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Gervasoni, a European Leader
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - Carlo Gervasoni is one of those Italian managers who knows how to conquer international peaks and become a protagonist on the European and world stages. A 51 year-old engineer from Milan, Gervasoni became managing director of the Cementeria (cement manufacturer) in Merone, near Como, on January 1, 2000. On September 1st of this year he took an important step, becoming general manager of the Central European area for the entire Holcim group, of which the Cementeria in Merone has become a part. In his two offices, the one in Merone and the other in Zurich, Gervasoni is now the company chief of all the cement producers belonging to Holcim. These are located in Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. This important undertaking involves these figures: over 600 million euros billed overall; 1,700 employees; 9 plants for the production of cement and tens of structures devoted to aggregates and concrete; 6.5 million tons of cement produced each year.
"Gervasoni, what are the competitive factors in the international cement market today?"
"It's necessary to distinguish between hard and soft competitive factors.
The first consist of the reputation of the company, its reliability and its image. The hard ones regard the location of the production plants and the capacity to be physically near to the places where the product is sold; the cost structure and the capacity to manage evolution conveniently. Cement is a product that costs relatively little but weighs a great deal. It cannot be sold, except in rare cases, very far from the place where it is made. Therefore the geographic location of the plants has a determining strategic value that is comparable to the dynamics of the formation of the costs. Our plant in Merone, near Como, which is also one of the largest in the entire cement sector in Italy, is like a balcony overlooking Milan. The ability to maintain the high level of the company and the product image, together with being close to one of the largest cities in Europe, has allowed us to conquer increasing shares of the market".
"What weight does quality carry in this scenario?"
"Here also it is necessary to distinguish between the quality of the product and the quality of the service. The product, in this case the cement, is very standardized. Therefore our firm has concentrated on the service rendered, in terms of availability of the product, logistic opportunities and the capacity to respond to the requirements of the our customers".
"Energy costs represent an important element for the cement industry. What have you done about this?"
"Our energy plants constitute about a third of productions costs. In other countries they range from a minimum of 10 percent to a maximum of 20 percent. Here is an example: our plants in France have practically no cost regarding the thermal energy necessary for cooking the cement because they use industrial residues and wastes. In Italy this practice is only beginning. We can say that correct management of the energy provision policies is absolutely vital for a firm like ours".
"The cement industy is one of those that has historically made a significant impact on the environment, both during the raw material supply stage and during the productive stage, due to the emission of dust and fumes. What importance do you give to the environmental variable?"
"The environmental variable is everything to us. If we had not been able to show our ability to gradually and constantly reduce the impact of our activities on the surrounding area, we could not have continued. For this reason, we have invested large resources during recent years and we will continue to do so. Respect for the environment and for our firm is our main challenge for the future."
"Do you think you can attain it?"
"Yes, I'm sure of that."
Holcim Cementi spa
Via Volta 1
22046 Merone (Como)