satisfaction, it is no wonder Chopin’s conversions are so high.
The mother company of Chopin is Tripette & Renaud, a family
owned company since 1836. Since their inception, their roots were
firmly planted in flour milling, producing the wheels for mills. With
almost 200 years of experience, having successfully worked through
three major wars it is no surprise that Marc, the fourth generation
to be involved in the company, is confident that Chopin constantly
evolve and with it, move with the times as true innovators.
During the 1980s Tripette & Renaud moved from its central loca-

tion in Paris, to their current Head Office in Villeneuve-la-Garenne.
This has allowed the group to expand on a modern site and enables
them to keep all their research and development and Production
together. Spending more than 10 percent of its turnover every year
on R&D keeps Chopin ahead of its competition with innovation.
The 1990s saw a continued growth in Chopin both at home in
France and Internationally due to the combined successes of father
and son. Due to the recognised international quality of their products, it was during this period that Chopin’s export markets grew
throughout China and USA. This hallmark of French engineering
quality is now shared globally.
Marc affirms in conversation, "Most of my time is spent running Chopin. I have been
CEO since 2008 and now
employ over 110 staff 11 in China and 4 in the
USA.”
Marc continues, “Our
turnover for Chopin was
around €13 million in 2013
with a network of over
a hundred distributors
selling in 115 countries;
in 2013 we managed to
increase our turnover by
30 percent over the last 5
years. We have gone from
being a niche high end
quality provider of analysis
products for the French
domestic market of which
we are the market leader,
to maintaining our domestic position and growing our exports to the
tune of 75 percent of our business.”
Marc explains that all of Chopin’s products are researched and
made here in France; he is very passionate about maintaining the
quality and high standards that all of Chopin’s global customers have
come to expect.
Talking with Marc, we learnt about the development in the
Chinese operations. Maintaining the Chopin quality means maintaining Chopin ownership and management throughout.
“The training and management of the team in China must reflect
that of the team in Europe. So, the idea was to always open a
Chinese subsidiary that would be 100 percent owned and accountable to the Chopin Head Office in France and that it would be
managed to the very same high standards of training and customer
care. The first subsidiary in China was founded in 2008 and has been
in full operation since 2009”
As part of the transition of expertise, its first four years were
headed up by a General Manager from France and in early 2012 a

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very experienced Chinese General Manager, Jiang Ming Neng was
appointed because, as Marc said, "it's better to leave the Chinese to
do business with other Chinese themselves and this has proved to
be very successful".
With six area sales managers catering for all of Chopin's Chinese
customers they are seeing regular growth year on year. Putting themselves in their customer’s shoes is important at Chopin, and they readily
accept that one size does not fit all. Their products can be adapted for
the specific requirements and needs of Chinese customers therefore
completely tailor-making
products, whilst maintaining
Chopin's high quality standards for the customers.
Likewise, the USA
office located near Kansas
City in the mid-west is ran
by the experienced and
well-connected individual
of the milling industry
Ian Trood. This was only
started in late 2013-early
2014. At present, the current team is comprised of
four members of staff, but
these are still the "early
days" according to Marc.
There is no manufacturing at the US site to
maintain the high quality. Marc stated that the products themselves
have to be of high quality as they are dealing with measuring quality.
Also, as in China, the products are adapted to the necessary standards. When talking about the expected growth in the US market, this
is still acknowledged as a large market even during the changes to the
landscape such as consolidation of flour and cereal mills. Marc is also
often innovative in his thinking stating that Chopin can provide more
solutions to more laboratories because of the centralisation of mills.

November - December 2014 | 47

At present there are several opportunities on the horizon for
Chopin. There remains to be several important reasons for developing innovative solutions, however, critical factors disrupting business
are, according to Marc, political and climatic. In the case of Russia,
change to these aspects has meant a shortfall in business this year
so far compared to 2013. However, there was a poor year in Russia
a few years ago due to less-critical factors such as a lower cereals
harvest resulting in no exports.
When questioned about Chopin Technologies’ customers inside

and outside of France and how Chopin technologies responded
to varying and differing needs Marc stated that that there is a
distinct difference between French breads to other types and that
French consumers eat a traditional diet that is unique to them. This
Marc explained meant that as new kinds of bread came to France,
more technology was required. The first export markets were
Francophone countries that did eat similar sorts of bread but as
time went on, Chinese steamed pork buns or British soft breads'

