Specialising in the BMW and MINI brands, car distribution group Bilia-Emond is two-thirds owned by a Swedish car company listed on the Stockholm stock exchange and one-third by independent entrepreneur Philippe Emond, who also runs two garages in Belgium.
The lockdown measures adopted in March 2020 forced the company to cease practically all its activities, except for the after-sales service, which obviously ran at a minimum. “We suffered a very sharp drop in turnover over the three months of the lockdown,” testifies Baptiste Vallin, Managing Director of Bilia-Emond Luxembourg. “Once we got organised, we had time to think about how to deal with the crisis. And when the Fit 4 Resilience programme was presented to us, it was an opportunity to challenge and renew ourselves.”
Strengths and weaknesses
By chance, Bilia-Emond was also investing in new real estate with a major move planned for mid-2022. This was an ideal opportunity to implement a change in strategic direction. “With the help of a consulting firm, Resultance, we reviewed our strengths and weaknesses and worked on our internal processes. We thought about how to improve, how to work better and faster, and how to enhance the customer experience in our company. We necessarily asked ourselves a lot of questions and then established our game plan.”
The considerations focused on digital aspects as well as on an after-sales and circular economy process. This included, for example, setting up a 2.0 workshop and an ultra-efficient spare parts store, and further improving the initial plans for the car wash with a wastewater recovery system. “Transforming the customer’s phygital journey was also at the heart of the company’s concerns, in order to offer a fluid, memorable, omnichannel experience, before, during and after the customer’s visit to the showroom,” explains Lionel Cammarata, Senior Advisor – SME Performance at Luxinnovation, who supported the project.
“Our goal was to review our investments and strategy for this new garage in a more ‘modern’ way. Fit 4 Resilience made it possible for us to implement this approach – we would not have been able to do it without this assistance,” Mr Vallin adds.
Luxinnovation from start to finish
Luxinnovation provided support throughout the process. Firstly, by verifying that the Fit 4 Resilience programme was in line with the company’s challenges. The agency then explained the procedures and provided support for the preparation of the application. Finally, it was a key partner partner in the step-by-step follow-up of the results obtained, both in the context of the work carried out by the consulting firm and in the steps taken to prepare the financing applications for future investments.
“As the application was being put together, we had regular check-ins with Luxinnovation,” explains Mr Vallin (photo). “The agency really helped us a lot with preparing the application, in particular by encouraging us to ask challenge ourselves and be much more efficient in our approach. Without Luxinnovation and the consulting firm, we would not have been able to submit this application to the ministry. I had the ideas, but we also had to put it all together and connect the different people with each other.”
Now accepted, the co-financing has helped Bilia-Emond to move to the operational stage. At the beginning of the year, the implementation of the 2.0 workshop was started, as well as the deployment of the digitalisation processes. “We have 18 months of work ahead of us, with the focus on the move and then the implementation of customer processes as defined in our Fit 4 Resilience strategy,” says Mr Vallin.