The group’s vision and mission have been redefined. Technological innovation, automation, customer service and market presence will be the cornerstones of sustainable growth over the next three years
In March this year, LB Group’s CEO Corrado Fanti, and Chairman Laura Della Chiara, presented the new 2021-2024 business plan to employees. The meeting was an opportunity to share the new vision and mission statement and the critical success factors on which all the company’s new projects will be based.
The business plan marks a major step forward and change of pace for the Fiorano Modenese-based group, which also includes the companies Sermat and Sitec. This was necessary, explained Fanti, to overcome a challenging two-year period (from the corporate changes in 2019 through to the interim administration of Gianni Dini who led the group from May 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and the appointment of new management last October), but also to inform employees and the market about the fundamentals that will once again define LB.
“We are a plant and machinery manufacturer,” recalls Fanti. “We design and build innovative mixing, milling, granulation, colouring and recycling systems, transforming raw materials through efficient and sustainable processes. We will pursue this mission by focusing on all machinery upstream of the press. And we will put the customer at the centre of everything we do.”
Two of LB’s critical success factors are customisation of technological offerings and service, which in turn are linked to automation and digitalisation. “We have shown that we are capable of customising our systems to meet the needs of individual ceramic companies, wherever they operate in the world,” explains Fanti. “This tailor-made approach also underpins our digital factory projects, which are always designed with people in mind, since companies are primarily managed by people.”
As part of an increasing focus on servitisation, organisational changes have been made to boost customer service – from pre-sales through to project implementation and after-sales – with the creation of specific dedicated teams in the Operation area, as well as the Service BU responsible for installations and after-sales. The sales team has also been strengthened, with the appointment of Alberto Natali as the new foreign sales manager as of 26 April.
In Corrado Fanti’s vision, LB’s subsidiaries in Spain, India and Tennessee (USA) and its branches in North Africa and China can and must be transformed from a cost into a source of profit. “Over the last year we have been able to appreciate the work of our staff at foreign branches more than ever before. In close cooperation with the technical team in Fiorano, they have looked after testing and start-up of plants remotely in various parts of the world, whether in Algeria, China or India,” says the CEO.
And on the subject of foreign offices, LB’s CEO does not rule out the possibility of opening a branch in Brazil in the near future.
LB’s new business plan clearly devotes considerable attention to research, development and technological innovation, and has identified 17 new research projects to which it will devote 3 million euros at a group level: from new kits for colouring powders, granulates and spray-dried products to a major research project on grinding and advanced automated systems for managing raw material warehouses.
While the ceramic sector accounts for approximately 60% of the group’s turnover, LB also operates in the fields of premixed products, fertilisers, mining and pet food and is preparing to enter the plastic and glass waste recycling sector with a new circular economy project.
Corrado Fanti is optimistic about the expected results from the new business plan, particularly given the signs of recovery that are emerging in the sector this year. “We suffered a 27% decline in group turnover in 2020 due to the pandemic, but orders have begun to pick up again since the end of 2020 and we are aiming to recover our entire losses by the end of 2021,” he says.