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DUCATI ENERGIA, A CHALLENGE WITH AN EYE TO ASIA
Rome - Almost a hundred years of history behind it, crossed by two wars, by the big decline of the 1960s, with the sale of the group to foreign industrialists, and then from its rebirth and return into Italian hands: this is, very succinctly, the story of Ducati Energia one of the most important Italian companies in the electronic components sector, present throughout the world. A long and difficult story, starting from the remains of the old Ducati group of Bologna which, in the 'twenties and 'thirties of last century had reached extremely important dimensions, with six factories and thousands of employees. Then the subsequent long crisis, before which the firm had also diversified its activity into the motor vehicles sector, setting up the present Ducati Motor SpA. Finally, in the 'eighties, the birth of Ducati Energia, which today counts on almost 600 collaborators, for a sales revenue of close on 200 million Euro, achieved for 45% on foreign markets. Thus important figures, that in certain sections, such as the production of power condensers, place the firm at the forefront of European results.
Leading the firm, for the last twenty years, is Guidalberto Guidi, now backed up by his daughter Federica, thirty-six, who entered the firm over ten years ago and who has built her career starting off from the lowest level. We ask her how Ducati Energia has faced up to international competition in such a difficult sector as that of electronic components.
''Ours - answers Federica Guidi - is a complex industrial situation. Ducati Energia, with its product lines, current generators and electrical condensers, works in sectors exposed to considerable competition, but Ducati Sistemi, which works in the framework of production systems, enjoys the privilege of counting on less critical markets. Undoubtedly, the energy sector is living through an extremely complex period. But our firm has not stood still and is responding to these very difficult challenges by investing in innovation, research and technology. This is not only in order to maintain our positions on the market, but also to enter into new areas".
Are you also looking to Asia?
"Yes, we are looking to the Far East and we have already started up important production investments in India. Whereas in China our strategy is different. Together with two other allied firms from Bologna, we have decided to open up a research centre. We are starting off from this, because we consider the Chinese market as risky still. Whereas the Indian market is a more mature one, so that we are signing an agreement for setting up a joint venture for production in India, in which we will be in a majority position. In China we recently took part in a conference on the topic of pollution, presenting an electronic injection system for motor vehicles, which aroused considerable interest. China is moving very rapidly also towards these new technologies connected with the reduction of urban pollution. In a word, our main competitor could in future also become a big commercial opportunity".
Besides through product innovation, how do you react in the face of the competition from countries where production costs are vastly lower than in Europe?
"We are also working hard on policies for the purchase of materials. Often we manage to reduce costs by using systems of on-line purchasing, veritable auctions of raw materials and components. I personally manage these policies, which are giving excellent results in terms of the management of production costs".
How do you feel in this rather uncommon role of woman manager?
"There are many women working in our firm, including at levels of considerable responsibility. These girls are well prepared, capable and highly motivated. However, the road to be covered is still a long one. I think that women can make a vital contribution to the business world".
Ducati Energia spa
via M. E. Lepido, 182