Italian Scientists and Scholars of North America Foundation
Home > USA > Spotlight
Datalogic, an Italian success story
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - ''The secret of our success? Passion, curiosity and, why not, naivety. Passion is needed to believe in your idea, in the product, in the company you're building. Curiosity, like that of children, is necessary to keep pushing you forwards, so you try out new things and experiment, always looking to the future. Naivety means always being convinced that you can do everything, without ever giving in to pessimism. Roberto Tunioli is 46 and for 17 years has been working at Datalogic, leader in the sector of bar-code readers. He joined as a marketing man and assistant to the founder and now he has become the vice-chairman and managing director. The company from Lippo di Calderara, near Bologna, was established in 1972 by Romano Volta, who is still the owner and chairman, but who a few years ago handed over to Tunioli the running of the company. With 875 employees, four production facilities in Italy and three abroad (in California, Texas, and Shenzen, in China), a direct presence in 11 countries in all the continents and a turnover of almost âŹ 150 million, 85% of which is realised abroad, Datalogic represents one of the most dynamic realities in the panorama of Italian high technology.
Mr Tunioli, how important has research and innovation being in making your company one of the great international leaders in the sector?
"Judge for yourselves: in the last 10 years we have invested around 7.5 percent of our turnover in research and development; we have built an in-house research and development department with a 140 engineers; we collaborate with the MTI in Boston, the University of Bologna, with Marconi Foundation, the Politecnico in Milan, and TNO in the Netherlands. No, without investments in research we would not have got anywhere".
And what about the commercial aspects? to become the first in Europe and one of the first in the world, you need a capillary sales network. Where did you begin?
"We started with foreign markets. First with Germany and the rest of Europe. Then we went to the United States and lastly to Japan. And if you make a product which responds to market demands such as those in Germany, America and Japan, then the product will sell everywhere. Japanese customers demand absolute reliability, Germans want reliability and innovation, Americans above all innovation. It was a difficult test, but we passed it with flying colours".
You make it sound very easy.
"But it wasn't at all. We opened our first office abroad in 1974, two years after the foundation of the company. A few weeks ago we opened the latest, in Hong Kong. In between there have been 30 years of hard work and challenges".
Has the expansion of Datalogic also involved takeovers?
"Up until the end of the 1980s we expanded by setting up new subsidiaries abroad, from Sweden to Great Britain, from France to the United States. Then we accompanied this growth policy with a series of important takeovers. In 1989 we acquired Escort Memory System, in California. Then, in 1997 the Italian IDWare Mobile Computing; in 2002 Sweden, in 2004 the Italian Laservall, and in March 2005 Informatics from Dallas".
Today you have 25% of the world market in the sector of manual bar-code readers and around 30% in that of industrial applications. What does the future hold for Datalogic?
"I believe that the markets of the future are above all two: the United States and Asia. In the United States we today realise around 35-40% of our turnover and we want to further develop this presence. Asia is the market which promises greatest growth in the coming years. I'm not thinking only of China, however, but also of many other countries, from Malaysia to Indonesia, not to mention India. The aim? To keep on growing".
Via Candini 2
40012 Lippo di Calderara di Reno (Bologna)