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Mechanical subcontracting: reorganisers and innovators come out on top

Protesa presents a report on a strategic segment of the Imola economy

The picture of the mechanical subcontracting world that emerged from our analysis shows two categories: “structured companies”, which are becoming the reference points for big customers, and “linear companies” which offer excellent products yet struggle to supply services. The former are growing considerably faster than the latter, which risk being marginalised in an industry where services play an ever-greater role. This is, in short, what emerged from the in-depth industry report “Subcontracting and the economic system. What future for mechanical manufacturing?” drawn up by Protesa with the support of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Imola and CNA Imola. Protesa, a Sacmi Group company founded in 2002, has just concluded a profitable 2007 in which it generated total sales of 3.6 million Euros: with approximately 60 technicians, it offers a fully professional response to the wide-ranging needs of customers in the engineering, organisation/quality and machine tool fields.

The report was recently presented to the local manufacturing community in the presence of, among others, the President of Protesa, Giuseppe Pelliconi. “Protesa”, stated Pelliconi, “was founded in 2002, its mission being to supply high-grade technical and organisational services to bolster manufacturing companies’ own organisation and output. It has carried out this survey to contribute to the development of our local economy, where subcontracting plays a key strategic role”. Protesa examined a 15-strong sample of companies, representing 7.5% of Imola’s mechanical subcontractors and 21% of their employees. A representative sample of local customers was also surveyed. The results highlighted just how strategic a role subcontractors play in Imola’s economy: subcontracting, in fact, swallows up a good 68% of customer firms’ revenues, These firms continue to prefer local producers on account of their proven know-how and quality. This acknowledgement of the local economy’s worth is strongest in Sacmi Imola, which, with total sales of 600 million Euros, purchases 75-80% of its requirements from subcontractors in Emilia-Romagna and 14% from the Imola area.

Those who gain the greatest rewards from customers – and from Sacmi in particular – are the subcontractors who know how to enhance their efficiency through innovation and reorganisation.
There is a growing trend, as the company that compiled the survey pointed out, for customers to prefer suppliers of “complex systems”, such as units and complete machines. The most successful subcontractors - and those most likely to attract new business - are the ones that have primed their organisations for growth and manage to blend competitive product costs, organisational efficiency and an outstanding level of service.


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