The Covid-19 emergency has prompted new ways of working and collaborating to seek new solutions and give positive signals to the market. We discuss this with Francesco Brambilla, CEO of Hettich Italia, the world's leading furniture hardware manufacturer and trendsetter in the furniture industry.
New opportunities can arise from a crisis situation. Will there be changes in your business reality and if so, which ones?
"This is a period marked by great uncertainties that lead to a slow start and great changes in the way you manage your business and sell. We have focused on a strong spirit of cooperation between the companies in the supply chain, aimed at finding a common solution and give a positive signal to the market. Our parent company, thanks also to the support of the German government, has never stopped producing, allowing us to continue to deliver to our customers and thus give the necessary continuity to the work. This was an important value for our customers who appreciated the fact that we were always available and present even during the most difficult weeks. In addition, the added value of having a European supply chain has also been realised: the fact that we did not have to depend on the Far East for the supply of components, which was affected by the health emergency, has proved to be a winner".
In this period the importance of the web has emerged more strongly. Do you think to use these means more even after the emergency?
"Necessarily, the dynamics and organization of the company have changed precisely by privileging the web and digitization, between smart working and the use of video conferencing platforms. I think it was an excellent experience that allowed us to maintain a high level of health security and to test a new but effective way of working. My team, which I thank very much, was able in a short time to adopt the necessary infrastructure and reprogram the work, showing great flexibility. Not only will we build on all this by focusing more and more on digitization, but we will also work to streamline processes, make the company more agile to adapt faster to change, always with the ambition to increase value for the customer".
In addition to product quality and technological innovation, what other elements do you plan to focus on to strengthen your image in domestic and foreign markets (quality of work, sustainability, environment, solidarity)?
"I am pleased to point out that our ability to intervene quickly to ensure the safety of personnel in the face of health emergencies has been an example for all the Group's subsidiaries. We quickly applied all the guidelines to avoid contagion and promoted an exchange of information with other countries through an internal platform. Italy was taken as best practice and many followed us. In these weeks we are working for the so-called "new normal" so that my employees and agents can still feel serene whether they are in the company or working remotely. So we certainly rely on the quality of the work but also on cooperation with customers and suppliers to ensure continuity. Like Hettich, we will continue to work with the utmost attention to sustainability, a central value in our company's Vision and now an integral part of our way of being and working; an objective that has not been forgotten even during the most difficult period of the emergency and which is reiterated in the codes and declarations that have been drawn up and published by the parent company and are valid for the entire group".