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FARE INSIEME - Ep. 54 - La Petroniana and its capability of reinventing itself over time maintaining unaltered its high-quality, attention and trustworthiness

«Our attention is focused mainly on people»


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In Zola Predosa (Bologna), there is a cleaning company which, over the years, has become a leader when it comes to facility management and integrated logistics. It employs 450 people with a consolidated turnover of €12 million. From Emilia, it looks towards Milan and Florence. For FARE INSIEME, Giampaolo Colletti interviews Flavio Guastafierro, CEO of La Petroniana

di Giampaolo Colletti

Photocredit: Giacomo Maestri e Francesca Aufiero

He who hesitates is lost. Because today, to do business, you need a head resting firmly on your shoulders, a heart beating strongly as regards new projects and ears pricked up to grasp market evolutions, those weak signals destined to become stronger and stronger. Imagine, for example, the Copernican Revolution linked to the cleaning and sanitising sector, also due to the emergency caused by a pandemic which has yet to disappear. Without those pricked up ears, it would not have been possible to face difficulties and grasp opportunities. Flavio Guastafierro, CEO of La Petroniana, a Bologna company celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2022, knows this only too well. “We were born as a simple cleaning company between the late 1970s and early 1980s thanks to my mother Maria Santucci and my father Vincenzo Guastafierro. My parents are no longer with me, but their vision has remained intact. Over time, we managed to reinvent ourselves maintaining our initial DNA and adding new tiles to the mosaic, because the world we live in is increasingly complex. My father, who was born in Salerno and later moved to Bologna, always paid great attention to innovation when it came to the machinery used, the products purchased and the training given to our people. We were among the first businesses in Italy to use high-performance hi-tech machinery,” reports Guastafierro. Today, La Petroniana defines itself as a people company. “Because our attention is focused mainly on people. There are the internal ones, i.e. our extended family. Then there are the clients. Their demands have evolved over time, especially during this emergency phase. Inevitably, we found it difficult at first to understand the new context, because no one knew how to deal with the situation. Then, however, the winning key was working together with clients, using clinical studies and research to understand how to optimise sanitisation and focusing on team work,” recalls Guastafierro. Yes, the team. The company boasts 450 employees and a consolidated turnover of €12 million in 2021, expected to reach €14 million in 2022.  

Multiple companies, one vision, many clients.
We find ourselves in Zola Predosa, a town of twenty thousand inhabitants in the Bologna metropolitan area. But, from here, we look north, towards Milan. And west, towards Prato and Florence. In 2019, logistics was added to the already-varied activities part of Facility Management. The objective was to provide clients with an even more exhaustive service. Multiple companies, one vision, many clients - after all, this is the key to understanding the transformation. Today, the group is made up of two companies: La Petroniana, with its headquarters in Bologna and the operative branch in Milan, and Petroniana Logistics, set up with the two partners Carlo Fancinelli and Paride Cinieri. A start-up that has already achieved a substantial result: the saving of local porterage cooperative Intercoser. “We work for medium and large businesses that require quality and flexibility as an added value, but we have decided to look beyond this: this is how the idea was born to help our clients further in the management of mechanical and electronic systems. After all, buildings must be managed by someone trustworthy, this is where we come in. Security is a very delicate matter today and it must be managed as best as possible. In addition to the in-house management of company warehouses, we deal with packaging loading and downloading: we have 150 people who follow clients all over the region», reports Guastafierro. Never stop, but always train. It may seem a slogan but, after all, all La Petroniana activities focuses on ongoing and transversal training. Because training actually plays an essential role in reaching the objectives and maintaining quality high. «The ongoing training programme involves the entire staff: one part is linked to cleaning activities and another to all other sectors. But the utmost attention is dedicated to safety at work. This is provided for all company figures involved and it is essential for us and for our clients. It’s at the base of our mutual trust,” concludes Guastafierro. There we have it - trust. That precious treasure made from the relationships that only enlightened companies can protect and improve over time.

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