Innovations in technologies, super-concentrated products, but also innovative systems for specific uses; our SMI have a lot to say to the big foreign companies. Differentiated market access models, partnerships and agreements with mass distributors promote Italian Cleaning in other nations with the satisfaction of clients and producers/exporters
Specific & Concentrated Detergents
The exports of detergents are decidedly more modest than other Cleaning product segments due to the low unit costs and the high shipping costs that compromise final prices abroad. Over the years, we’ve watched the sector evolve remarkably in the direction of concentration of active ingredients and the supply of technologically-advanced solutions for dilution with great attention to avoiding waste and keeping consumption levels low. Markets that once were distant have now become closer with this type of system, in the sense that the value added to today’s detergents succeeds in making up for the shipping prices, to the extent that some companies supply detergents as far away as South America or the Far East. «Our investments are oriented to the development of water-free products with specific packaging and the instructions required to obtain detergents with the degrees of concentration desired by the final client on the basis of reference markets and users». This was how Luigi Rubino, Sole Administrator of Rubino Chem began, before continuing: «Our objective is to reach the markets with the highest demand, such as Africa and the Middle East, but also Spain and Portugal; the conditions of these markets differ in terms of degree of evolution; for such reason it will be the local distributor who defines how much the active ingredient must be diluted with water in order to provide products that are competitive with those offered locally». Investments are made all across the board for this company that expects to be ready by this autumn with a complete and well-assorted range of detergents, fabric softeners and more, in graduated packets with the dilution instructions translated into the local languages.
As already written, the Italians’ inventive flair, especially in the detergents segment is not limited solely to products: for the more mature economies, the real difference lies in the new models of market access, in the availability of financial services for customers, and above all, in sales models based on the certainty of the costs during use and not only on the purchase of the machinery, detergents, and service delivery equipment.
The resurgence of quality
We were talking about machinery and equipment with Andrea Loro Piana, the owner of Falpi, a cutting-edge and at the vanguard company in Italy and probably even in the rest of Europe that sells high quality trolleys and cleaning accessories and offers an indoor localization service (CollegaMe) to its clients. «I was pleasantly surprised by the success we have obtained in nations traditionally linked to suppliers in the Far East, countries who have recently begun dedicating more attention to the quality of the products they buy than to the low prices; in Saudi Arabia, for instance, they say that everything that is aesthetically attractive, long-lasting and ergonomic comes from Italy.» Made in Italy has by now become synonymous with quality, and not only with aesthetics and design, but also in regard to resistance against strain and reliability. «The most pressing issues today, such as the fight against planned obsolescence, re-utilization, reparability and recyclability, have already been taken into consideration in our guidelines for many years now, to the extent that we have statistics on the use of our cleaning trolleys with lifecycles of longer than 12 years, which have absolutely nothing in common with equipment built to last only for the time required to carry out the contract awarded». Andrea Loro Piana, who believes that the new, prevalently national indications issued on the lifecycles of products in tender contract specifications also permit a return at international level as well: solid and reliable products have come to be preferred over those of first price, also because deliveries can be made in very short times, continues by saying: «Falpi manages and fills the vast majority of the orders it receives in half a day, whereas thanks to elevated automation and the constant availability of stock on hand, 15 days from the date of order are often enough for large-scale supplies.»
Partnership for Service
We have a prime example here in Italy, where Arco Chimica in partnership with Kärcher is developing a specific center alongside the Arco branch, a new software and a more advanced sales model: it all goes under the name of Tailor as the fruit of the agreement between the two companies.
«In the context of detergent production, product innovation is less differentiating than in the machinery production sector,» Arco Chimica General Director Luca Cocconi informed us, while adding: «Our need is therefore more oriented to the offer of services regarding the formation of super-concentrates or the use of single-dose packaging; in any case, we must develop services that are oriented to reduce waste for the final users». In a market phase in which tender contracts are awarded only by cutting the prices by 15-20% and growth limited to between 0 and 1% «the only way to grow - Cocconi explains - is to head in the direction of service and assistance. After studying the distribution channel and the nation’s new companies, we decided to develop Tailor in order to compensate for the retailers’ limits by offering more evolved services to the smaller, less sought after companies with training in classrooms and dedicated environments, the availability of the most advanced services, such as the analysis and development of projects at client request, the start-up of new worksites, the creation of specific APPs/Software for the cleaning and Certification consultancy projects». In any case, Tailor’s primary objective is the cultivation of a sales system based on cost during use of machines, equipment, and detergents in order to offer the final client a solution with exact costs per square meter that will vary only on the basis of the size of the areas to clean.
