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Interview with company founder Piero Salvini

Source: ItaliaImballaggio, April 2015

Luciana Guidotti, from Italia Imballaggio, interviewed Piero Salvini, founder of ALTECH, a company founded in 1991 in the Milan area.

Interview with company  founder Piero Salvini

Manufacturers of labelling systems operate in an extremely dynamic market. First and foremost, the most significant attributes of the label itself have changed, with it now being increasingly intelligent, communicative and decorative, but also a means to guarantee safety.

Machines for the automatic application of labels must be able to adapt to the requirements imposed by the marketing and distribution of consumer products, by those responsible for automation and logistics.

What sets ALTECH apart from other manufacturers of labelling systems?

ALTECH was set up in response to previous management experience in the labelling sector. Circumstances, the availability of various talented collaborators and the willingness of my children to follow me into the business led me to undertake this adventure.

Something which sets us apart is our ability to listen, evaluate and understand what we need to do in a short time. We are still relatively small, and therefore flexible.

Then we have distributors (some who are even ten times “larger” than us) who suggest to us the new products we should develop, the markets to enter and the trade fairs to participate in ... Real partners, in other words, who help us and stand beside us both in our technological and commercial development. They help us to grow, and they grow alongside us.

What are the things you like most and least about your activity?

I like having satisfied customers, some of whom are particularly open about expressing this. We provide good products at good prices, we offer intelligent solutions, and above all we supply a service which is always ready, timely and sensitive to their needs. The credit all belongs to our workers and those who work alongside us, and I feel fortunate for this.

Aside from the problems thrown up by day-to-day management, the kind of things common to any organisation, I would say that there really isn't anything that I'd like to change in my company.

What are the internal and external factors which have recently had the greatest impact on your business?

Internally, our change of headquarters has provided positive stimulation. We are also hopeful that our recent efforts to improve our online communications will help us to develop new business abroad.

In terms of external influences, on the one hand we have drawn benefits from the evolution in progress in our specific sector:

  • Development of pallet labelling and automatic identification
  • Greater requirements for decoration and information using self-adhesive labels
  • Global increase in demand for automation
  • Increased interest in heat-shrink sleeves for decorating and sealing products
  • Increasing sensitivity in the market towards safety and security issues, which have led to a search for tamper-proof and anti-counterfeiting solutions, which can often effectively be performed with a label.

On the other hand, macroeconomic and political factors have often put a brake on growth. The lack of “vitality” in the Eurozone has certainly not helped companies which, like ours, have their main market in Europe.

Moreover, the strength of the Euro has been detrimental to the export of machinery outside Europe.

And finally, the labour market, which in Italy is incredibly rigid. This also has repercussions on competitiveness, and does not allow the healthy turnover and exchange which should exist in any market economy.

What characteristics does the technological innovation in your sector have?

In terms of labellers, innovation can be taken to mean:

  • The ability to satisfy the labelling requirements for a new product shape or format which leads to the development of particular and innovative devices (in this sense, innovation is our daily activity)
  • Updating the control systems and standard parts of our products (constant attention to development of components, performance, ergonomics, reliability and ease of use)

We have embarked on a relatively driven path of product and component standardisation, we take care of the aesthetics, the choice of materials and their treatments, the safety, compact design and modularity of the machine.

What are your new objectives?

We intend to extend our sales coverage in the countries where we have no presence by searching for new distributors.

We are also focussing on the technological development of existing products with constant research into improving ergonomics, performance and reliability, but we also intend to develop new products for particular niches in the market (for example the traceability of pharmaceutical products).

Finally, to further increase our collaboration with manufacturers of packaging machinery in all situations where a labeller is a “necessary accessory”.

What would you compare your company to?

If I'm permitted a motoring comparison, I would like to consider ALTECH to be the Toyota of labelling machines: transparent and efficient in its customer relationships, with reliable products which keep their promises.