Innovator out of conviction
The technical solutions of Giovenzana International have been enriching the everyday life of millions of people for over 60 years: from highly developed industrial processes to lifts.
It all began with a Milanese handicrafts company, which developed very rapidly and today has deep roots in what the president, Massimo Giovenzana, calls "Europe-Land.”
Can we currently – cautiously – speak of an economic upturn?
Giovenzana: An upward trend is indeed noticeable, but we can’t claim that it’s a proper upturn. Unfortunately, the situation is very tense across the board. Companies that rely on bank credit are facing great difficulties. While they are striving to achieve technological development and quality, they are confronted with a multitude of products that are neither good quality nor meet safety standards.
How have you got through the crisis?
Giovenzana: We have invested continuously in technology and participated in the development of standards. This is because we want to play an active role in defining the safety of employees and the society that use our products.
Your point of view stems from what has in the meantime become a highly internationalised Italian economy. What is your current perspective?
Giovenzana: As a European, I see Italy as a region in Europe. Unfortunately, we lack the sense of community that would permit us to develop a joint future - we are rather drifting towards dissolution. Furthermore, the economy of several leading countries is in decline, while others that were in difficulties, such as Spain, are currently chalking up significant GDP growth. Following years of recession, Italy’s GDP has grown by almost 0.1 percent. More than other countries, we are paying for a lack of economic cohesion and industrial policy.
But there are real entrepreneurs in Italy, a great many, in fact.
Giovenzana: But not all of them are ready for a change of perspective to deal with the world of today. Meanwhile, the company that I represent – apart from the recession period – has never stopped enriching society with innovations and enlarging its own sphere of action. This is evident from the opening of various international branches, most recently, for example, in Brazil.
There are several Italian companies that operate successfully on the international market. What is your recipe?
Giovenzana: We have always studied the world around us and never just looked on. Our aim is continuous improvement and doing everything to ensure that the market for our products grows. And we have always paid attention to the protection and safety of our employees and society. We have invested a lot of energy in certification according to international standards. But that’s often not enough if people in the outside world are looking for cheaper solutions.
How can you convey the principle of quality?
Giovenzana: As always, it depends on the capacity of the wholesaler to draw attention to a product: for example, via price, awards, in combination with other products, etc. But since the market has already set the price, what really counts is customer care. If you develop a genuine partnership, you are no longer seen as a supplier, which grants price discounts on particular products. Rather, a relationship of trust develops, oriented to the solution of customer problems.
What role does the size of a dealer play in such a partnership?
Giovenzana: We cannot allot our distribution to a great many players. Nevertheless, size alone does not determine the viability of a partnership. A small dealer can also turn out to be an ideal partner in the case of a well thought-out project. All that counts is good cooperation in the main points.
So it’s not just a question of size?
Giovenzana: Of course not. If a small wholesaler comes to us with an idea, we weigh up whether and how we can adopt it.
Just like when a company asks for a bank loan to finance a project and submits a business plan?
Giovenzana: The comparison is completely correct. We particularly appreciate projects that in the medium term can lead to further developments.