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ELICA GROUP - THE PRESIDENT FRANCESCO CASOLI
This is a Group worth 385 million Euros, with a turnover which accounts for 12% of the Italian market, and continuous investment in research and development. These are the main figures in relation to the Elica Group, established in 1970 by Ermanno Casoli, and now an international group experiencing constant growth and expansion. Indeed, the company has become a real reference point in the global market, in terms of innovation, technology and design. We asked the President of the Group, Francesco Casoli, to tell us about the special characteristics and future plans of the Elica Group.
- What is the Group’s approach to growth?
The enterprise and enthusiasm which go into our work are undoubtedly important characteristics, and will help us to grow yet more in the future. In the competitive environment in which we operate, it is the workforce that makes the difference between companies and decides whether they are successful or not. So our human capital certainly gives added value to our business. Then the quality of our products is also a crucial factor, distinguishing us on the market by their combination of innovation and design. We focus a lot on World Class Manufacturing: a methodology which requires a change of culture, involving everybody, whatever their role. It also means adopting rigorous methods and standards, within a system of interfunctional and team working.
- How have you faced up to the crisis?
Elica has always been an international business. In fact, the first prototype for a cooker hood, designed by my father, was intended for a client on the other side of the Alps. Nowadays, it is hard to say whether ours is the ideal, model recipe, especially in a complex time like the one we are currently experiencing. Certainly, an international approach and investments in people are a great help, and important factors in growing and becoming strong. It is equally true that innovation is a vital element: anyone who fails to understand this and who stops doing it is definitely lost.
- What is the role of innovation for Elica?
It’s extremely important. Over the years, Elica has managed to make the cooker hood into something beautiful as well as practical, transforming it into a real design object. It is design, combined with technology, which makes us so highly competitive. Research and innovation are basic strategic instruments: design, ergonomics, energy- saving, air purification, and user-friendly interfaces are some of our main focuses of development. Innovation is, and needs to be, a particular frame of mind, pushing us forward to accept new challenges.
- Do you have a presence abroad? If so, what does it consist of?
Yes, apart from Italy, we have a presence in various countries: Japan, India, China, Poland, Germany and Mexico. In Russia, we work with Elica Trading Llc to commercialise our products. We can now claim with some satisfaction to be the only truly global player in the world of cooker hoods.
- To what extent do you think you can still expand abroad and where and how would you do this?
Market performance is very varied. Some countries, such as China and North America, where the politics help the business culture to react in a positive manner, are responding well. Others, such as Spain, Greece, France and Italy, are still depressed because they lack the conditions needed to give an injection of confidence to people and encourage them to invest in the future. One always has to be very careful to seize opportunities whenever they present themselves.
- What are your short-term and long-term plans?
One of our objectives is to further consolidate on an international level. Certainly, when we attend the next “Eurocucina” event, we will be presenting some innovative new products to surprise our clients and consumers.