According to its CEO and co-founder Denis Deschamps, the Drakkar Group, which specializes in industrial outsourcing, logistics and digital development, is one of the best-kept industrial secrets in Quebec. With some 2,500 active employees at several major manufacturers, the company has been supporting its customers for 30 years in managing the life cycle of their products, from manufacturing to delivery. A unique business model in Canada.
I met Denis Deschamps three weeks ago at the International Air Show in Le Bourget, where he had just announced that the Avianor company of Mirabel was going to build a new hangar where maintenance work on the A220 aircraft will be carried out. ‘Air Canada as well as other types of single-aisle aircraft such as the A320 or the Boeing 737 for the airlines that operate them.
Drakkar acquired Avianor, which until then had specialized in renovating aircraft interiors, four years ago because this activity complemented the manufacturing ecosystem that the company had set up in the aeronautics sector.
“We were looking to counter the cyclical phenomenon that characterizes aeronautics, it was a great opportunity that presented itself to us. But we had to get through the pandemic during which aircraft operators ceased their activities, ”recalls the CEO of the Drakkar Group.
The company was born in 1991, when it began to offer its services to Bombardier by proposing to make the link between the suppliers of major assemblies for its aircraft and the assembly line of CRJs and business jets.
“It’s a very European concept that we learned at Airbus and that we imported to Quebec, doing on-site outsourcing. It developed with the just in time mode of production. »
In addition to this sub-assembly work for Bombardier and Airbus, Drakkar has set up a division for ground transportation where it does factory work for manufacturers Nova Bus and Lion.
All of these manufacturing outsourcing activities alone employ 1,500 Drakkar Group employees in the various industrial facilities of its customers.
Over the years and growing proximity to its customers, the group has created another division, this one specializing in inventory management and logistics.
“Our sub-assembly activities have led us to develop expertise in logistics. We support our customers to optimize their supply chain. With the disruptions we experienced during the pandemic, we now manage our customers’ inventories in spaces dedicated to them. We receive the containers in our Quebec warehouse and we manage the flow of materials to the factories,” explains Denis Deschamps.
“We didn’t want to be dependent on the manufacturing sector alone. We also wanted to support small traders. The pandemic has proven us right. We have built centers of excellence in logistics, ”continues the CEO of Drakkar.
With its partner Wiptec, Drakkar built and opened a first shared order center in Saint-Hubert in an 800,000 square foot warehouse. A second phase is nearing completion and will add 1 million square feet of storage capacity.
“We work with medium-sized businesses for whom we manage a little inventory, but we mainly take care of delivery to consumers,” says Denis Deschamps.
Groupe Drakkar’s logistics activities employ some 1,000 people in its various distribution centers, and the convergence with its outsourcing division has led the group to embark on a third sector of activity, the development of application technologies.
The Drakkar Group has acquired a small information technology firm that does application development with a differentiated approach to IT groups.
“We have developed technologies that we sell to companies and that we can export to our customers. Already after five years, this digital division, which employs around fifty people, will generate 10 million in revenue this year. We plan to announce some great developments for this new division in the near future. »
The Drakkar Group today has revenues of 250 million and is a fully private company, owned by its founders.
“Our role is to support our customers and participate in their success. We have a unique model and we are among the only ones in North America to have developed this concept of doing everything for our customers,” says Denis Deschamps.