SAM, manufacturer of professional hand tools since 1921
Stock table also called a "dumb seller"
proposed in the 1st catalogue in 1933
In 1906, François Blanc, an engineering graduate of the Ecole des Mines, went into the forge business - an advanced technology which was to enable the automotive industry to take off - by founding the "Forges Stéphanoises" company.
During the First World War, the United States of America provided France with its decisive assistance and allowed him to discover the high quality forged industrial hand tools they brought with them along with their equipment. This essentially consisted of tightening tools: wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers... And cutting tools: shears, bolt cutters...
Once peace had been restored, François Blanc converted part of his forge workshops to produce the same type of industrial tooling and called it SAM... Like America's Uncle Sam.
During the course of the 20th century, SAM developed within the Groupe Forges Stéphanoises, even creating its own forge in 1972, opening a branch in Benelux for the north of Europe and a subsidiary in Spain for the Iberian peninsula in 1998. The Saint-Etienne site was then fully re-organised with a major investment in a new logistics centre.
As a result of this constant strategy focusing on autonomy, the president, Michel Blanc the founder's grandson, asked his shareholders in 2001 to approve the spinning off of Forges Stéphanoises to its subsidiaries SAM and SETFORGE.
SAM also means the assurance of a lasting customer relationship and satisfaction: proximity services, high-performance logistics, customer support department, on-site training, travelling technical advisers, hotline, test laboratory…
SAM, a very family-based history
Further to two periods working in the Renault group, in the Boulogne Billancourt plant's communication department and in the Sodexho group in the framework of the organisation of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Olivier BLANC, Michel BLANC's son and François BLANC's grandson, joined the SAM group in 1993. He cut his teeth in Belgium - one of the most competitive countries in Europe - where he took charge of the subsidiary. Olivier BLANC then pursued his career taking charge of exports (1997-2002), marked by the opening of a subsidiary in Spain (SAM Herramientas Iberica in 1998), and then of marketing.
In 2005, he became commercial director.
And he was entrusted with logistics in 2008. These twenty years' presence have allowed him to appreciate the scope of business, espouse its values and know all the parameters whether they are of a human, economic or strategic nature.
Chief Operating Officer from 2011 to 2021, he became president of SAM Outillage in January 2022.
Great grandson of the founder, François BLANC, and director of SAM for twenty years, Frédéric CHAMPAVERE was appointed delegated CEO of SAM in January 2011.
After an international career lasting more than thirty-five years in the pharmaceuticals industry, whether in major American groups (Eli Lilly and Johnson&Johnson), a successful entrepreneurial experience (raising €100 million with Weinberg Capital Partners for Pharma-Omnium, the company he founded) and two years' experience as European head of the Indian group Wockhardt, Frédéric CHAMPAVERE decided to take up a new challenge, backed up by his cousin, Olivier BLANC also a "SAMist" of twenty years' standing.
Noël GUICHARD whose grandfather had also worked at Forges Stéphanoises, "with the BLANCs", joined SAM in the early sixties. He began his career in the forge then took charge of production as a whole. After his Chilean experience and his journeyman tour of France working in forges, Michel BLANC also entrusted him in the nineties with the task of conducting SAM's industrial and commercial strategy to refocus it on the essentials.
Without being a member of the founding family, Noël GUICHARD espoused their values, even embodying them by following in the footsteps of his predecessors. These values of Work, Respect, Integrity, Proximity, Effort and Commitment blend today into those of SAM. They are the base on which tomorrow's SAM is founded.
A graduate of Ecole Central, Michel BLANC became president of Forges Stéphanoises in 1972. He pursued his predecessor's policy regarding the separation of industrial tools into two branches: hand tools on the one hand and forge and stamping on the other hand.
This led SAM to set up alone on the historical Saint-Etienne site which continues to be extended through a series of land purchases.
Pierre Blanc, son of one François BLANC's student friends at the Ecole des Mines, was also a graduate of that school. He married François BLANC's daughter, Lucette, and his sister, Suzanne, married his son, André! This double BLANC-BLANC marriage joined the two branches of the founding family who continue to be SAM's reference shareholders today.
Pierre BLANC joined the company in the nineteen thirties and became its president in 1961.
A dynamic and enthusiastic man, Pierre BLANC developed the Forge and Stamping, and the Hand Tooling branches alike, both in-house and through external growth. He initiated the rapprochement with LAURAVIA, the international development of the SAM brand, as well as the physical separation of the activities.
He also trained his nephew (not to say double nephew!), Michel, the son of André and Suzanne, who succeeded him further to his accidental death in 1972.
On François's death in 1927, it was his other brother Félicien BLANC who was appointed to head up the company. Under his presidency, SAM became the leading professional tool manufacturer.
His "raids" on the workshops were memorable and for a long time left their mark regarding the rigour of flow management and the quality of the products made.
He trained his nephew, Pierre Blanc, who took over from him in 1961.
Visionary and committed, François BLANC wrote a number of works to make his contribution to solving the issues that France was then faced with and he was often found in the company of influential politicians as varied as Briand, Millerand, Doumer, Lyautey, etc...