Sacmi secures its position in 2019 and looks to a 'digital' future
Despite the slowdown in global demand, especially in ceramics, 2019 saw Sacmi maintain its market shares.
Volumes of over 1.25 billion euro, growing employment (4,650 people), a net equity of 676 million euro: this is the picture that emerges from the Sacmi Group's 2019 Annual Report, presented on May 30th at the Sacmi Imola shareholder's meeting.
“The year 2019 saw Sacmi maintain its market shares”, begins the President of Sacmi Imola, Paolo Mongardi, “despite a sharp slowdown in global demand which penalised, above all, ceramic orders”. That slowdown has, more specifically, impacted not only more mature markets (Italy, Europe), but also China and the Far East, with growth falling short of expectations in almost every sector.
During 2019 Sacmi accelerated its implementation of new governance strategies and introduced innovative customer services, especially on the assistance front. “However, the situation of uncertainty”, points out Mongardi, “manifested itself well before the current health emergency. On the one hand, this has heightened our commitment to improving the product range in the core ceramic and packaging sectors. On the other, it has forced us to re-think our organisation and provide customers with even closer support via high-added-value products and services”. Remote assistance packages and new services that provide customer support throughout the working life of the machine/plant are part of them. Extending the gaze to 2030, Sacmi’s strategy include upgrading skills, processes and facilities, and guiding digital transformation in terms of products, processes and business models.
While analysis by sector shows that ceramic suffered, the Sanitaryware & Tableware division bucked the trend with stable volumes and revenues, while strengthening the Group's technological leadership and its partnerships with key international players. Likewise for Advanced Materials, a new Division encompassing all Sacmi activities concerning the manufacture of technical ceramic (used ever-more widely in the plant engineering, medical technology, chemical engineering and energy fields), carbon items and lithium ion battery components.
In the other sectors, the Closures, Containers & PET Division continued to perform positively, while the Beverage and Packaging & Chocolate Divisions fell short of expectations. Metal Powder solutions were impacted by the slump in the global automotive industry, although this was partially offset by the excellent performance of the refractory sector. The Quality & Process Control Division continued to be pivotal to Sacmi's overall portfolio, with vision systems that draw on new AI algorithms playing a central role.
“Lastly”, concludes Mongardi, “2019 was a very special year for the SACMI Group. We celebrated our centenary and pushed ahead with company training designed to prepare our people for the changes that will come with the digitization of processes and services. The seed of 'digital transformation' has been planted: we remain confident it will bear fruit in the coming years despite this first part of 2020 being heavily impacted by the global pandemic. We also believe this situation offers an opportunity to reflect more deeply on our development model, which must firmly focus on people, the community and the environment”.