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Autopackaging, Italian excellence
Rome - (Adnkronos/Ign) - "Do you want to know how to manage a small business which exports over 80% of its products? Continuous innovation, without ever falling behind. It's not easy, but we are managing to do it". Giovanni Caffarelli is the main shareholder and undisputed leader of PRB (www.prbpack.com), a leading company on the international market in the sector of automatic machinery for packing and packaging. With almost âŹ 15 million of turnover per year, the company is relatively small, but is driven by an entrepreneurial vision which goes beyond the borders of Italy and Europe, to conquer and maintain a leading role on international markets in a niche sector.
Caffarelli, is 54 years old and has two children; he is Neapolitan by birth, but grew up in Bologna, and is chairman of Ucima, the association of Italian manufacturers in the sector of packaging and packing machinery. He has been at the head of PRB since 1993, when the company was sold to the internal management of which he too was part. The challenge was to transform the small company from Bologna into a major player on an international scale. We asked him how much research and technological development had influenced this success story.
"Italy occupies a position of excellence in the sector of autopackaging. Together with the companies of Germany, we cover over 60% of the world market; Italy alone accounts for just over 30%. In this framework, technological innovation has been imperative. You need maximum flexibility to adapt continuously to the customers' changing needs. In other words, in this sector, innovation and development are not just something which increases the product's value, but represent a threshold which needs to be passed in order to reach market".
What does innovation involve, in concrete terms, in your sector?
"It means being able to respond to the needs of the users without needing to change the machines significantly. We work above all on the so-called line end and, i.e. on the final packaging of the products, above all in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. Our customers constantly need to change the shape and size of their products, in order to respond to marketing requirements. It would be impossible to replace the machine which deals with the final packaging every time they made such a change. Thanks to their sophisticated electronic programming systems, our machines allow us to respond to these needs".
Knowing how to build a machine is not always enough. You also need to know how to sell it. How have you dealt with commercial aspects?
"We can boast a sales agent even on the island of Reunion, the French DĂ©partement in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It has involved a constant effort and hard work. We have created a network of branch offices and agents covering over 50 countries. Of course, the most important markets for us are those of North America, France, Germany and Great Britain, but we are also present in Australia, India, and China. Alongside the development of our all-round commercial presence we have also added an equally solid system of after-sales assistance, able to resolve customers' needs through local agents and a team of technicians which, literally, go all round the world every year".
What do you see in the future for your company?
"New markets: such as Russia, Eastern Europe, Brazil, the Middle East. In addition, of course, to China, towards which we are beginning to move. These will be a new point of reference for future development and represent growth opportunities. We will need to constantly improve the quality of our products and innovate in order to respond to and anticipate the new demands emerging from the market".
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