7 questions for Gianluca Ticchi, Trade Director – Wood
1. We are living through a period of transformation triggered by the spread of Covid-19: what is the overall situation at the moment?
The current health crisis has caught everyone by surprise and, compared to other past situations, we now find ourselves in the presence of a momentous change. The impact on people, on Italy as a country system, and on the world, will affect our personal and professional habits over the next months. Despite this, we need to react in the knowledge that there will be new opportunities for rethinking our own business models in relation to digital tools, which are essential in allowing us to flawlessly manage all relations with our stakeholders on a global level, without lowering the importance of human factors. “Relationships” are and always will be at the heart of any client - supplier relation.
2. How did the Biesse's Trade area react and which strategies were adopted?
The Trade area reacted in a quick and effective manner. In particular, together with the whole team, we redefined all the main activities in order to best communicate and to best support ongoing requirements and negotiations all over the world. We should remember that Italy was the first country where lockdown was implemented, while in other countries it was introduced several weeks later. We then discussed our new business plan, and marketing and sales intelligence, and promptly implemented a programme called “Innovation Talks”. This entailed using digital social collaboration tools to discuss matters with over 30 dealers, presenting our response strategy to Covid-19 and, especially, verifying the current situation in their own countries. Thanks to these activities and to our constant communication, which kept us close to our distributors, we obtained an up-to-date market analysis which we are now using as the basis for our strategies over the next months, hoping that the Covid phase will soon be over.
3. How did the global branches respond?
At first, our distributors could not understand the reasons for the lockdown in Italy. Rather, they worried that they might not be supported when dealing with clients concerning the delivery of machinery, the dispatch of spare parts and the ongoing negotiations. Fortunately, thanks to global networking and highly evolved digital platforms such as our cloud portal for spare parts B Parts, our IoT platform Sophia , and our portal for the dissemination of all sales content B Drive, we could guarantee full support to all our dealers despite the impossibility for “face to face” meetings. Therefore, even if temporarily far, our distribution teams felt fully supported in every single aspect.
4. What kind of requirements did clients approach dealers with during this period?
Without any doubt, this unstable period caused concern, fear and uncertainty to our clients. None of us had ever experienced a pandemic and when facing an event like this, many felt disoriented. Continued communication and maximum availability helped all our clients not to feel isolated; together with our dealers, we worked hard to support them in matters such as financial issues, finding alternative suppliers when their supply chain collapsed, and even issues related to the logistics concerning the circulation of their goods. We acted as partners, not mere “machinery traders”.
5. Biesse is a company perfectly integrated in the Business 4.0 world, with a widespread network of dealers on the territory. How much support can the understanding relation between Biesse and its dealers provide in the current situation?
Biesse is a highly innovative company that very early understood the Business 4.0 themes. Our business plans are very forward-looking and strongly supported by the Marketing and Sales Intelligence division, the cornerstone of our sales area. It's cutting-edge sales culture, constantly shared through our indirect distribution, too. In this regard, during the “Innovation Talks” previously mentioned, we held a presentation for dealers to explain our new solutions concerning remote on demand demonstrations: from creating webinars on business, software and product topics, to the enhancement of a new, innovative asset, unique in its kind, that is the virtual show-room, which allows to virtually visit the over 5,000 m2 of our Pesaro facilities. Through the virtual show-room we finalised ad hoc marketing campaigns and held several presentations for clients, taking the chance to invite them to visit us in person as soon as the health crisis is over.
6. This is a global situation, and everyone is being impacted. What advice would you give to medium and small businesses to help them better address the situation?
As mentioned in the previous replies, this uncertain situation will characterise the whole second half of the year, but this doesn't mean that we should lose faith: we can transform this situation into an opportunity. We are advising our Trade area's dealers and clients (South America, Northern-Central-Eastern Europe and Africa) to modify their models; to no longer focus merely on the product but also on personalised solutions that will allow them to better meet the client's production requirements. As part of this approach we are especially promoting the SMARTACTION solution, a simple and versatile offering entirely suited to small/medium businesses. The new model permits to evaluate with the client what the real production needs are, in terms of quantity, space and collaborators, in order to shape a tailored offer together. In this regard, when negotiating with clients the presence of Biesse experts is essential, as is the professionalism of dealers who, throughout the years, were able to build reliability in the market and build financial relations with local institutions. This new tool, as well as others in the programme, will help us improve the business strategies of our distribution network.
7. How will the future of enterprise change?
The future of enterprise will be increasingly digital but without ever overlooking human factors, which even in this situation proved to be decisive in facing an adverse situation as well as we could. While integrating a new approach towards the challenges which are now emerging, it will be increasingly more important to fully understand that just focusing on the product itself is no longer enough; services and customer experience will be essential in making a difference on a highly competitive market. To conclude, despite the situation, Biesse team is focused on supporting our distributors and related clients as well as we can, to increasingly guide them into the Industry 4.0 era, where digital tools, products, automation and sales force will be integrated and connected into one single whole.