Dialogue with Renato Brevini, president of Brevini Group

15 October 2015

Developed in collaboration with BBS, the Brevini Corporate Master started in October. We talked to Renato Brevini, president of his namesake company, about the origin and meaning of this course and about the achievements of the business he founded 55 years ago.

How did the idea for this project came about?

We started developing this Master about eighteen months ago, in line with Brevini tradition, as we always paid strong attention to managerial and technical training. After 55 years of activity, we felt the time had come to introduce in our educational offer a General Management course, the aim being to have the group managers work together, in order to promote their structured growth in terms of across-the-board skills. Even though we’ve always had a multinational vocation, Brevini is an Italian company, indeed Emiliana [from the Emilia-Romagna region]. We chose BBS as a partner for this project because we are deeply convinced that Italian excellence can really make the difference when faced with international challenges. This is the first Corporate Master and it is meant for 28 managers belonging to companies in the Brevini group, Headquarter included; it’ll last about two years and will be based on a 5-module structure, all modules will be held in English and they will be complementary among themselves: Market and Commercial Excellence; From Market to General Strategy; Performance Management and System Cost Management; Corporate Finance; Organization Human resources Management and Change Management. The modules will be structured so to have an even number of traditional lectures and more practical team work activities. This way, besides the development of knowledge, also the integration and the development of new synergies will be promoted.

Why is nowadays a programme of managerial training such as this so important?

Nowadays it is essential to have an across-the-board knowledge base, so to be able to manage micro and macro issues, and to be able to assess how one’s choices affect the company teams. Therefore, it is fundamental to consolidate each profession’s specific skills, in combination with the managerial ones. This new knowledge, or at least a “revamping” of the existing knowledge, together with a strong technical knowledge of the Brevini products and the market, are the necessary ingredients to be able to play our game in a competitive, international arena. I’m convinced the master will provide new tools in order to face these future challenges.

Brevini was established 55 years ago and today it’s present everywhere in the world: what was the key of this success?

Being close to our customers as always been pivotal for us. The size of the sales network bears testimony to it: if we include the Sales Organizations of Brevini Power Transmission and of Fluid Power, we have over 40 local entities in the world, with sales skills but also customization/engineering, After Sales and Key Account management ones. Brevini was founded in 1960, and already in the mid-seventies, we opened several branches in the different continents, a real entrepreneurial challenge at the time; the acceleration in the territorial expansion peaked in the nineties when, in less than ten years, we created 9 new Sales Organizations. The company internationalization phenomenon was also extended to the production side, with the acquisition of PIV Drives in Germany in 2002 and the opening of Brevini Yancheng in China in 2009, to then continue with USA and Brazil in more recent years. The group now has 2,500 employees all over the world. Our turnover consistently exceeds 400 million euro.

In which countries is your market share more significant and where are your growth strategies addressed to?

We operate worldwide, our product portfolio allows us covering a very wide range of technical applications in the industrial, harbour, mobile, mine sectors, to name but a few. It’s not always easy to define a market share in these industries. Anyway, we could say that Brevini is among the ten leading companies active in their specific sectors. Diversifying always granted a correct balance between growing and decreasing sales, which lead to stability in the company results, despite the generally negative economic situation. USA, China and Germany are some of the countries we are focusing on for future growth opportunities.

What would you you suggest to a student who’d like to train to be a manager in a company such as yours?

Being a manager requires the capacity to manage a higher degree of complexity versus a few years back. Information flows are faster, the boundaries between corporate functions are less clear-cut, operating on an international scale entails having to manage cultural variables, the market changes at a tremendous speed and it requires companies to adapt just as quickly. In order to win in such a scenario, one needs to start from the consideration that basic training is fundamental, although no longer enough. If some time ago a specialization allowed people to distinguish themselves and to emerge thanks to strong skills in one’s own sector, nowadays these skills need to come hand in hand with across-the-board knowledge, so to be able to integrate oneself with managers from different functions. The integration among the company functions is probably one of the many factors that makes it possible to continue being present on a global market. Therefore: studying hard, accumulating working and personal experiences, being aware that it’ll be necessary to constantly update one’s own set of skills and capacities. Let’s not forget that internationalization requires one to learn foreign languages and travel, to be open to take in different cultures.

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