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ITALIAN MADE WINDOW AND DOOR FRAMES EXPORT
A sector with a turnover of 560 million euros, with a marked international trend (sector companies export 73% of their products): this is the picture of Italian manufacturers of motorised and automatic systems for doors, front doors, gates, rolling shutters, barriers, venetian blinds, curtains and garage doors. Following a 2006 characterised by a slight decrease compared to the estimates – an effect of the slowing down of sales in small companies, which represent a significant portion of the sector – expectations for 2007 are looking up. According to the latest statistics by the trade association (Unac, www.associazioneunac.it), by the end of the year production should increase by 5.7% and exports by 13.9%.
The sector for companies operating in the area of automated systems for window and door frames is made up for the most part by SMEs – except for some major players who have through time become holding companies, with production sites abroad and which are of a medium to large size. Among the leading names are Faac, Nice and Came. “The market – says Alberto Pacelli, Unac President – has forced concentration in the past decade. Fragmented companies with craft productions based on a national or regional scale therefore bound to disappear: these enterprises cannot compete with organized structures which can invest in technological innovation and marketing.”
Regarding product characteristics, although some companies have made design an important marketing tool, “this – Pacelli highlights – is not so important as it might be for other products such as electrical appliances: technology and reliability are still the most important features for sales”. The one exception in this case is the only listed company in the sector, Nice from Treviso (www.niceforyou.com), which recorded a turnover in the first nine months of the year of 120.4 million euros (+12,1%). “Nice’s business idea – representatives explain – was always to apply to the electro-mechanical sector (generally quite bland in terms of product and business models), the quest for design and forms.” Design, for Nice, has thus become a ‘must’ to distinguish itself from the competition, a chance for growth which is no longer considered as an unnecessary cost. Nice boasts a significant presence in all the main global markets, bringing technology, design and the culture of “good living” – all hallmarks of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand – to the five continents. Today the company operates in more than 100 countries and its export quota is over than 80%.
Nice’s headquarters are in the province of Treviso, in Northern Italy – an area which hosts the main players in the industry: the most prolific regions in terms of companies have been, in chronological order, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Abruzzo and Apulia. “Today - Pacelli explains – most companies are headquartered in Emilia-Romagna and in the North East.”
In terms of the business model, supply chains to the final consumer differ depending on the product. Those who produce automatic systems for outdoor gates will distribute the components to independent installers, who in turn will propose to the final users completely automatic solutions, including wiring, installing the necessary mechanical components and appropriate accessories. In this sector, automated systems producers are not in direct contract with the final consumer other than through marketing efforts in support of the network of installers.
In the automatic door sector – for example, producers of doors for shopping malls, hotels, airports – manufacturing companies tend to become suppliers of the entire automated door system as sold to the final user. A similar strategy is followed for rolling blinds, automatic window frames, and parking systems. “Ultimately – concludes Unac’s president - automatic systems manufacturers are trying to shorten the supply chain whenever there is a chance to recoup their margins.”