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THE STRATEGY OF BOTTICINO’S MARBLE PRODUCERS: ITALIAN QUALITY AND BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES IN THE WORLD
Even the columns of Kyoto's Shin Hankyu Hotel and of the Buenos Aires Hilton and Sheraton hotels bear the signature of the Botticino Classico marble producers consortium. The grandeur of these marble works tells a centuries-old story of craft and artisanship and reflects the ability of small and medium producers from Brescia to impose their brand abroad. The extracontinental markets, led by India, constitute now the "treasure" of the small industrial empire that revolves around Valverde, in the heart of the town of Botticino.
Promoting a strictly Italian style and nature, the leaders of Italian marble from Brescia adhere to a quality supply chain, driven by a team composed of small and medium enterprises and an unrivalled export-oriented approach. "Let's be honest" - admits the president of the producers of Botticino Classico marble, Mr Giovanni Merendino – “Today, without product exports, our industry would be poised to decline. The Italian building industry suffers an unprecedented drop in activity because of the crisis. At some point, we realized that exports were our last and only lifeline. Hence, we steered in that direction and fortunately results ensued".
Indeed, there are very few industries where the dependency on other production areas becomes a survival factor. In the case of marble, production levels depend directly on the building industry activity. This largely explains why India has emerged as the main port of call for Italian marble, a direct consequence of the unprecedented building boom that the Asian continent is experiencing, in stark contrast with the trend registered in Western countries. In fact, 80% of Botticino's Consortium production is exported, of which approximately 50% is directly shipped to foreign markets, while the remainder is sold to large distributors, which in turn export the largest share of their acquisitions. The remaining 20% of production is distributed in the domestic market. According to the latest survey, India absorbs 50% of Botticinos's marble exports. Direct exports to traditional markets such as Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Russia are fairly stable.
As it happens with a large proportion of quality products from Botticino’s Consortium, to which now belong 11 companies that provide employment to 300 employees, increased internationalization opens the door to counterfeiting risk. The markets have created parallel channels flush with imitations that have severely damaged the brand and quality of the product Made in Italy. Last year, the turnover was close to 35 million Euro for a total production of 180 thousand tons of marble. To fight counterfeiting, the producers initiated the process to obtain the collective trademark of origin recognition.
Meanwhile, in terms of research and development, the consortium has partnered with the University of Brescia to conduct a statistical and financial survey, which should provide updated industry data and identify any business development drivers. "It is just one of many projects in the pipeline” - adds the President of the Merendino consortium- “We are also working on the creation of a Production district. Our aim is to minimize production fragmentation and encourage the cohesion of the industry. Only by doing so we shall be able to consolidate and sustain growth in the international markets”.