Feb 13

Vision and innovation: the levers for growing in the most difficult markets


The Italian economy is going through years of great difficulty. According to the Economic Bulletin of the Bank of Italy, in 2012 GDP decreased by 2.1% and in 2013 is expected to further decrease by 1%. Unemployment reached the highest peaks since 2004, touching 9.2% in January 2012. Youth unemployment is expected to be around 12% in 2014. Consumer demand is contracting more and more, also due to salaries that are among the lowest in Europe. In this context, a growing number of companies is in difficulty.

However, it has been estimated that, in sectors with greater difficulty, about 10% of companies are thriving and growing. One of these companies is BM Arti Grafiche, a leading Italian firm in the paper industry, specialized in products for school, office and forms. Born from the initiative of the founder after the second world war, BM has been able to grow with perseverance and determination, also thanks to the professionalism of the entrepreneurial family. We have talked with Giuseppe Bigica, CEO of BM Arti Grafiche, about these performances and how to handle difficult economic conditions.

BM has been able to grow in a market crossed by deep troubles. What are the reasons for these performances?

The market environment has not certainly facilitated our growth. The paper industry has been characterized by a decline in recent years and profound changes. Stationary stores have decreased whereas LRO has grown. The spread of pcs and internet has progressively eroded the demand of notebooks, notepads and forms. BM has been able to respond to this difficult situation thanks to the courage to pursue the project BE MORE and its business vision. I must say that so far results confirm the accuracy of our plan.

Can you please describe your plan and vision more in depth?

In 2011 we began a profound change, which led to a rethinking of our philosophy and business activities. We developed a new vision and a new pay-off, which sums up who we are and who we want to be. “BM” has been transformed from the initials of my father to the slogan BE MORE: an expression that drives us every day to be distinctive and exceptional. Children who write on our notebooks or workers who use our products must not find them only of good quality; we want that they remain impressed by the design of our covers, the quality assured by numerous certifications and that they perceive the enthusiasm and the dynamism that every day we put in our business.

During the description of the BE MORE project, you spoke of a rethinking of business activities. Could you explain what do you mean by this?

As I mentioned earlier, the project BE MORE led to a change in our vision and brand positioning, but also to a new way to run our business. In this regard, we have worked with Valdani Vicari & Associati, applying the principles of the Value Innovation theory to our company. We have therefore developed new competitive factors, not yet used in the industry, with the aim to offer a distinctive and successful Customer Value Proposition. We have also paid more attention to the environmental sustainability, both in the choice of verified suppliers, and in production processes. All this has enabled us to achieve two important certifications, in addition to the ISO 9001: FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification). Moreover, we are deeply changing the commercial logics applied in our sector and we are developing an "excellent" sales network, that will be able to offer disruptive business models along retail chains.

Future projects?

We want to keep on pursuing the BE MORE vision and the principles of the Value Innovation theory, having the courage to make tough choices.