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COVER STORY — Ironing by Battistella, from small repairs to the conquest of emerging markets

The Curriculum Vitae of Battistella B.G. is a story of a Made in Italy ironing business that starts the activity in the mid-’70s at a small artisan lab to become one of the main players in international markets today. Battistella’s products range from semi-professional boilers to toppers, from finishers to presses and last generation ozone sanitizing cabins

The story of Battistella B.G. from Rossano Veneto reminds us of David and Goliath story. A small business able to challenge consolidated ironing The story of Battistella B.G. from Rossano Veneto reminds us of David and Goliath story. A small business able to challenge consolidated ironing equipment producers and internationally known brands through the creation of commercial spaces and important margins of growth by searching for, and eventually, conquering the emerging markets.
The identity card of this company is simple and linear. It was founded in May, 1975 by Mr. Guerrino Battistella (who is a pensioner today but available in case any necessity arises). The business he had previously worked for faceda serious economic crisis so Mr. Battistella actually found himself having to think his professional career over. As a result, the new entrepreneurial adventure he decided to start was in line with the typical “spirit” of small businesses at their early stages. The very beginnings were made of simple reparations but the business also designed and realized small artisan, yet essential machines: metal sheet bending machines and shears.
Rossano Veneto is a small town based among the Provinces of Vicenza, Padova and Treviso. During the second half of the ’70s, the territory developed into a rich and fertile place thanks to the presence of a few big names like Benetton, Stefanel and Diesel that triggered a multiplying effect and a production growth of the entire area like never before. A few thousand improvised labs were set and scattered over the territory. They were based inside warehouses, hangars, basements and garages so that the entire productive machine continued to work.
The Venetian district of apparel, however, at some point, started facing the  consequences of the Berlin Wall fall and the end of the communist regime in the satellite countries of the Soviet Union. The historical change brought the alteration to the market interests: Eastern Europe became an attractive land for some businesses due to the low cost of labor there. At the beginning of the ’90s, what was left from the Venetian textile district amounted to almost nothing Battistella B.G. decided to manage the unpredictable crisis by turning to foreign countries. The difficulties followed soon enough. The market requested different models with many diverse specifications, so it became necessary for the business to transform into a bigger organization in order to meet the demand.
In Europe, Battistella B.G. focused on Germany first, whereas as far as the non-EU countries go, it was crucial for the company to avoid markets where stronger competitors had already been present: this is how Battistella B.G. started its business adventure in Africa, particularly in Egypt.
The challenge was to align with the market needs. Initially, Battistella B.G. entered the foreign markets cooperating with more structured companies of the sector. Then, in the beginning of the 2000s, the business started to enlarge its product range so that it could start running independently.
At first, it designed generators, then, it moved on to the production of more advanced spotting tables.
“We were late if compared to our competitors, yet we made great strides” says the owner of the company, Daniele Battistella who inherited it from his father, Guerrino. “It is clear that when we entered the international markets, distributors, importers and sales agents had already established consolidated relationships with other businesses. As a re
sult, we had to act autonomously”.

The owner of the company adds, “we are very careful about our products and we constantly develop and improve our machines in which we believe strongly”. The mindset formed by everyday work and devoted to details. Yet, it is always the market, Battistella explains, “that pushes you towards a precise direction”.
Today, Battistella B.G. can count on an extraordinary range of products. CIRCE, a shirt finisher (capacity: 40 shirts per hour) constitutes a crown jewel of Battistella B.G. and it distinguishes itself from other products of this type by its compact design. “Our Circe, says Michele Battistella, Daniele’s son, takes about 30% of space less if compared to similar products.
Such factor is not to be underestimated by a traditional laundry shop where the available room is often an issue”.

“CIRCE,
a shirt finisher
is the top end of
our production”

Michele Battistella moves on to the illustration of EVA, a non-heated ironing table equipped with a 10-liter boiler: the last generation version of the classic ironing board. “It is our personal battle to update the laundry world. Enough with the ‘80s tables with their 4 buttons placed there…”. Apart from the interactive touch screen, the greatest news is the non-heated steaming. “On average, a classic, good quality ironing steaming table uses up from 10 to 12 kW of energy.
Our patented system uses up about 5-6 kW. Again, an important value for a traditional laundry that is always looking for ways to reduce consumption”
Then, there is GEA – PRO, an ozone sanitising cabin with its slogan “The Evolution of Ozone Sanitiser”. “We have li stened to our clients who complimented on the product’s efficiency but they complained about the time of action it takes. My knowledge of ozone came in handy (chemical expert) so that we could work on both the reduction of the action time and the improvement of the machine’s efficiency. The internal system (let us not explore the details of  the professional secret) allows to obtain an extremely high quality results within just 10 minutes”.
Finally, we cannot forget to mention SIRIO, a pneumatic pants finisher. It has been another crown jewel of the business over the last years. “It is a topper for pants finishing It has been equipped with a smart touch screen that recognizes the size of the trousers to finish. Its added value is its compact and light design. It does not take a lot of space and its light weight is quite relevant for the laundries that need to move it inside the laundry”.
The organization of the company has undergone some real changes at Battistella B.G. “Over the last 6 months, we have activated an innovation and simplification process for
logistics and the warehouse. We have introduced “Amazon”, a model where everything is organized on time. When an order comes, it takes us seconds to assemble, test and send a machine”, adds Michele Battistella.
The company exports its products to almost every Europe an country, to the north of Africa, the Arab states and South America.
The “family portrait in a company”, as it happens in case of entrepreneurial teams at every generation passage (grandfather, son, grandson), is therefore reflected by a new and vigorous innovative leap: the last one took place three years ago when Michele Battistella (one of Daniele’s sons) thoroughly changed the company communication ways. It is now characterized by an accurate and systematic use of social networks, and by the commercial product enhancement. “Today, orders come through WhatsApp. We are trying to guarantee our total availability. Today, the added value for companies is not really reflected by the Italian territory as much as by the new, foreign and developing markets, still not overstocked with goods. Above all, it is Africa that represents a more and more interesting market for the apparel finishing sector today”, explains Daniele.
In 2015, Battistella B.G. celebrated its 40th anniversary and proudly dedicated that day to “the company history” recalling all the passages that had led to the success of the business. In 2020, Battistella B.G. will celebrate its 45th anniversary. The event, a real technical celebration, will include workshop sessions on various topics allowing the clients to discover the secrets of the machines and the best possible way to operate them.

 

“Battistella B.G.
exports its products to Europe,
the Arab states, the north
of Africa and South America”

The evolution of Battistella B.G.’s work method can be framed by one single image: next to the engineering design office there is the artisan work station of Mr. Guerrino who intervenes every time a new machine project, visualized in 3D, needs to be customized or worked manually. The reflection of a company symbiosis that knows how to combine the tradition and the future perfectly. •

 

BATTISTELLA B.G. S.r.l.
Via Bessica 219
36028 Rossano Veneto (VI) – Italy
Tel./Ph. +39 0424 549027
info@battistellag.it www.battistellag.eu

by Marzio Nava

Detergo Magazine June 2019

 

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