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48 | November - December 2014

ingredients and constituent parts required testing and analysis too.
Different breads require different characteristics in different
markets. These complex changes and specific adaptions are also in
tandem with requirements to meet various levels of calibration that
governments set.
These are the various challenges that Chopin has adapted to,
combining different applications for different stages of the industry.
The ‘first generation’ of the industry who breed specific cereals and
seeds can utilise Chopin’s technology in order to test samples and
gain a range of data that they could not use before.
Likewise, the 'second transformation industry' (which turns milled
ingredients into food products) is a section of the market of which
Chopin can predict chains and trends for, far in advance. Chopin
finds solutions by asking the customer, 'what do you need?' and this
inevitably leads to them delivering more solutions in a smarter way
to the customer.
When questioned about other challenges, Marc confirms these
come from within the industry itself. There are many newer products
from Turkish and Chinese manufacturers but they are good competition in Marc's view. They actively make Chopin test and evaluate its
position in the market, often striving to assert Chopin as a leading
manufacturer over often lower value products. "Where Chopin
leads, they follow", Marc adds.
Another added dimension of competition comes from the
fact that there is a strongly a strongly competitive field of North
American and European analysis machinery on both the cereals and
flour markets. These can be strong in certain fields but Marc stressed
the extra solutions they provide to customers will mean that Chopin
can only move forward and remain competitive in return.
We then moved on to talk about the unique qualities and reasons
that buyers should consider Chopin above others in a competitive
field of the industry. Chopin invests between 10 to 15 percent of its
profits per annum into R&D, extensive databases of results and analysis are provided to customers, Chopin always innovates and evolves
its latest products onwards from what it has done before - as Marc
put it, "we are never just sticking to what we are currently doing".
Further to the above, on a daily basis Chopin field engineers and
managers led by Stephane Cochet are meeting with customers on
the ground. This enables Chopin to be close to specific requirements
of their valued customers and to support their needs. In individual
products, Chopin provides unique all-in-one solutions such as an
automated Solvent Retention Capacity that was not previously possible until the 'SRC' machine was launched. It cuts out the risks from
human error in the manual process, increases accuracy in results and
also speeds up the time to gain the results.
Other reasons are the extra levels of service offered to buyers:
full audits and reports can be made about individual mills or laboratories, maintenance of products in the French factory by the engineers

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themselves adds the ability to keep the same sensitivity in the delicate
parts to elongate the product's life.
Another interesting topic we touched upon was that of sales in
specific countries, focusing specifically upon Japan. Marc said he found
it interesting to spend three months of his degree studying in Japan
and realised how popular French breads really were. Since the 1960s,
French bread has been introduced to the market and is very popular
today. So when Chopin has carried out custom in Japan, it has been
a smooth fit between the products' applications and the materials.
With regards to India Marc commented, “Chopin are waiting
for the right time". Generally, weak infrastructure is holding back the
milling industry from truly competing and valuing the role of analysis
machinery. Marc's optimism shone through again stating that in time
it would work out well.
We moved on to ask about other regions such as the Middle East
and North Africa. Marc said that this is a growing region for Chopin.
West, East and South Africa were also growing well too: for example
in 2013, Nigeria's turnover for Chopin products was €174,000.
Returning to the matter of R&D, Marc noted that there are currently three people involved in the research areas. They experiment
with new technology and bring it into plans and considerations with
the development team. Twelve people are in the development team
and they develop the products to new or improved applications,
based on market needs. However, these are not without boundaries.
One example given was that if an incredible product was developed
and then subsequently valued in the market place to cost €200,000,
it would not succeed and so would not be viable to pursue.
However, the innovation is not completely shelved and if there can
be a transfer of the technology into different applications or recycled
to a future product, then this is useful.
After a screening of a short company movie, it was on to a tour
of all the facilities and a chance to see staff carrying out engineering, logistics, research and training work all around several floors,
labs, rooms and offices of the building. There is no doubt will make
a return to Chopin to witness how they have progressed even
further.

More inforMation:
Chopin Technologies, 20 avenue Marcelin Berthelot, 92390
Villeneuve-la-Garenne, France
Tel: +33 141 475045
Fax: +33 141 210710
Email: info@chopin.fr
Web: www.chopin.fr

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November - December 2014 | 49

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GFMT half page vertical 90 x 270 plus 3mm bleed not left.indd 1

13/01/2014 10:00:18

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November - December 2014

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