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Gianluigi Barettoni: a 2021 of Reasoned Positivity

The President of A.F.E.M.O. on the industry’s situation and on opening new foreign markets for Italian companies

Can you sum up the situation regarding machinery and technology producers?
Generally speaking, the market has reacted well despite the critical situation in our country, the concern about foreign markets and the lockdown. All divisions and producers have managed to contain the damage. Undoubtedly, there has been drops in turnover but, in percentage terms, these have been more contained than expected. We feared worse results but, having always worked and invested in the long-term, we have reaped the benefits through which, the majority of companies has managed to maintain a decent turnover.

Faced with a year that, all things considered, has absorbed the shock, what can we expect from 2021?
This new year has started well with some markets already bustling while others are still quiet. Obviously, not being able to physically carry out trade missions means that managing relations is still very limited, as is product presentation. 2021 is moving on quite normal standards and, even if the activities we usually do at national and foreign trade shows is missing, the market is sailing on an even keel.

How does it work without physical presence?
Those customers that want high-quality technology have always contacted us, continuing to invest. The real weak point is the uncertain future and while big companies continue to have good results, the SMEs are more worrying. Small and medium enterprises represent the most significant market share for us and the source of growth that must keep customer numbers high. My optimism is “pondered” since, at the moment, nobody can predict the effect of the current situation on the markets in the next two or three years. Companies have invested, they took a good look at themselves, did their reasoning, trying to understand how or which of their stock in hand could be upgraded. They are all trying to improve their products and speed up production following our indications in terms of product quality and quantity.

How do you see the near future?
We hope that the situation will be back to normal in 2022, even if we are sure that some scenarios and mechanisms will still bear a burden that will gradually fade with time, just as sales systems, like trade shows, and travel, will still be a little complicated. On our part, one strong point is definitely our relationship with IEG, Italian Exhibition Group. Our partnership in staging Vicenzaoro T.Gold is fundamental since this event represents a sort of “guiding star” for our sector. For the September 2021 edition, as usual Director Marco Carniello’s staff is working hard together with our Director, Massimiliano Malgioglio, in order to put every signal from the technology market as well, of course, as all of our associates’ needs, on the organizer’s table. I am sure that, even if smaller than usual, the show will be important and able to transmit a message of positivity, of a return to normality and, possibly, even allow us to seal profitable contracts.

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