7 questions to Federico Broccoli, Wood Division Director / Sales Subsidiary Division Director
1. We are experiencing a moment of medical emergency triggered by the spread of Covid-19: what is the current general overview?
At a global level, the current crisis is much more violent and distinctly different than anything we have experienced in the past. There is a particularly strong and intense impact on the daily reality of each individual, both personally and professionally. Our way of life and way of thinking changed dramatically in a very short time, requiring that we alter our habits and learn new ways to do things. Compared to other emergency situations, as soon as Covid-19 was introduced, it immediately unleashed all its effects, delivering an abrupt adjustment to our current way of life. However, in this situation of instability, it is important to be aware that all crises have an end and that each one offers the opportunity to react, be timely, seek and improve, developing new ways to achieve results. That mindset is what Biesse Group put into action.
2. How has Biesse Group reacted and how is this situation impacting the business?
Biesse Group acted promptly and with a great sense of responsibility: in particular, we implemented and intensified all measures aimed at guaranteeing the safety of employees and those who interact with the company, in order to safeguard the health of our resources and our customers. If there is a word that characterizes the way we reacted to this situation from the beginning, it is certainly timeliness. An internal Management Committee was set up immediately to monitor the global scenario and lower the ministerial directives on our reality. With a great sense of urgency and responsibility, we ensured the safety of our employees, and for the well-being of our customers, prepared a strategy to immediately put the best of what we can offer, at their service.
3. What strategies and tools has Biesse Group adopted?
Advanced technologies, smart-working, video conferencing, remote demos and dedication: these are the ingredients that allow us to continue to be operational and in constant contact with our customers. From both a commercial and technical point of view, our focus is to maintain the support they’ve always received from us. Because we have always invested in having the most advanced technologies, both inside our office to support our work and in the machinery we provide to our customers, we were ready. We have redefined our strategy, adapting to the current situation and immediately putting our skills into play. We have started a smart-working work program allowing us to ensure the full operation of the Group companies all over the world so we can meet the needs of our customers and dealers. We guarantee the delivery of spare parts and technical assistance and with SOPHIA IoT, our advanced service platform, we are offering our customers video assistance and providing them with remote technical support. It’s with a great sense of responsibility, we have decided to guarantee 30 days of free assistance in many areas of the world in an effort to better support our customers and put ourselves at their service. We have also prepared the possibility to request demos on demand that our customers can follow directly from home, virtually replicating the personal relationship with the technician and the machinery demonstrations that we usually have on our Campuses around the world where we host daily visits and global events. We are working in synergy with our 39 subsidiaries to guarantee business continuity for our customers, assisting them with spare parts and services, as well as with remote assistance and operations at the customer's site, in full compliance with local laws. Encouraged by a significant portfolio of orders, we are facing these weeks of emergency with confidence and with a deep sense of responsibility. Furthermore, the machines that continue to be produced by our manufacturing sites and the technology available at our hubs in Italy, North America, Australia, Malaysia and India, ensure a supply that is more than sufficient to meet the demands of Biesse and Intermac customers around the world and to respond to their technology needs during this time. Thanks to this strategic reserve, we are able to face the necessary slowdown with no ca.use for concern.
4. How is the current situation affecting branch work?
With the exception of China, the affects first hit the Pesaro Headquarters and are now expanding in other countries where our branches are located. We have 39 branches worldwide and we are a strong and cohesive group. On the one hand, we have the financial strength to cope with this situation, and the diverse, global talents on the other, to put at the Group’s service. Dynamism and proactivity: these are the two key words that distinguish our approach; not only reactive but proactive, facing the emergency and applying all safety measures in our branches around the world. Thanks to our one company approach, a single global vision managed by cohesive Management guaranteeing the same processes and tools all subsidiaries, we can offer the same level of assistance and support in every part of the world to protect the production activities of our customers.
5. What strategies and tools has Biesse Group adopted locally in the branches?
With great speed, we extended the same prevention and safety measures applied in HQ to our subsidiaries, adapting the plan to meet the specific situation of each country and local regulations. In some cases, we were ahead of local regulations. We also implemented remote on-demand demonstrations and technical video assistance in the branches. We have put in place a smart-working program and, where possible, we have encouraged help plans for working mothers in order to better manage the work situation with the private one.
6. It is a global situation that affects everyone. What advice do you feel to give to small and medium-sized enterprises to better face this moment?
During this moment of pause, my advice to all entrepreneurs is to take advantage of this time to reflect and rethink their way of working and their production strategies. Suddenly, an obligatory stop came to the frenzy with which we usually live and it’s as if we were holding a blank sheet of paper. Use this moment to answer this question: "How could I make processes more agile, optimize production flows and review ways of working to make my company better?" It is the moment of awareness, analysis and change; it is the moment in which one can analyze one's activity with a critical eye, with the calm and rationality necessary to evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, improving the former and eliminating the latter. It is necessary to take this opportunity to stop and reflect, study new tools and new activities useful to improving one's business strategies, review market research and new ways of collaborating with other companies, including through district and network systems and strategies. My advice is therefore to think. Look for ways to redesign and improve business strategies, to start again stronger when the storm has passed, to seize the opportunities and build tomorrow's success.
7. How will the future of business change?
Today we are rediscovering an unusual proximity based on technology that leads us to give greater value to connections and relationships. Guided by a strong and structured management that promptly implements strategies and responds to the emergency situation, we have the opportunity to exploit the current instability to build and obtain positive effects. Up until a week ago, the economy was going well. We are experiencing a difficult moment born of a health emergency. Surely there will be repercussions for everyone, but I am convinced that after this phase, there will be a recovery and we must work to be ready to take all the opportunities that may arise. We must continue to think about the restart, taking advantage of all the opportunities for growth that this period offers us: an accelerated cultural change, the strengthening of already well-established strategies, the protection of our resources and our employees, concretely testing the opportunities offered by new technologies of connections and digital manufacturing which today are increasingly applied in our customers' companies. This situation in fact accelerates a cultural change that was already underway, speeding up our and our customers' digital manufacturing process. The factory evolves, the processes become more streamlined and automated and man focuses on the activities with greater added value. "Ready, it's tomorrow" is not just a campaign claim for us that shows the principles of the factory of the future in full harmony between technology and human genius, it is the representation of our mindset: as a Group we have been ready for a few years , now we will be even closer to our customers to be able to accompany them in this important cultural leap centered on the digitalization and automation of production processes, so that each of them can fully exploit the benefits. Together we will do it.