Home > Spotlight
TRADITION; QUALITY AND PRODUCT: SHOEMAKER MANAS’ ADDED VALUE
He’s been General Manager of his family’s business since 2002. The company has since developed into a multinational manufacturer of Italian footwear. Cleto Sagripanti is not yet forty years old, having been born in 1971, in Macerata. He joined Manas’ (www.manas.com) management when he was only 22, in 1993, when he was appointed head of sales of a group which is now present in over 80 countries worldwide and with a huge share of its turnover (75%) coming in through exports.
Firstly let’s ask the General Manager how he has lived through the company’s evolution – it was created in 1956 and has since overcome the potentially difficult generational handover. Cleto Sagripanti’s is now the third generation to take over the running of the business.
For my family, the handover was not a problem, because we sorted out roles and processes for the current and future generations, firstly by keeping the personal capital well separate from the business capital, and secondly because we have opened the business’s teams so that we can occasionally reward employees by giving them a portion of stock.
The Sagripanti family traced the footsteps of the company’s founder, i.e. your grandfather, and today there are six cousins working within the family business. Is it this strong tie to tradition that allows you to successfully pursue your companies’ mission?
I believe that part of our success is also due to this. Since the beginning, Manas was created with the aim of becoming the leader in its market segment, creating quality products and nurturing the best Italian manufacturing tradition.
Definitely ambitious objectives. How have you been able to achieve and continue to achieve your goals?
One of our key features is no doubt our attention to quality. It is not by coincidence that the Manas shoe store was the first one in Italy to be certified ISO 9001. Design is also a driver of success, a competitive issue and a distinguishing element of our products.
Even the company’s structure, I would imagine, needed to adapt step by step in keeping with the evolution of your business objectives.
Manas has definitely created a network, almost a cluster within a cluster, where all the key functions are located – from production to design, all the way to the sales and post-sales service. The network model improves production capacity and maintains the value of experience and craftsmanship.
Let’s talk about the product. On what basis have you developed a relationship with your customers?
Thanks to a much closer relationship with all the trade customers (more than three thousand worldwide), Manas has improved its knowledge of the markets, tailoring the sales to the customers in the most efficient way possible. The next strategic objective is to develop a more innovative project from the point of view of distribution, which will encourage a closer relationship between the supermarket and the end user. Trade clients play a crucial role: they are for all intents and purposes our “business partners”, true company shareholders. They play a central role in synthesising and communicating our input into the marketing and communication function, i.e. the levers which have lifted into the spotlight many an anonymous company which may have fantastic products but invests lightly on brand politics.
Talking of marketing, what can you say about the new project, “cardboard shops”, developed in cooperation with Oliviero Toscani?
Cardboard corners and shops represent the perfect synthesis of innovation and simplicity. Cardboard instantly recalls a shoebox, while the furniture’s simple lines refer to the sober Italian manufacturing style, a purer style, one that loves to take away in order to achieve essential forms, suitable frames for the shop’s true star: the product. These innovations are born of a working relationship with a true communication craftsman, Oliviero Toscani, who accompanied the business in this period of great investments on our brand and our image.
Let’s finish with the markets. Where do you see the best opportunities?
Our company thinks global, and is used to creating its own opportunities in every corner of the world. There is currently a project I am particularly attached to: we soon hope to reach 105 Manas points of sale in China. Today we are only at five, including Beijing and Shanghai . There are new openings planned during the next few months.