Before it’s business, it’s a passion
“Before it’s business, it’s a passion. In fact, without passion it wouldn’t be business.” Glauco Frascaroli, President of the La Fortezza Group, a European leader in fittings and equipment for large retail facilities, is not a typical entrepreneur. “For success you need heart” is his formula. La Fortezza’s story is like many other top “Made-in-Italy” companies – starting as a modest craftsman workshop to become a structured entrepreneurial group concentrating on foreign markets but still proud to be Italian. Founded in 1962 at Scarperia near Florence as a small company making metal shelving by Glauco’s father Giancarlo and his friends Bruno Conti and Martino Baglioni – with a capital investment of nine million lire each – the La Fortezza Group today has a turnover of more than €130m and a workforce of over 650 persons, and is structured in different divisions that work in synergy. The activities of the Scarperia facility focus on the production of metal shelving for supermarkets, hypermarkets, industrial warehouses and document storage centres. Although it is structured as a large entrepreneurial group, La Fortezza conserves all the values of artisan attention to details, creativity and innovation. The group’s strongest point is ESA, the most innovative checkout counter currently available on the market, a flexible modular system that saves space and is easy to install, even as a DIY unit. The added value of La Fortezza comes from its slim and flexible corporate structure, which allows it to fulfil orders with extreme rapidity. Production activities are based at Scarperia in the province of Florence, while the sales office is at Pianoro near Bologna, together with all management, technical and design offices. The quality of the group’s products has opened many doors to foreign markets, with exports to some 40 countries representing 70% of turnover and with sales focused on Europe and the Middle East. The group also has divisions in Russia, Malaysia, India and Argentina, and in 2007 it bought the French company Alser from the Epta Group for over €17m. Customers include Auchan, Leroy-Merlin, Carrefour, Wal-Mart, Metro, Casinò and Zodio (Adeo Group). The Italian production facility has increased its output by over 35%, with exports representing 70% of turnover. Constant research into cost optimization continues to improve the group’s performance at the international level, and it is highly competitive thanks to its financial solidity and reliability in the prompt delivery of products made possible by an efficient sales network. “Our undisputed leadership in the sector,” as Glauco Frascaroli explains, “has also been conquered with our attention to innovation, in which we invest around €2m every year. This makes us a formidable competitor on international markets.”