According to Giulio Cicognani, general manager of SACMI Imola, all of these developments were pursued with one goal in mind-to better serve the group's customers.
"We want to continue to improve our ability to provide customized manufacturing solutions and the best possible service in every location. [With these recent developments], we are building on our customers' futures, as well as our own," he explains.
Ceramic technology, which comprised 80% of the business five years ago, now makes up 55% of the group's operations. But while diversification into other industries has become a key growth strategy for SACMI, the group has also remained committed to the ceramic market.
"Our goal is that any time someone thinks about ceramic production, they immediately think of SACMI," says Cicognani.
With companies such as Gaiotto Automation, Kemac, Keratech, Molds & Dies, Niv and Sama Maschinenbau GmbH in its arsenal, the group already had a formidable presence in the ceramic industry. However, it recently saw an opportunity to bring even more value to ceramic manufacturers through the acquisitions of Laeis and Riedhammer.
"The idea was not to reinforce our traditional business areas-we are strong enough there-but to acquire new technologies and new capabilities," Cicognani explains. "Both of these companies are older companies, but they have cutting-edge technologies in fields that SACMI has not traditionally served. For example, Laeis is very strong in refractories and high-tech ceramics, and Riedhammer is very strong in technical ceramics and whiteware kilns. By combining our knowledge in these different areas, we can become more innovative in all of our markets.
"It's not a matter of simply supplying technologies for the manufacture of tile, sanitaryware, tableware, refractories or high-tech ceramics-but of melding all of our technologies and combining all of our experience so that we can meet anyone's needs, or develop a solution to any manufacturing problem," he adds.
"When choosing a site for SACMI USA's headquarters, we looked at accessibility and work force quality," says Berrone. "A strategic location was important for the company to directly serve the needs of the ceramic and packaging industries across North America. SACMI USA's Des Moines location is, literally, at the crossroads of America. Our building is only a few blocks away from Interstates 35 and 80, which are America's most-traveled thoroughfares east to west and north to south. Additionally, we wanted employees with a strong work ethic, ingenuity, loyalty, honesty and an ability to work well with others-and Iowans are well-known for possessing these traits in abundance."
The 65,000-square-foot facility, which was completed in June, cost $4 million to build and includes 3000 square feet of office space, a 5000-square-foot showroom, a 14,000-square-foot machine shop and 43,000 square feet of warehouse space. It is the home of after-sales service operations; more than $4 million in spare parts for ceramics, plastics, food processing and beverage packaging machinery; a full-fledged machine shop ready to serve the ceramic industry's requirements for molds and dies; back-office support for all administrative logistics for SACMI's regional offices; and corporate leadership. But more than just a building, the new headquarters also serves as a monument to SACMI's dedication to the highest possible level of customer service.
"We are strongly committed to the North American market and to an ever-growing customer base in that region. The new headquarters will help us streamline our operations and provide better service to our customers," explains Cicognani.
"We believe that once things settle down in the Middle East, that area will grow, and Dubai will be the Singapore of the Middle East," Cicognani explains.
Yet another facility is planned for Korea, and additional investments are also planned for the group's U.S. businesses to enhance their ability to supply parts and provide customized solutions.
"It is our policy to bring our service as close as possible to our customers-wherever they might be located," says Cicognani. "We are always looking ahead, and we will continue to pursue new ideas and technologies so that we can give our customers a competitive advantage," he says.
For more information about the SACMI Group, contact SACMI USA at 3434 106th Cir., P.O. Box 7858, Des Moines, IA 50322; (515) 276-2052; fax (515) 276-2084; e-mail email@example.com ; or http://www.sacmiusa.com . Or contact SACMI Imola S.C.R.L., Via Selice Provinciale, 17/A, Imola (Bologna), Italy; (39) 542-607111; fax (39) 542-642354; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ; or http://www.sacmi.it .