Starting a business venture at the wrong time can sometimes be a challenge 

Comoli-Ferrari, a champion of electrifying Made-in-Italy excellence

Starting a business venture at the wrong time can sometimes be a challenge that gives an extra incentive to achieve success. This could easily sum up the story of Comoli-Ferrari, a leading company in the distribution of electrical materials that first saw the light in 1929, when the world was poised on the brink of its worst economic depression ever.
Industrial technician Paolo Ferrari and electrical engineer Stefano Comoli decided to give up their relatively safe jobs at Magneti Marelli to start their own company. In those days, a step like this was certainly a precarious leap into the unknown, but the years have proved that their decision was the right one. Working first as installers of electrical systems, they later moved into distribution, which in post-war years became their core business. The war itself proved to be an extremely difficult period, with a great scarcity of electrical materials, and suppliers found it hard to distribute the few they were able to find, because most industrial efforts were concentrated on war production. The partners were even forced to use a horse and cart to pick up supplies and deliver them to customers when the circulation of motor vehicles was prohibited. The most difficult moment came in 1943, when the Germans requisitioned almost everything in the warehouse, but fortunately the two industrial pioneers were able to hide sufficient stocks to be able to continue their activity. From then on their growth was unstoppable, competing with foreign multinationals and expanding into all industrial sectors. Stefano Comoli died in 1950 and his family withdrew from the business, but the Ferrari family managed to keep a firm control over the company without serious interruptions.
With its 110 branches, Comoli-Ferrari is now a major presence in the distribution of electrical materials, automation, security and lighting products and industrial conductors, working not only with the construction industry but also with important groups, and its customers include Trenitalia, Autostrade per l’Italia, Eni, Agip, Rai Way and the American company Carnival. Its foreign expansion plans are particularly intense, above all in countries bordering with Italy, and this is achieved by exporting what can be called the “Comoli-Ferrari method”, represented by a diversified and comprehensive coverage of the territory not only with multiple sales points and prompt service to customers, but also with great attention to small operators, with which it maintains a close relationship, firmly believing them to be an essential link with end users.
The industrial policy of the group, now in the third generation and guided by Paolo Ferrari, but with his father Giampaolo still the company chairman, focuses on two factors correctly considered to be fundamental for continuing market competitiveness: training and environmental protection by implementing energy savings.
The 3ELab technology hub created by Comoli-Ferrari in Novara is a facility of 1500 m2 that contains a fully-furnished replica of a typical home and a simulation of a small factory. The facility acts as a test-bed for the latest technologies available in various sectors, and it also offers training sessions for a thousand electricians every year. And it is precisely with this programme of constant training updates that Comoli-Ferrari transmits the awareness of how vital environmental respect is to end users. 3ELab is therefore an experimental laboratory for new energy saving technologies, from the installation of security systems and burglar alarms through to new cables.
Competitiveness also comes from a comprehensive presence throughout the country and the reliability of deadlines for deliveries, which are always made within a few hours of orders. By now the group’s turnover has reached €380m, and its future is in the conquest of international markets, applying the Made-in-Italy formula that has already achieved such excellent results at home.