This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Bodet. What began in 1868 as a company in Cholet, France making clock tower bells has now expanded into a thriving International business providing a range of time solutions including Time & Attendance, Lockdown Alert, Class Change and Synchronised Clocks.
To mark this special occasion, we spoke to Sylvain Bodet, great-great-grandson of founder Paul Bodet, the Communications Director for Bodet in France.
The first quality might be somewhat obvious, considering my surname: Bodet is still a family-run company. We have inherited certain skills which have allowed us to weather the storms of the last century and a half, and they get reassurance from that.
Linked to that is our second quality, our long-term strategy. Even though we’re experiencing great success at the moment, we’re always thinking about what’s next: the next market trends, the next technology we can utilise, and who our next customers might be.
Finally, I would say that our other main quality is the standard of our products. Since they are all designed and manufactured in-house, it allows us to control the whole process to a great degree. Exhaustive market research is undertaken to ensure that each product is created with a specific purpose. Then when it comes to manufacture, not only do we use the highest quality materials, they are also assembled by the very best in skilled technicians.
Are there any particular turning points in Bodet’s history which have contributed to putting it where it is today, as European leader of Time Management Solutions?
I would say the creation of our Time & Attendance department in 1990 was a huge turning point for the company. At that time, we were already renowned across France for our Clock & Bell Systems. However, this decision allowed us to move onto the international stage and diversify our product offering, all in one step.
Today, Time & Attendance has become a major part of the company. Our solutions are used by millions of users daily to manage human resources, manage time and attendance, optimise planning and control access to buildings.
How important is it to Bodet’s continued success that they provide a complete and comprehensive solution, from designing hardware and software, through to installation, training and support?
Personally, I believe it’s one of the main reasons of our success today, that we deliver and support a complete solution for our customers. That way, we ensure we maintain the same high standards throughout every stage of our offering. This approach is much more efficient for everyone and is also the reason why so many of our systems are modular. This means they can easily be increased in both scale and scope as and when our customers require it, making them futureproof.
Not having to rely on third party equipment means that we have control over product updates, both in terms of timescale and being designed meet the needs of our specific customers or industry trends. An example would be the expanded range of apps available on our Kelio Visio X7 Clocking In Terminal following customer feedback. These apps are offered free of charge to all existing terminal owners.
How does it feel to know that Bodet has been run by your family for such a long period of time?
I suppose, for myself, it makes me feel proud to carry on the heritage of Bodet, started so long ago. Whether we’re looking for new potential customers, or distributors as we continue to expand, it gives them the security to know that we’re a brand that can be trusted and relied on. Any company surviving for so long can only do so with satisfied customers, so that is a constant focus, which in turn instils confidence in new businesses. That’s a great history to be part of.
How do you think Paul Bodet, the original founder of the company, would feel today knowing that what began as a tower clock restoration company is now recognised in over 35 countries worldwide?
I think he would be amazed at how far technology has come in those 150 years, but mainly I like to think he would be proud: proud that we still exist, proud that we have been able to move with the times, and proud that the core idea of what he started is still present in the company today in the form of our Synchronised Clock Systems.
What’s next for Bodet? Where will the company be heading over the next few years?
Well, as part of our long-term planning, we have an ambitious set of goals in place for 2020. As part of these, we will be looking to push our annual turnover even higher than the €87 million recorded last year. In the short-term, we look forward to launching the third iteration of our Time & Attendance Software later this year, combining customer feedback and internal research into the very latest cutting-edge solution.