The protection of people and machines is at the heart of major industrial sectors, including metallurgy, foundry and construction. Although innovative protection solutions are appearing around the world, they nevertheless often remain unknown to manufacturers. To remedy this visibility problem, the Lyon-based company OTEGO, world leader in technical textiles, has just launched OTEPLACE, a marketplace dedicated to this innovative industrial protective equipment. We asked Thierry Mosa, president of OTEGO, to explain how it works.
Engineering techniques: Can you present OTEGO?
Thierry Mosa : The OTEGO company inherits both the know-how of the Lyonnais silk workers and the chemical valley. Our core business is the deposit of materials on textilesincluding metal and polymers like silicones and our main keyword is “heat protection”.
You should know that although OTEGO products are manufactured in the Lyon region, 90% of our sales are made for export, with more than 50% for major exports. This desire to export came from a change in strategy, made around twenty years ago. The objective was to become a world reference in our industrial markets, these markets being the protection of people against heat and the protection of machines.
Over the years, our international development has led us to build a community around the supply ofEPI. This gave us the idea of uniting this network around a marketplace and we said to ourselves: why not offer the platform to our SME and mid-sized clients who have difficulty developing exports? This is how OTEPLACE was born.
What is the principle of the OTEPLACE platform?
OTEPLACE is a global B2B sales and purchasing platform dedicated to industrial protection and a business community that encourages exchange, cooperation and innovation between industrial protection professionals around the world.
Like any marketplace, it allows SMEs/ETIs in industrial protection to do business on a global scale by offering their innovative products on a single site, directly between manufacturers and decision-makers.
The idea of creating OTEPLACE came from an observation we made while visiting our clients’ clients. Thanks to our international presence, we realized that specific protection problems encountered in a foundry in India or Asia had a solution elsewhere, sometimes on the other side of the planet. However, these innovative solutions are often very localized and little known. OTEPLACE is the tool that allows you to establish this connection between need and solution, in an ethical and global way.
What are the criteria for selling PPE on the OTEPLACE platform?
For companies that would like to sell on OTEPLACE, the message is simple: if you have innovative protection products that you manufacture and for which you have difficulty exporting, OTEPLACE can help you.
Of course, the products must be aligned with the values of the marketplace. In this adventure, we seek to bring on board mainly companies which have a history in relation to an industrial problem. This may include head protection, cooling vests, heat protection, etc.
We then support these companies in their digital approach, by checking to what extent the product is already proven, in terms of need (depending on the country and for particular activities) and if there are standards. And in terms of their ability to internationalize, OTEPLACE is also able to support them, whether in terms of invoicing, transport or customs clearance.
The marketplace is therefore not open to everyone, because we primarily target merchants with a disruptive approach, offering innovative, eco-responsible products, etc.
What will be the future of the OTEPLACE platform?
The platform has only been open since July 2023, so it is very young. Currently, the merchants we have integrated are our own customers, who use our textiles to make protective clothing, particularly for foundries and firefighters.
On the other hand, the platform is not only reserved for customers who transform OTEGO textiles! If the PPE offered does not include OTEGO products, it does not matter. For us, what matters is finding the best solution for the end customer.
We are also reaching out to other sectors, including manufacturers of head protection equipment and cooling vests. In the coming months, the platform should onboard around forty additional merchants.
In addition, as there is an international dimension, the platform will soon be available in ten languages including Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, German, in addition to English and French.