Doing business means choosing the foundations to build your operations: this is especially true for a group that is deeply rooted in its territory of origin, but has never stopped investing all over the world.
We must admit that it is the first time that, in many years of more or less honorable career, we have the pleasure of having a long chat with Marco Mancini. We had never gone further than a greeting and a few pleasantries. This time, however, we managed to take away some curiosity – even if limiting ourselves to a video call, as these times too often impose – about the opinions and choices of this manager who, having arrived in Scm Group in 2015 as chief financial officer, within few years has become CEO. It is the first time that this position has been taken by a manager who is not a member of the two families Aureli and Gemmani, founders of the group and still at its helm with the entry into the Board of Directors of the fourth generation.
Congratulations, Mister Mancini…
“Thanks, this is actually just a natural development of a role that I already partly covered informally in some areas”.
This does not alter the fact that “formally” you have gone from head of financial management to general manager, and a few months ago to managing director … and without having a “famous surname”.
“…This is a clear sign that today Italian companies can really adapt to the times, understand the extent of change and the need to make use of external professionalism to lead large companies where complexity is very high. Scm Group is a company with a long-term vision, which privileges sustainability over short-term “speculative” objectives. And when I say sustainability, I am not referring only to ecological or environmental issues: for us, it means sustainability of results over time to guarantee long life and better future for this company!
Sustainability is aimed at creating value for our customers through the continuous development and improvement in the performance and quality of new products and an offer of services throughout the lifecycle of our technologies. Such decision that does not always give immediate return, but certainly allows us to build a “healthier” future.
So, sustainability means for us first of all responsibility towards the four thousand people who work with us all over the world, each of whom must be able to operate thinking as if their children, one day, will also come to work in a successful Scm Group!”.
Sustainability is increasingly a key topic for the decisions made by potential customers…
“That’s true. It is a key factor for customers in the wood sector as well as for those in automotive and aerospace.
As I said, the value of sustainability certainly includes innovation: we must always be able to introduce solutions on the market that differentiate us; customers must always identify us as a partner able to offer different solutions, which allow them to increase the value of their projects and their doing business.
In recent years we have invested heavily in R&D; about 35 million per year. Our innovation process not only takes into account the expectations of the market, but above all tries to anticipate the future needs of our customers…”
… actually, today technology manufacturers are less and less sellers of machines and more and more partners in the definition of production and management systems of the enterprise…
“You are right, and it takes courage to rise to this challenge: in recent years we have launched some innovation workshops in the field of technologies for wood and other materials.Among these, I can mention the experience made recently when, in one of these workshops, we invited universities, customers, material specialists, asking what their dreams were, what they needed and what they do not find on the market of machine manufacturers today, with specific reference to the processing of composite materials. A dozen ideas have emerged; we decided to focus investments on three of these and one, in particular, led us to develop a LFAM (Large Format Addictive Manufacturing) solution, i.e. a machine that can deposit various composite materials (thermoplastics with carbon fiber reinforcements) and mill them. This technology allows to revolutionize the production of carbon parts by reducing costs and times – for example – of the production of molds and tooling typically used in automotive and aerospace. From dream to concept, from project to reality”.
So, you are about to celebrate your 70th anniversary – which will fall in 2022 – and are you still so excited and involved in looking to the future?
“It could not be otherwise. The foresight of our shareholders has built a strongly international group, with a direct and widespread presence all over the world, which exports 90 percent of the production, expanding and diversifying the sectors of competence with the acquisition of other reference brands in woodworking technologies and in the field of technologies for plastics and advanced materials, in Italy and around the world. We have adopted a precise strategy of smart “integration”, implemented in compliance with the local skills and the DNA of each company. The group has grown both externally and organically, thanks to huge investments in product innovation and the deep digital transformation of recent years. The latter has been a very powerful driver, both on the service side and on the sales side.
At the level of digital transformation, in addition to the investments already made for software, digital services and IoT systems integrated with SCM machines for woodworking and CMS machines for composites, plastics, marble, glass and metal, with the aim of making the Group’s technologies increasingly efficient, intelligent and connected, we have launched very concrete “pilot projects”, in the areas of Knowledge Base, Adaptive Functionalities, Digital Twin and Integration with MES systems that allow us, learning from information, to improve customer service, usability and quality of machines and further accelerate product innovation. These pilot projects will also be the basis for the use of artificial intelligence in machine learning”.
Theproduct is increasingly “composited”, enriched by services and opportunities, as if the “machine” itself were no longer as important as in the past…
“I don’t think so. The Scm Wood Division has always maintained, and will maintain, its focus on the specific needs of the sector. This is also demonstrated by our organization in specializing business units, in which people work extremely focused on the expectations and demands of every application area of woodworking. We believe much more in focus than in synergies. We have many souls within us, because we have always had machines for the hobbyist in the catalog, as for the large industrial group.
There is an issue with which the world of wood must quickly come to terms: if we do not learn to team up, the small and medium-sized companies, although they have interesting products and technologies in their portfolio, will struggle to survive. The merging processes may not be over and this will make it increasingly difficult to compete due to lack of synergies on innovation, lower financial strength, less attractiveness to new talent, weak competitive positioning within industry ecosystems: being part of a structured group will represent a non-negligible advantage”.
“Today Scm Group is an organization of 750 million euro, 75 percent of which are coming from technologies and services aimed at sectors dependent on the trends of the “real estate” market. I believe it is healthy to further increase our size and prepare for further diversification of turnover.
For a company of this size, with these characteristics, how important are the links with the territory?
“The group is strongly rooted and relates with continuity and depth with the territories in which it operates: not only Rimini, where Scm was founded in 1952, but in all the other territories where today we are present with our production centers in Italy – in Zogno (Bergamo), Thiene (Vicenza), Sinalunga (Siena), Vigolzone (Piacenza), Villasanta (Monza) – and abroad.
Such attention translates into initiatives of social responsibility, social and environmental projects undertaken by the group also involving groups of volunteer employees, as well as with the constant and continuous collaborations that we develop in the field of research and training with schools, universities and professional institutes of the territory and beyond, giving all the possible contribution, also through our Campus, to the education of young people.
You see, if today Scm Group is what it is, I am convinced that this is due to having cultivated with great attention the seed planted decades ago. The owners, over the years, have been able to evolve their choices, bring their principles, their experience, their history, their values in an increasingly wide context. A sort of “mission” that has always been part of our brands, their recognizability, their success in market segments so different from each other…
A sort of “privileged relationship” passed from father to son, grown year after year and fueled by the possibility of confronting each other in increasingly industrial, large, engaging contexts… All this only in the first seventy years: who knows what will happen in those who will come!”.