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THE PROEL RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
“People first. They are what makes the difference for the growth of a company, giving it a quality that makes it better than the others." Fabrizio Sorbi is convinced of this. Sorbi is chairman of Proel, a company in Sant’Omero, a small town in Abruzzo, that exports audio-video and lighting systems to 120 countries around the world. We asked him what was the secret of success, going back over the key phases of growth that has achieved unexpected targets.
Mr Sorbi, what has led to Proel’s achievements?
One element that has certainly been fundamental is attention to the people who make up the company’s workforce. Then there are others such as investment in innovation and the importance of appropriate distribution channels. Proel currently focuses on retail distribution, which has the advantage of greater feedback from the reference market. The final element is a healthy dose of good luck, without which we certainly would not have been able to achieve all that we have.”
In 1991, when the company was born, did you expect to reach these objectives?
“As one of the founders, I did not expect for one moment that Proel would develop as it has done. But the spirit of openness to overseas markets and the internationalization which have always been our trademarks, together with a desire to focus on all that is positive about Italy, starting with design, has been a winning choice.”
In 2007, Proel acquired the historic British company Turbosound Ltd, which is connected with very important bands such as Pink Floyd, Robbie Williams and Dire Straits: what has changed for you?
“For us much has changed, because the fact that Proel became the first Italian company to acquire such an important brand name in a market that is fundamental for audio-visuals, like the British market, was something new. We were wise enough to enter the company on tiptoe, and even managed to motivate the management.”
Have you any preferences among the foreign markets with which you have come into contact?
"Certainly the United States, which is also the most difficult market in absolute terms because of strong competition. The United States is an arrival point where you know whether you win or lose compared with other competitors; it is a sort of litmus test."
Which markets have you not yet explored that could represent a challenge?
“For a company that works in 120 countries, it is difficult to speak of unexplored markets but, at the level of penetration, the Far East (China, Thailand and other Asian countries) represents a challenge for the future. Here there has been a lack of deep understanding of market dynamics and marketing, but things have been going better since we hired a specialist."
Will there be anything new in Proel’s immediate future?
“We’re trying to consolidate what we already have and lay the foundations for quoting the company on the stock market in the future.”