It’s a pleasure coming back to Sovico, approximately ten years later, to have a chat with Paola and Luca Aliprandi. Together with Luca’s brother, Maurizio, they are carrying on a business started in 1970, when Luigi and Giulio Aliprandi decided to produce tools for mechanical machining operations. They didn’t take long to understand that being located very close to the Brianza district was an opportunity, so they adjusted their focus and identified their real vocation, i.e. manufacturing woodworking tools.
Turnover is close to four million euro, with approximately twenty employees and the Aliprandi always in the lead. Export has achieved 50 percent of production, with strong expansion in recent years, when the hard period that finally seems to be over drove the company towards farther destinations. “Italy has always been our reference market”, Paola Aliprandi says. “… Now the balance has changed, although Veneto, Lombardy and the Pesaro region are still our major destinations, offering increasing satisfaction in wood housing and construction, where we deliver bits and cutters of suitable size, mainly requested from companies in Piedmont and Trentino. Wood constructions represent an even growing share of our business, this is a trend we are monitoring very closely…”.
“Our specialty, so to say, is carving tools out of solid metal, we do not apply inserts or special treatments”, Luca Aliprandi adds. “That’s approximately 40 percent of our turnover, combined with another 40 percent coming from high-performance tools, with diamond inserts or special families of tools… We achieved the most significant growth rates with “integral” tools, that’s the segment where we are stronger, or better, we are getting stronger, because we are complementing the wood business with other sectors interested in our products. ..”
“The way our customers evaluate tools has changed, too”, Luca Aliprandi adds. “Today, everybody knows they have a choice: buy a tool made in distant countries, where the only “value” is cheap price, or buy quality tools “made in Europe”. Today, if you invest in the overall quality of your company, if you believe in your product, you identify a production cycle based on expensive technology and you get no doubt: you choose a quality tool.
“This is an important part of our job – Paola Aliprandi says – i.e. find a way, an opportunity to show what our tools can do and for how long compared to alternative products. We are proud to tell that Aliprandi’s success begins when a user decides to try one of our tools for the first time, because this occasional transaction is likely to turning into a long-lasting business relationship! That’s why we have no problems dealing with samples or tests, we know that’s the best investment we can make… with some tools, you often get different results in different operations, while that never happens with our tools, because continuity and consistency of results are priority factors for Aliprandi tools”.
And what about service? After sales?
“They are key elements in our business”, Luca Aliprandi says. “Costing, estimates, scheduling, delivery, after-sales services, maintenance and re-sharpening are absolute values for us and our job; especially now that you no longer produce to fill up your stocks, but rather to provide each customer exactly with the tools they need when they need then, with ever shorter deadlines; and even more for special tools, made to measure or with special features.
Responding “in real time” is essential, and to do that we have an internal warehouse where we store finished products or semifinished parts ready for our customers, in order to minimize lead time from order to delivery. One of our key strengths is to deliver any tool within a short timeframe, offering the guarantee that we can make and deliver even complex bits or cutters within two weeks from the submission of customer drawings…
And what about distribution?
“Our main channel is resellers, they are approximately one thousand and they deal with 95 percent of our production; we have always focused on production, relying on selected partners in different markets for sales”, Paola Aliprandi replies.
“We have clear plans for the future: we will keep investing in technology and in the coming weeks we will finally expand our premises from 600 to over 1,500 square meters.
We are growing at a rate of 10 percent annually and we see an increase in international customers, also thanks to the exhibitions we attend, Xylexpo above all, which help us establish direct contacts with new, potential distributors…We will have new opportunities we will face with new young resources: we believe in young people and, for this reason, a few years ago we started a collaboration with a technical school, hosting students for stages…
(Picture: Luca and Paola Aliprandi).