HANOVA : une success story faite de défis et d’innovation

Confidences de Bruno Hannecart, dirigeant de l’entreprise HANOVA depuis 25 ans. avec la photo à droite

To begin with, could you tell us a little about your background and what led you to set up HANOVA 25 years ago?

Not exactly an academic career, I quickly joined the family business trading in packaging products at the age of 20. After 2 years as a salesman in the Nord department, we had the opportunity to buy out a Belgian supplier.

We repatriated the machines to France, creating a new entity in which I became a shareholder along with my grandmother and mother. I was soon given the onerous task of developing exports.

During 17 years of international business, I generated over 60% of the company’s sales all over the world: Canada, Singapore, Australia, the Middle East, South Africa, North Africa and, of course, the whole of Europe.

Unfortunately, family dissensions meant that our ways parted at the end of 1998.

I restarted my company as a EURL in 1999. Sole shareholder, alone at the helm with unwavering motivation.

What have been the major challenges you have faced in the 25 years that HANOVA has been in existence?

The first challenge: setting up the company.

Finding the name of the company, which is very important, especially if you’re thinking of selling abroad – it must not yet be in use, it must be pronounceable in the main international languages, find the right building, machinery, suppliers and, above all, surround yourself with the right people so that you’re not a one-man band but a conductor, with confidence in them and the ability to delegate.

The 1st challenge: finding the banks that will support you

The 1st objective: to break even as quickly as possible. When you’re setting up a new business, your turnover is at 0, your building rent, your loan repayments for machinery and your wages are falling regularly. Stress is at a peak.

The 1st victories: Rapidly growing sales to balance the books. At the start, 100% of sales were exported, and we sold in Singapore before selling in France.

When I set up HANOVA, my wife’s business allowed me to focus solely on developing the company without taking any money at the time. My father-in-law, a magistrate, and my brother-in-law, a chartered accountant, gave me good advice to avoid any problems in the early years.

Above all, I was very lucky to have been able to surround myself with the right people to help me move forward. I like to say that you can’t do anything on your own, and that only by working as part of a team can you move forward and win.

How has HANOVA risen to these challenges over the years?

In a constantly changing world, what was true yesterday is not necessarily true today, and what about tomorrow?

Never fall into a routine that will demotivate your team or cause your company to fall into a mortifying stagnation in the long term.

What can you do to counter all these risks?

You need to surprise and shake things up: new machines, new products, new buildings, lean management, a codir, an ERP, ISO certification, a CSR approach, a carbon footprint, a QHSE engineer, an expanded methods department, skills upgrading, training, a shared works council, employee benefits, etc.

You need to give meaning to your business so that young people come and stay with your company. The average age at HANOVA is 35-36, and I’m proud of this fine team.

What are HANOVA’s future plans and objectives?

My wife and I are lucky enough to have had 2 children, a daughter who will soon be a notary and a son, Thibault with whom we are preparing the generational transition at HANOVA, ensuring the company’s long-term future at the
Ruitz site.

I’m not going to play my cards close to the vest here and tell you about HANOVA’s future, because it’s always necessary to surprise.
to surprise you, but you should know that innovation and investment will always be the order of the day. Setting new standards by raising the bar on quality, traceability and service to keep pace with tomorrow’s world.

Customers should not come to HANOVA by chance.