According to the French Standardisation Association (Afnor), "subcontracting is defined as the operation by which an entrepreneur entrusts, by means of a sub-contract and under his responsibility, to another person, called the subcontractor, all or part of the fulfilment of the corporate contract or public contract signed with the Principal".
In the industrial field, whether or not there is an initial deal or a prior contract in principle, the notion of subcontracting is generally used in a broader sense. Industrial subcontracting, for the "contractor", consists of entrusting the performance of one or several operations of design, manufacture, deployment or maintenance of the product to the "subcontractor".
These operations concern a given production cycle. The subcontractor is bound to comply exactly with the directives or technical specifications that the contractor defines.
Since the application of the classification of french activity (NAF rév.2) on January 1st, 2008, are counted in statistics of the manufacturing industry as principals strictly speaking only those who supply the raw material. Conversely are counted as subcontractors strictly speaking only those who receive the raw material.