Kemika, a large national company, dedicates careful attention to how it makes its exports, which are, however, fairly limited in neighboring nations as far as large numbers are concerned, but which assume more importance in the context of top end with high performance products. As Kemika CEO Matteo Marino told us: «Our most significant exports regard semi-finished products that are finished on site or high value products, such as our Mega metalized wax, which is internationally renowned as the best product of its kind, especially in the most advanced markets, and still without an equal despite the many attempts at imitation». This series leader is one of the strengths of Kemika, which positions itself in a high market segment both in Italy and abroad, Matteo Marino continues: «Kemika quality is by now recognized at international level and qualified operators are more than aware of the greater efficacy of our products in the Top sector and buy them even if the prices are higher in order to obtain better results». It must be also emphasized, the executive wanted us to know, that «the continuous training of the sales force and the distribution channel must never be neglected in order to provide greater information on the superior quality of our offer when compared to those of our competitors, who place their bets solely on the offer of lower prices.»
Further confirmation came from Marco Campetella, the owner of Itidet: «Exports are guided by high quality products with elevated added value; our activity is concentrated on participation in trade fairs in search of distributors capable of offering particular products for niche markets or detergents that offer higher performance than most, such as foam detergents or those with fragrance with elevated persistence, for example, which obviously cost more than those of the standard offer.»
In a different market context, we still have a point of view that ‘certifies’ the superior capacity of our industrial fabric to offer innovative systems that are appreciated abroad. We spoke with Paolo Mangogna, CEO at Orma, who told us: «We are highly esteemed abroad for the elevated quality of our products and their user-friendly practicality; we focus our research on making our systems simpler to use than the rest of the offer in the market». Orma offers a wide range of Pest Control systems, the manager continues «Foreign markets show a lively interest in automated pesticides and deodorants; furthermore, our bait stations for mice in different dimensions with special features improve operator efficiency and reduce the work load». Last but hardly least, Orma is competitive with the other producers in Europe also in terms of price, and its ranges and prices are shown on a complete website available in different languages from which numerous requests for further details and orders from abroad originate.
Still more added value
«Our offer is based on the Italian innovation that has led to the registration of various patents». Italsan CEO Mario Magni began with these words, and then continued as follows: «Our range of products differs from the standard in the market and arouses the curiosity of operators abroad; for example, we are the only one who offers bio-enzyme powder dispenser for kitchens, with the advantage that it triggers the activation of the bacteria only when it is needed». The range offered goes far beyond the standard in the market and requires Italsan to make investments in both resources and time to make a name for itself also abroad. «We offer both single products and “turnkey” services for the management of bathrooms, but also aerosol fragrance systems hidden in suspended ceilings; all this takes place under the banner of the Green Economy, the new essences must not have warning signs and the biodust system for dust that I mentioned above has a very reduced impact on the environment and on the piping of the company that uses it». A “greener” added value provides the basis of the concept developed by Davide Romano, owner of Vama, who explained it as follows: «To many importers, Italy and Europe offer the appeal of the Green Economy, and therefore greater ecological compatibility, more respect for the environment, and reduced consumption, in addition to the products being made with recyclable and re-usable materials, obviously». From 25-30% of the material is re-used, starting from the collection of products that have reached the end of their lifecycle, an operating procedure that is valid for Italy and the rest of the European Union. «But the advantage is above all in the prices we are able to apply thanks to the Mediterranean basin agreement that does not require the payment of Customs duties on products from the European Union by the nations that have signed the agreement. For this reason, we can export with a significant advantage over Far Eastern nations». The national offer also features advanced post-sale services, which provide yet another advantage over companies in China and elsewhere in the Far East, who cannot offer such services to clients so far away as in the Mediterranean basin. The concept is applied to both production and the management of the clientele, as Tiziano Zilio, CEO of Packing90 informed us: «Foreign markets appreciate us for the quality level of our product, which must be reliable and never cause problems, and the punctuality of our Customer Service that responds to requests from our clients in the shortest time possible, usually within thirty minutes.» The level of personalization of Packing90 products is remarkably high and even small quantities can be highly personalized, obviously for higher market segments and clients at a certain level. «The amount of exposure we obtain when we install our products at luxury hotels is worthy of note; our products are distinguished by our logo and it’s easy for people to reach our website, which also happens to be well engineered and available in different languages». Much of the support the company benefits from, comes from inside because its workers are fluent in foreign languages and able to understand even a client’s most detailed needs; on the other hand, a company that exports more than 90% of its production could hardly be capable of doing without employees like these.