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2009-12-01 - Caractère
Interview with Didier Trutt. A company with strong potential

Let's take a closer look at the Imprimerie Nationale with its CEO, Didier Trutt.
The Imprimerie Nationale has made a fresh start by focusing on its core activity and investing in highly technical and booming market niches. After facing troubled times, significant financial losses and a drastic redundancy plan which prompted the departure of nearly 1 000 employees and the handover of a large part of its industrial assets, the Imprimerie Nationale now has an annual turnover of 130 million euros and 550 employees.

Caractères : It's hard not to mention the preliminary investigation that has been opened against the Imprimerie Nationale. What is your opinion on the issue?
Didier Trutt : The situation is a little touchy but I am confident over the company's future. I am determined to defend its reputation and know-how. I found out about the preliminary investigation in the newspaper just a few days after my appointment as CEO. I have nothing to say in the matter. The investigation is in progress. I would simply like to point out that the investigation concerns files dating from early-2000s, and that this investigation was triggered by an audit carried out by an independent company upon the Imprimerie Nationale's own request.
The Cabinet of Ministers appointed me in August for a five-year term. Upon my arrival, I wrote an open letter to the employees in which I stated my commitment to follow the company's code of ethics by the book. The code of ethics strongly condemns the violation of national legislation and international agreements in order to obtain business deals. The company has had to face troubled times but it has now recovered. My mission is to strengthen this newfound stability and to stimulate its strong potential for development.

C :According to trade unions, the reemployment of employees concerned with the redundancy plan is another sensitive issue. Where does it stand today.
D.T. : The Imprimerie Nationale will continue to help redundant employees that have not found a job. This issue is close to my heart. And I am happy to say that we were nevertheless able to maintain our know-how as a printer. The economic situation is morose and painful, but we must look ahead. The Employment Safeguard Scheme (PSE), signed in early-2005, concerned 250 employees. 19 of them are still unemployed, mostly civil servant workers. Another PSE was signed in September and concerned 72 employees working at our Choisy-le-Roi unit. 35 of them are still unemployed. In total, nearly 1 000 employees have left the Imprimerie Nationale since 2003, the majority of which left during sale operations. The plan ended in September 2008 with the sale of our Choisy unit. Although redundancy is never easy, and although not all redundant employees have found new jobs, those who have left the company outside sales, left in good conditions.

C : What are the Imprimerie Nationale's activities today.
D.T. : The company focuses on its core business: document. Our activity is divided into three fields of expertise: fiduciary, with the production of secure and personalized documents, our principal mission being the protection of everyone's identity - printed documents with the graphic platform and continuous printing - and electronic documents which imply exchange and secure archiving solutions. Our expertise is recognized by both administrations and the private sector.
We also have a fourth activity: l'Atelier du Livre d'Art et de l'Estampe (the Art Book and Art Print Workshop), which plays an important part in our history: the Imprimerie Nationale's excellence lives on thanks to the Atelier. The Atelier du Livre d'Art et de l'Estampe also maintains a unique heritage, the Cabinet des Poinçons (Punch Room).
Our offices are located in Paris, Douai and Ivry-sur-Seine. All our fiduciary workshops have been relocated to Douai. The site has been modernized and secured and hires 500 employees. The Imprimerie Nationale invested a lot of money in the site in order to improve security and was rewarded with a PS1 classification (sensitive point of first category). Our headquarters are located in Paris alongside the best part of the graphic platform and the electronic management of documents.

C : What part does the graphic platform play?
D.T. : The graphic platform must offer a turnkey product to our clients, corporate customers, the administration, ministries, local authorities, etc… by handling the entire process from design, printing, forwarding, securitization, and personalization to dispatching. It's main objective is to offer added value to the client by providing a wide range of know-how: corporate customer relations, experience in government contracts and bid procedures, consulting, creativity, expertise in paper and printing techniques, expertise in production techniques, knowledge of subcontractor networks, etc…
The Imprimerie Nationale is an ordering party rather than a competitor for printers. A quarter of documents are printed at our continuous printing workshop, the rest is outsourced. However great their know-how, our subcontractors are too small and/or do not have the means to work directly with corporate customers and large administrations. Without our graphic platform they would, for the most part, never have access to such markets.

C : The Imprimerie Nationale has widened the range of its activities in just a few years…
D.T. : The Department for Transport has entrusted our subsidiary, ChronoServices, (public service delegation agreement) with the production and management of tachograph cards for French transport companies, a 'black box' fitted into lorries and coaches. We record card requests and check the card's validity. Our hotline, located in Douai, handles losses, thefts and incidents. We also develop the dematerialisation of administrative and fiscal documents through another subsidiary, Saqqarah International. We manage electronic transfers of management documents. We offer global solutions on an international level including design and mailing of fiduciary documents integrating securities. But we also strive to fight against forgery and fraud. For example, we host and manage databases that store the product numbers that are affixed to manufactured products or to their packaging. If needed, we also produce secure labels.

C : Do you plan to hire new employees and invest in new machines?
D.T. : Yes. Identity security is an evolving business sector. New skills are thus vital to integrate new media and new technologies. We also need to train our employees, to guide them in the use of new technologies. But above all we must give them hope for the future because change can be scary, no matter what the social structure is.
We will continue to invest in our industrial tool in order to integrate new technologies and provide better services. We chose to invest where investment will create value. We also disinvest, without selling our equipment.

C : What has become of the Atelier du Livre d'Art et de l'Estampe? And what solutions have been considered in order to preserve it?
D.T. : I love history and I intend to safeguard this unique heritage and make it accessible to a large audience. The Atelier du Livre d'Art et de l'Estampe is located in Douai and Ivry-sur-Seine and employs fifteen people. It produces bibliophily works and luxury products and keeps techniques such as lithography or collotype alive. The Imprimerie Nationale is nearly 500 years old, so the least we can do is take two or three years to find a way to promote this heritage and associated know-hows. With the State, private sector partners, etc… I am open to all suggestions.