Speaking to FoodProductionDaily.com, Larry Norpoth, commercial director, Simionato, who joined the company two years ago after working for Sealed Air Cryovac said the company lost touch with its customers after its founder died in 2001, then it was bought out by a equity investment firm but now it is picking itself up to reconnect.
“Our 50th anniversary last year saw a significant change for the firm. We have lots of resources behind us. We can do things now we couldn’t do in the past,” he said.
“The relaunch in 2011 led to a double turnover in sales and a renewed presence in the market. The founder of our company, Paolo Simionato created a firm that became known as a European leader in vertical form fill seal and weighing systems, but sadly he passed away in 2001.
“He had two daughters and because they were only involved to a minor extent in the business at the time, they sold it an equity investment group.
“The strategy was to improve the financial performance of the company not necessarily its long-term growth, and the company and its reputation suffered as a result. When it was acquired by HayssenSandiacre it was an attractive proposition due to its huge installation base before the owner died.
“After a period of time people recognise the value of being part of a bigger company. It’s important how we shared the message and the vision for every one to be comfortable.”
Norpoth added the firm had valid technology and it was present in areas of the world that HayssenSandiacre wasn’t present in.
“It was an attractive company to acquire however its reputation in the market needed to be rebuilt to bring it back to the level it was previously at and to grow it beyond that. That is what we have been working on for the last two years,” he said.
Social media presence
“Our approach is not to do things in an historical way engaging in print publicity and we are not doing a lot of huge exhibitions that costs thousands. We are purposeful in what we do through the media from a marketing and communications standpoint.
“We had lost touch with the market as Simionato with the previous ownership. We are building our database, for example, by going to bakery shows where our target customers are exhibiting. About 18 months ago, we started producing internal newsletters, we generated a YouTube channel, and we are investing in social media such as LinkedIn and Facebook.”
He said the company recently invested in a number of people and now has 45 team members including more staff in resources, sales, the technical team and production.
“We are investing in the company, hiring new people and developing their skills. We hope to attend smaller regional exhibitions and we want to focus on the market in Russia. We recently hired a sales person there who is Russian, because they know the culture and they know how to establish the right network there,” said Norpoth.
“The whole cultural change is a constant journey for us. Even with imPACKED, we wouldn’t normally invite our competitors to an event like this but we want to be more open and transparent to build up our relationships. You never know where that is going to take you.
“Opening doors can bring positive results, its all part of our cultural change engaging the market in a different way.”