A few days of interruption of operations and rapid adjustment of company procedures to pandemic containment measures: Almet Italia has successfully overcome one of the most difficult situations in its 85 years of activity in the distribution of semi-finished aluminium products. And it looks to the future by focusing on innovative and increasingly specialized services and solutions
Facing the constraints of activity imposed by government decrees, the protection of employee health and the urgency of feeding essential industrial supply chains, distributors of products and semis had to overcome unprecedented difficulties during the most acute phases of the Covid-19 emergency, in all sectors. This is what has been experienced even by Almet Italia, a long-standing company specialising in the distribution of aluminium semis, with headquarters in Bologna, an annual turnover of around 60 million euros and controlled, since 2008, by the Amari Metals group. The offer encompasses a wide range of aluminium products including sheets, plates, bars, tubes and profiles. Many of the semis (available in stock), parts and pre-finished products manufactured according to customers’ specifications are innovative and designed for sectors ranging from mechanics to transport.
The Group’s solidity and the excellent results recorded in the 2016-2018 three-year period gave Almet Italia the financial strength and critical mass to safely face the Coronavirus crisis, as Managing Director Giovanni Colonnesi explained: “In 2019 we managed to consolidate the excellent results achieved in previous years and 2020 opened with good prospects despite various elements of uncertainty, mostly related to international scenarios. One example is the issue of tariffs and protectionism: the potential negative consequences do not directly affect us, because our business is exclusively addressed to Italy, but they concern our customers who are exporters”.
Almet Italia tackled Phase 1 of the crisis by following two main guidelines: “The company employs about a hundred people and the first concern was to ensure the health and safety of our employees,” Colonnesi explained, “through drastic measures of sanitizing and making the premises and work equipment safe, the use of personal protection devices and the rotation of people in the workplace by introducing smart working where possible. We also decided to take out additional insurance for each employee to cover any costs in the unfortunate event of a contagion”. The second guideline was to ensure, as far as possible and in strict compliance with the law, the continuity of supplies to customers active in strategic supply chains. There were as a matter of fact few days of closure. Actually, among Almet Italia’s customers there are a number of big names in various sectors – from automatic machines to automotive, ship and rail transport – for whom exports are a feather in their cap. “We are addressing not only large industries, but also the companies which work for them,” Colonnesi explained. “We also supply subcontractors and are able to cover the entire supply chain. Almet Italia is present in all the most important economic districts, from North to South. Of course we are able to respond and understand the needs of even the smallest realities. The northern regions have the greatest weight in our turnover, because there is a greater density of businesses there. Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto are driving forces for us too and represent the areas from which we expect the greatest development in the future”.
The company is structured in three branches: in Bologna there are the head office, a central stock of material and the main branch of the Adriatic area. The others are in Florence (for the Tyrrhenian area) and in Treviglio (Bergamo), a reference point for the whole of Northern Italy, from Piedmont to Triveneto. “Our strengths are capillarity, proximity to the customer and the high level of specialization of each branch, an aspect which allows us to meet the specific needs of the different industrial districts in Italy. All of this, combined with a long presence on the market, is the result of a strategy which proved to be successful over time. This geographical subdivision has also enabled us to deal with the Covid-19 emergency while continuing to provide an excellent service to our customers. Now, with the relaxation of anti-pandemic measures, we are completely operational in full compliance with protocols to ensure our top priority: safety. From the outset, we have been thinking about one of the biggest consequences of this situation for business, namely the physical distance from our customers. We worked internally precisely in order to reduce the inconvenience that this situation inevitably creates. For instance, we have massively introduced video conferencing to communicate with customers and involved our sales force in a training course to support customers using all available digital tools, with the approach of a partner with whom to share the choice of the most suitable product or solutions”.
Expectations for the future, considering the market scenario and the consequences of the health emergency, are in any case encouraging: “By nature I am optimistic,” Colonnesi concluded, “and I am convinced that, after a few hard months, there will be a positive period. Unless there are further difficulties, I expect a good second half of the year for our economy. As far as Almet Italia is concerned, we shall continue to reap the benefits of the work done in recent years”.