It all began in 1949, when a group of skilled
workers in the construction of weighing systems set up the first company, which
later became a cooperative. Today, more than two hundred professionals, 70% of
whom are employed in the cooperative, work for the Italian market and for 63
other countries around the world. For the programme FARE INSIEME Giampaolo
Colletti interview Enrico Messori, President of Cooperativa Bilanciai
di Giampaolo Colletti
There are business stories that rhyme with success. And when that sense of pride is expressed in multiple ways, through teamwork, it is bound to make a difference and become even more important over time. After all, this is the history of the Società Cooperativa Bilanciai. It all began back in 1949, in that post-war period which smelt of redemption, awareness, courage and perhaps a little bit of healthy recklessness. Those years anticipated the economic boom that defined the history of Italy around the world and, just over those years, people started to became aware of the identity value to be assigned to work. A few months before those iconic 1950s, a group of workers decided to take on a new challenge. It all started with a series of redundancies at the Crotti company, which manufactured weighing systems. We are in Campogalliano, with almost nine thousand inhabitants, in that part of the province of Modena that unites the municipalities of the Unione delle Terre d'Argine. That group of workers decided to meet in a small basement to resume doing what they were already very good at: building weighing systems. «However, the basement was so small that, once the machines had been assembled, they had to be disassembled to get out the door», says Enrico Messori, now President of the Cooperativa Bilanciai, which was founded in 1963 and has become a world-renowned example of the Emilian know-how. Of course, if you think back to that small basement, then you compare it to the current numbers, you almost smile. However, it is a smile that reveals pride.Today, the cooperative covers an area of 22,000 square metres and, as in its early days, is committed to building weighbridges, scales and other industrial weighing solutions from scratch for customers all over the world.
The legacy of being a cooperative. It is also at the forefront in the maintenance of static and dynamic industrial weighing solutions with dedicated products, terminals, software and services. Coop Bilanciai recorded an aggregate turnover of 44 million euros in 2021, an increase of 23% with a profit of 3 million euros. 26% is represented by the foreign market, spread over 63 countries worldwide. A third of the business is in services, i.e. the installation and maintenance of weighing systems. A company with record numbers that invests almost 3 million euros in research. After all, in order to meet today's complex challenges and face the markets in the best possible way, it is necessary to join forces: today, the team consists of 239 professionals, 70% of whom are employed in the cooperative, including many electronic, computer and mechanical engineers. 1999 was the founding year of the international Bilanciai Group, which consists of ten subsidiary or associated companies. «Once again, it's the people who make the difference. Over time, the determination to make the cooperative grow has remained. One of the fundamental principles is to be transgenerational: it means working to the best of our ability to leave the cooperative stronger than when we worked there», Messori explains. The legacy is in the work of the people. «Then, compared to the beginning, we have experienced a momentous change in weighing, with the development of mechanics and electronics and the exponential increase in big data: today, we can use weighing systems with predictive maintenance, which allows us to anticipate any critical situations», says Messori.
New centres of gravity. Coop Bilanciai operates in the B2B market with industrial weighing systems. The equipment is housed in its own factory, but it can also be installed at the premises of the client companies, ranging from the construction sector to engineering and food industries. «Developing weighing solutions for each sector would take decades because each market has its own specificities. In Italy alone, there are five gravity zones. So, the force of gravity is different in the various places where the measurement is taken. Then, there are differences linked to accuracy», says Messori. The technological changes are momentous. These include the production of load cells, electronic terminals and dedicated software. There is also artificial intelligence and big data management, which represent the current challenge to meet the new needs of customers who are increasingly projected into a digital dimension. Messori is convinced of that. «The future requires us to look towards new dynamics in the relationship with customers. We are moving more and more towards service and less towards possession. Over time, this will lead to less production of tools, but more investment in data analysis».
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