Thuasne: 175 years of industrial excellence
It was in 1847, in Paris, that the company that would become the Thuasne Group was created. Since then, thousands of employees have been committed to a single goal: health. It is this common passion that drives us today and for many years to come." - Elizabeth Ducottet
Thuasne is positioned today as one of the major players in the medical appliance market. The Group produces easy-to-use solutions for back pain, muscular-skeletal problems, orthopedic issues, venous insufficiency and lymphoedema, along with products for everyday care at home and post-operative recovery from breast surgery. Together, they empower people to take a leading role in their own healthcare. The Group’s strength is to have developed and then deepened its expertise in many different areas over the years, while at the same time continuously adapting its industrial processes to retain full control of its value chain. But what lies behind the operational excellence at Thuasne today?
Technological power and local roots: two key factors in Thuasne’s success
For 175 years, Thuasne has been developing innovative therapeutic products for various conditions and different parts of the body, while maintaining complete control of its technologies, from the design to the distribution stage. Weaving, knitting, soldering, silicon, molding and composite materials… the Group now has an extremely comprehensive range of processes and materials, enabling it to provide solutions that meet the needs of its customers, backed by an ongoing commitment to continuous improvement. Such is the case, for example, with its medical socks that can help to either treat or prevent tired legs, oedema, varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and skin problems. The Group has acquired considerable expertise in all these fields over the past 30 years. Laurent Martinet, Director of Industrial Operations, says: “When I joined Thuasne 24 years ago, the Group was just starting its medical socks business. Today, we are one of France’s leading experts in the field and we want to expand internationally. The acquisition of US company Knit-Rite at the end of 2020 has accelerated our rate of growth in the American market.”
The acquisition of leading companies, along with the Group’s internal know-how, have enabled Thuasne to develop both its expertise and industrial resources, and created an extensive geographical network in France and abroad. Present in 85 countries, Thuasne now has 14 industrial plants in Europe and the United States. Among its five historic sites in France, four of them are located in Saint-Étienne, the industrial home of the country’s medical technologies. Here, the company benefits from access to a high-level scientific and business network and is able to play its part in the city’s dynamic economy -- employing 2,000 people in the sector and producing two-thirds of France’s medical textiles.
Efficiency, quality, safety: a winning trio for Thuasne’s products and processes
Thanks to this advanced industrial strategy, the Group is able to focus on operational excellence and meet its customers’ needs ever more effectively. In particular, Thuasne has developed a customized manufacturing service that is partially digitized and provides the Group with flexibility, efficiency and competitiveness. It also fully lives up to expectations in terms of logistics: handling nearly 10,000 orders a day, with 95% of the orders received in France being fulfilled in less than 24 hours.
Meanwhile, quality remains a key watchword for Thuasne. The Group has obtained quality management certification (ISO 9001) and specific certification for medical devices (ISO 13485) for several European and American industrial sites. Some products are certified according to the ‘Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex®’ reference system, which guarantees the absence of harmful chemical substances.
Technological expertise, a local presence, operational efficiency and quality all help to make Thuasne one of the leaders of French industry, with one constant objective – to provide medical help for patients. “Sustainability is part of our values,” concludes Laurent Martinet. “Faced with the uncertainties of today’s world, we believe that our know-how and industrial resources will be key advantages for the future.”