The adventure: from yesterday to today

Histoire Guardtex
It all started in 2012. SNA was originally a marine fabric company that carried out express repairs. They were based a stone's throw from the boat launch at the port of Le Logeo near Sarzeau. When Thierry Plagué, SNA’s founder, joined the company on a full-time basis, he focused on improving the existing methods. He remembers ordering a boat cover, and he ended up having to wait 18 months for it. With his background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys working on processes and innovation, and he decided to stand out from the crowd in terms of proactivity.
SNA or Sellerie Nautic Aerec participated for the first time in the "Ultime Class" adventure by outfitting Banque Populaire on the Route du Rhum. This was followed by a long list of legendary races that featured SNA processes and products. Located in the centre of the "Sailing Valley", between the Bay of Quiberon and the Gulf of Morbihan, SNA moved into the new industrial zone of Kerollaire de Sarzeau. They continued developing equipment designed to protect boats and enhance the comfort of both recreational and competitive boaters.
Digitization of all manufacturing processes: "from the order to the product ready for installation". The advantages are remarkable: material savings, productivity gains, improvements in costs and delivery lead times. "We reduced our lead time for sail covers from 3 weeks to 3 days.” Then that same year, SNA was named "Industry of the Future" in the Crisalide Numérique competition among 52 Breton companies competing. SNA is the revelation of a new generation of manufacturing plant driven by digital technology. With their new industrial production methods they can make custom products with mass production efficiency. "A custom product for a single consumer in a very short timeframe". While mass production remains the main production method, the only way to obtain a unique product is through craftsmanship. SNA successfully meets this innovative challenge, by manufacturing unique models at mass production prices and lead times.
SNA outfitted boats for The Transat, 1st: Ultime Macif and for the Vendée Globe, 1st: Imoca Banque Populaire.
SNA supplied Gitana 17, Macif and Banque Populaire IX with sail covers with a novel material for this purpose. The company also outfitted the Jacques Vabre, 1st: Imoca Saint Michel, the Jules Verne Trophy, 1st: Ultimate Idec and the Solo Round the World Record with Ultime Macif. Also in 2017, SNA developed and patented KanvasLight, a luminous textile using fibre optic technology. KanvasLight received the special mention of the jury at the DAME Design Awards at Metstrade 2017 in Amsterdam for its disruptive innovation.
SNA rolled out their engineering and industry activities. The first carbon ply designs and cuts were delivered. SNA continued to outfit the Race Teams with the Route du Rhum, 1st: Ultime Idec.
SNA becomes Guardtex to expand its product range to meet the engineering, design and manufacturing needs of industrial professionals and local authorities. Sellerie Nautique continues to design and manufacture custom boat covers for private individuals.
January first, opening of the subsidiary company Guardtex Inc, in Chicago.

A corporate culture based on excellence, proactivity, customer focus and high standards.

The fundamental values of a company are as important as good management and quality of service. Our values are not compiled in Excel tables, included in emails or listed in the tasks performed by the company's employees. And yet they are the driving force that guide managerial decisions and the way products and services are delivered to customers.

As designers and manufacturers of high-tech textile solutions, Thierry and Laurence Plagué, founders of Guardtex, have often asked themselves these questions: What values do we bring to our customers? What problems are we helping to solve? What needs are we meeting and how? What are our own requirements?

The two leaders have always embodied four strong values. They have created a corporate culture that reflects these values and that they share with their employees. Their goal is to ensure that everyone moves forward in the same direction.

These four values are EXCELLENCE, PROACTIVITY, CUSTOMER FOCUS to deliver CUSTOM PRODUCTS and HIGH STANDARDS. They are embodied by every employee.

Excellence is a core value in the company, as a key factor for manufacturing quality. The resulting level of quality is a priority for Guardtex. Quality implies high standards on the part of all internal and external stakeholders. Quality is the guiding force throughout the value chain for the customer. At each stage of a project and for each service, special attention is paid to the quality of tools, materials, expertise, technology, craftsmanship and on-time delivery. When you have high standards for yourself, you have high standards for others as well. Employees have the satisfaction of knowing that they have produced a superior quality product that is exactly what the customer wants.

PROACTIVITY is also an absolute priority. Being proactive means being able to deal with unforeseen events and phases that are not encountered in traditional processes. This value requires the ability to adapt, the desire to find the right technological solution, a certain vision of the future and precise action planning. Every person at Guardtex is strongly motivated to deliver solutions within a very short lead time.

Guardtex’s third key value is a CUSTOMER FOCUS to deliver custom products. Delivering CUSTOM PRODUCTS means understanding the user experience, tailoring products to the actual needs of a specific person for a specific project and at a specific time. Our employees need to be curious about our customers, to be able to listen, pay attention and understand.

Finally, the fourth and final value, HIGH STANDARDS. Our employees have extremely high standards for precision and accuracy, supported by our "all-digital" production systems. This results in remarkable gains in lead times.

These are all values that Guardtex puts into practice for businesses and individuals alike. Guardtex is defined by a quest for excellence.

Our vision: to create what does not yet exist

What is Guardtex's vision? What are the areas we want to develop in the coming years?

Our business is the design and manufacture of high-tech textile solutions made from composites, fibre, textile or carbon, to produce covers and accessories designed to protect people and equipment. We work for a wide range of industries such as aviation, outdoor, safety, boating, other industries such as rail transport, as well as for local authorities.

Starting from the principle that when manufacturing a product, mass customisation is as important as engineering and design, we developed a strategy to achieve both.

  • Believe that talented industrial companies can succeed in France.
  • Ask the right questions, be curious about exactly what the users need and understand how the needs will evolve over time.
  • Be deeply motivated to create disruptive innovation. Be a force for change by developing disruptive innovation in terms of functioning, tools, technological progress and automation processes.
  • Realise that it can take a very long time and be very expensive to go from an idea, to the design to the execution, and find the right resources and people to get the job done quicker.

“Mass customisation is possible, and we have shortened our delivery times. We went from a few months to a few days on many projects". Thierry Plagué, founder and designer.

Constantly adjusting to change, making the right initial assumptions and then getting to work to develop inventive, efficient, powerful and concrete technological solutions is Guardtex’s business strategy. And it is by mobilising employees, management, partners, suppliers, investors and institutions that we are empowering ourselves to make this vision our reality.

Disruptive innovation, design without using a template, mass customisation and proactively responding to changing needs are the four guiding forces that drive our business strategy. We want to be a force for change and create disruptive processes.

The KanvasLight product that we developed in 2017 and have been selling since the beginning of 2019 is a perfect example of this type of disruptive innovation. Recently honoured at the Mets Trade Show, KanvasLight is a luminous textile. To find out more, watch the video:

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