#Designgoeson: Designdiffusion.com talks with Roberto Gavazzi, CEO of Boffi|De Padova, about smart working and the opportunities it offers
During the health emergency that is currently affecting Italy, we ask Italian companies what are their strategies to overcome the crisis avoiding excessive repercussions.
Roberto Gavazzi, CEO of Boffi-De Padova-MA/U and Adl: “Are your companies working right now?”
At present, our companies are still producing. This is possible for several reasons connected to our processing cycles and strategies. As far as production is concerned, we have orders guaranteed for at least two and a half months, and we are trying to fulfill them. We have adapted the plants in compliance with the safety regulations of this health emergency and we are working as usual.
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The surprise comes from our offices. We have managed to implement smart and remote working for about 80-85 people out of 100 across various departments. Using popular platforms, such as Skype, Face Time or Houseparty, we can make video calls with groups of up to 8-10 people, and all operations go on regularly. We have even realized that some communication flows can be controlled better in this way. So much so that, for some areas, we may consider whether to continue with modes of this kind, at least partially. Also because organizing the whole system has been neither difficult nor expensive.
The crisis and Italian exports
Exports will be much penalized of course, but it all depends on the spread of the disease in the various countries. If only Italy were to close, it would be heavily penalized, of course. On the contrary, if all the countries in the world close, which is what is happening, the risk of losing market share will be greatly reduced. It is important that no conditions of inefficiency are created, which would make the situation even more complicated. For example, since we closed before other countries, we should be careful to reopen when other countries reopen and not to be late. Hoping that there are no further problems in the supply chain.
Boffi, for example, can keep working because suppliers are working and employees are fine. If some suppliers close or the company has to close because someone is sick, production will stop. These are all variables that can have a positive or negative impact on a complicated situation that is likely to last over time. The resolution will not be quick: a worldwide stop in consumptions for a month or longer will doubtlessly have heavy repercussions.
The Salone del Mobile and the health emergency
I think that it is quite unlikely for the Salone del Mobile to be held in 2020. Let’s assume that Italy gets out of the emergency by the end of April and that other European countries follow: by May we could return to a more or less normal life. Then, we would have just a month to get ready for such an important fair. And we should not forget that companies will be experiencing financial difficulties and visitors from afar should start booking next month. Of course, I hope I am wrong, but that seems a long way off.
What impact could a year without the Salone have on furniture exports?
The Salone del Mobile is very important, but we must also consider that we are going to face at least three months of serious difficulties. Moreover, we do not know what will happen after getting out of the emergency. Will everything resume immediately? Or will it be a gradual process? And how fast? There are so many and so important unknown variables that the Salone del Mobile may even take a back seat. For many companies, the main problem will be how to deal with a drop in revenue by up to 30%, and we do not know if it will be possible to make an investment like the Salone del Mobile di Milano.
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However, I don’t want to sound too pessimistic. In fact, we are currently receiving orders from China and Asia, and, even if they are not so many, we are still working. Businesses in China are reopening, and our stores can work easily since there is no risk of large crowds, so they will probably get back to work. Moreover, if the world resulting from the Covid-19 crisis were more selective, there might be some benefits for those offering real quality. But it will take time, it is too soon to make realistic predictions now.