Two production facilities, 200 employees, three historic yachting and marine safety brands like Arimar, Solemar and Svama recently joined by Nano, a new brand for tenders production. These are the figures and traits defining Gruppo Med, a company established in 2016 with a specific mission: to preserve history, promote the know-how of the companies composing the group while boosting innovation in its organisation, business models and relationships with the market.
At Boot Dusseldorf, we met Luca Galimberti and Massimiliano Marangella, CEO and CCO of the Group, with whom we tried to identify the cardinal directions steering the activity of this new company.
38-year-old, with a great passion for the sea, a degree in business management and a master’s in accounting, financial management and control, Luca Galimberti has worked as auditor, management consultant and international projects manager for many years.
Dr. Galimberti, recreational boating industry has recently emerged from a terrible crisis which has significantly changed the market and, maybe, even the economical and financial instruments governing it. Which insights drove you to invest your energies and resources in the marine business?
The signs of a concrete recovery, of course. First, we studied the trend of the last three years, observing a slow yet progressive return of yachtsmen along with a consolidating recovery both in Italy and abroad. This was our starting point. Moreover, our group had and currently has a vital expertise that we didn’t want to lose. I’m talking about our extra-yachting activity, addressed to police corps, firefighters, park authorities and Civil Defense. These weeks, for example, we’re delivering four RIBs to La Maddalena Park Authority. This was an essential heritage which should be promoted. This is why we’ve set up a specific in-house department named Med Defense.
Gruppo Med has two main features which are only apparently incompatible: the young age of the management team and their high skills gained through longstanding professional experiences. Which are, in your opinion, the essential features of a winning team?
It seems obvious but this is exactly what you need: firs of all, everyone, from the top manager to the every single employee, should pursue the same objective; then, all members of the company should communicate with each other constantly and correctly so that objectives can be clear to everyone. Established practices, too, should be changed in order not to waste talents which have developed in a historic firm like ours. These professional figures should be promoted in the name of innovation. A young and well-trained management team, with a long financial and industrial experience, has the necessary tools to identify these talents and doesn’t suffer from preconceptions which, in a modern company like ours, would turn into cages imprisoning skills and knowledge.
Married, in love with sea, navigation and dogs since forever, Massimiliano Marangella has just celebrated his 40th birthday. With a degree in Business Management, he joined Gruppo Med four months ago after a long experience in the world of recreational boating which, before entering the Montaletto di Cervia-based company, had brought him to the Top Management of Yamaha Motor Europe Marine Department in Italy.
Dr. Marangella, you have joined the Group taking an international experience in boating industry with you along with the objective of developing all the strengths of your brands in both the Italian and foreign market, particularly in Europe and USA. Which strategies have you adopted?
First of all, a more market-oriented strategy. When you think about a product, you should first think about the real needs of yachtsmen and find an answer to this question: ” What does a person loving the sea and sailing on his boat need?”. Secondarily, a communication-oriented strategy. During the crisis, our products preserved a strong domestic market covering 70% of our turnover. The current main objective is to promote the quality of our products both in Italy and abroad. In USA, however, yachting is little different. Not only in cultural terms but also from a legislative point of view. Consequently, we developed a specific product for the American market: a DOT-approved raft. A right product is the first step to enter the market.
You’ve talked about market- and yachtsmen-oriented strategies. What does that mean in practice?
Let me give you two practical examples. The first one concerns a service. We started from a certainty and a question. The (obvious) certainty is that the raft is a safety device. The question was: ” Who would give up safety for himself, his family and friends only because of the risk of inattention and forgetfulness?”. “No one” was the answer. In short, having a raft on board is just the first step. Then, the raft should be checked and maintained. So, we developed a Web App through which the raft can dialogue with our company and the yachtsman. The app is provided with some useful company data for profiling the customer’s needs and communicating with the raft owner.
This way, the App sends maintenance alerts and information about service centers and procedures. Another product is the new edition of the historic Svama catalogue. With the help of a specific software we entered all the data collected through hundreds of interviews in order to have a highly efficient catalogue in terms of contents, layouts and user-friendliness. With the addition of 1,200 items, the catalogues currently includes 3,500 products.
Your Group deals in products designed for a particular target made up of both recreational and professional sailors. While it is true that digital innovation gives sailors a more immediate and user-friendly contact with your Group, how do you expect to stay in touch with the passion, the dreams and the evolving needs of your customers?
As simply as we can, by sharing their passion and love for the sea. Anyone having a role of responsibility within our Group is a passionate yachtsman who fully knows the joys and sacrifices resulting from this passion. Well, I think that the key to connecting with our customers is contained in the word “sharing”.