“We are fortunate in that we are not only a strong company but also have substantial credibility at an international level. We want to draw on this as we play our part in upholding the precious ‘Made in Italy’ values and demonstrating that our country is on the road to recovery”. With these words, Azimut|Benetti Group Vice President Giovanna Vitelli announced the restart of production in the company’s shipyards.
Being ready to return immediately to full-time capacity, with increased shifts to make up for the lost weeks of production, is merely the tip of the iceberg of the organisational and commercial strategy put into place that has enabled this to happen. Ten days into an easing of lockdown conditions, as Italy cautiously searches its way forward, Azimut|Benetti Group management reflect with satisfaction upon how they were able to employ the group’s trademark dynamism, creativity and innovation to adapt to the challenging situation of the past months.
“We never stopped” explains Marco Valle, CEO of Azimut Yachts. “In fact, during lockdown, our international standing held us in good stead, allowing us to close contracts amounting to 30 million euro in orders, helped in no small way by our proactivity in geographic areas not yet affected by the pandemic. This enabled us to continue with our exports which is, of course, a key lever for Italy’s economy. At Azimut Yachts we also ran 17 interactive online courses on subjects ranging from technical to marketing and sales, and these involved 236 people throughout Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.”
Franco Fusignani, CEO at Benetti, expresses similar satisfaction: “It hasn’t been easy, but we managed to keep business going with no serious setbacks. Thanks to our facilities being located in different regions of Italy, we were even able to continue with production focussed on April and May deliveries and at the same time ensure maximum protection levels for our workers through the adoption of all the safety procedures, enabling us not to have any Covid cases at all. Our refitting company Lusben closed a number of contracts to take the total number of boats being managed to 46, as well as providing accommodation and support to captains and crews in Livorno. On top of this, we ran 15 training webinars for leading brokerage houses around the world.
The enduring assets of the Azimut|Benetti Group created the foundation for this success: strong, prestigious brands, a solid commercial structure with a deep-rooted level of trust among its clients and a history of continuous investment, not only in the area of production but also in digital technology and working practices.
This commitment to the digital landscape made the development of the Azimut Yachts Virtual Lounge, an innovative new digital platform, possible in record time. Launched in the first week of May as a hub of technical, inspirational and training materials, it will also host the inaugural Azimut Yacht e-Boat Show from 27 to 30 May, featuring Live Chat sessions and one-to-one video appointments with sales and technical specialists from the shipyard.
The return to full capacity has been aided by a six-week process behind the scenes to ensure the safety of all employees, working closely with union representatives who have described it as “an innovative and forward-thinking example that sets the bar for other companies”.
As Italy looks towards an unusual and uncertain summer, there are positive signs of the country’s creative and productive renaissance with the launch of the much-anticipated Magellano 25 Metri and Benetti Oasis 40 Metri, completed in record time despite the challenges of the past months.