ISOSIGN and Aly Adham interview report

Published the 1 June 2021 in Development

"Despite one year 2020 complicated due to the Covid crisis, the company Isosign - designer, manufacturer and supplier of road signs - based in Saint-Eusèbe, is on its way with the objective of doubling its turnover by 5 years. Interview with Aly Adham, founding president."

David PIPPONIAU - 28 may 2021

The activity is back in 2021. In terms of preparation for shipment, the material is present. Photo JSL /David PIPPONIAU

With the Covid crisis, what is your assessment of the year? 2020 ?

"Isosign has known since its beginnings in 2007 more than regular changes both in terms of activity and staff. The year had started auspicious in terms of development when the entire nation experienced a significant slowdown with the first lockdown.. We have therefore taken the strong decision not to give in to the fear of the future and not to stop the activity while respecting the health instructions.. This allowed the company to accelerate to the first deconfinement faster than companies that were at a standstill.. At the activity level, we are therefore in slight decline (-7,5 % of activity) when on average in the profession we rather revolve around – 15 % despite the decline in 35 % public tenders. »

If some of your competitors have chosen to stop, it has not been too difficult to maintain an activity despite the confinement ?

"There were some complicated moments at the beginning because we didn't have a magic wand.. We followed the instructions with the teleworking of the administrative staff while maintaining a part of the employees of the factory to keep 15 to 20 % of activity. If it has been complicated to have masks, we had hydroalcoholic gel because in recent years, there had been a seasonality of epidemics such as gastro... Since June 2020, we also take the temperature of all employees on arrival on site. »

Is it this decision to maintain a business that allowed you to limit losses? ?

"Yes because we have had very strong requests, particularly in terms of adhesives to mark distancing or the temporary marking of bike paths set up in May. 2020. If by losing 80 % of the activity in April we ended the year at -7,5 % it is that our actions to support the deconfinement have been prolific. »

What prospects do you see for the rest of the year? 2021 ?

"Today we are back to the rhythm of before the pandemic. We continue to manage the rest and I hope the end of the health crisis while managing the context of raw materials where, since the beginning 2021, a major availability crisis is raging for steel, aluminum, cardboard... whose price soars. It is therefore necessary to be very imaginative and find solutions to satisfy its customers. You can't deliver a panel without a support for example. So it pushes us to work differently and find alternatives in compliance with the rules.. We break the rhythm of everyday life and, by the force of what we live, we optimize, we improve. 2021 is a test within the test. »

You talk about creativity, do you have an example to give our readers ?

"At Isosign we have become accustomed to finding our place on the market. On some types of equipment we had two, three solutions when now we have four or five with, Like what, the creation of backlit signal boxes for our panels and a new type of paint for floor marking. We have invested in technical paintings including our latest born, "Venus", a photoluminescent paint that, as soon as night falls, restores all the light taken during the day to illuminate areas not covered by public lighting ( read more ). We must constantly project ourselves. »

You talk about projection. Concretely, what is your goal for the coming years ?

"Continue to develop the ranges of our solutions, including with the evolution of new mobilities.. Who, two or three years ago, would have thought there would be so many bikes, bike paths ? We want to support these developments with our existing solutions and future products that are still secret. ( laughter ). We also want to obtain contracts for the renewal of panels already present in the municipalities. The objective is to multiply 50 % today's business with a turnover of 18 million euros. We manufacture each year approximately 120 000 panels. »

Could this increase in turnover lead to the expansion of the Saint-Eusèbe site? ?

"Today, the factory is completely occupied so yes it will surely be necessary to build new hangars. Extension projects exist. »