Radical change for Acque Minerali d´Italia

Comprehensive restructuring from marketing to energy consumption

From before the coronavirus crisis, revenues at Acque Minerali d´Italia had halved. PETplanet insider spoke with the new CEO Alessandro Frondella, whose job it is to put this right. To do this, he is leaving no stone unturned – marketing, the team, customers, and technology. The energy consumption of the compressors was also checked.

Alessandro Frondella has been with Acque Minerali d´Italia (Ami) since mid-2021 and has recently been appointed CEO to take the company forward. With its 8 factories and 27 bottling lines, Ami is one of the largest bottlers in Italy. Shortly before the coronavirus crisis, sales fell from 1 billion litres to 0.5 billion litres. This year, Ami is aiming for 0.7 billion litres.

F.r.t.l: Alessandro Frondella, CEO of Ami and Marco Bassi, Italian Sales Manager for Food & Beverage Compressors of Siad Macchine Impianti

Alessandro’s task is to get Ami back on track. An analysis revealed that Ami sells 463 different products to around 1,000 customers. Alessandro wants to start by reducing the portfolio to around 270 products and the customer list by about 30%. The company will then focus on its three largest premium brands: Norda, Sangemini and Gaudianello, plus some local brands.

In terms of technology, Alessandro is dealing with structures that have been established in perhaps a haphazard fashion in the factories. Bottling lines with individual machines are just as likely to be found there as modular systems. Filling speeds vary from 10,000 to 50,000 bph. What they all have in common is the need for compressed air for stretch blowing.

Here, too, Alessandro has found a mix of machines of various ages from various suppliers. An analysis showed that producing 1,000 l of compressed air consumes between 23 and 48 kWh. The old 2-step compressors in particular, which first generate up to 7-10 bars of pressure then use a booster to increase this to the required 40 bars, have shown themselves to be energy guzzlers. In light of rocketing energy prices, Alessandro has decided on prompt action here. To carry out this strategic activity, he found in Siad Macchine Impianti, already an established supplier to Ami, where he developed a close cooperation with Marco Bassi, Italian Sales Manager for Food & Beverage Compressors.

Vito compressors installed at the Norda production site in Primaluna, Lecco, Italy

Based on the customers’ needs, Siad has created a product focused on sustainability and optimised for energy saving with complete service provision, their Vito Next. Alessandro says: “With the Vito compressors, we have simply constructed compressors that are easy to maintain, extremely energy efficient, and make only a minimum amount of noise and vibration. Full technical support is also fast and efficient.” Meanwhile, 6 Vitos are operating in the factories, 2 of which are from the new Vito Next range. In line with signed agreements, Siad’s software for the management of the entire compressor room will soon come into operation, which will allow Ami to optimise the production of compressed air and further increase efficiency and energy savings.

Alessandro’s highly detailed knowledge of all technical and managerial aspects of production, systems and machines is impressive. It is rare for a CEO to know so much about every last nut and bolt – but a quick glance at his CV makes it clear why this is the case. Over 15 years, Alessandro has worked his way up through all departments, from machine operator to general manager of one of the first Italian mineral spring water companies. He brings together a wealth of knowledge from the front line, which he can now put to very good use.

His primary concern however is the management structure. All the changes can only be implemented if they are dealt with by a team. Accordingly, Alessandro has built up appropriate structures in all of the eight factories. There are now organisation teams that are bringing the new ideas and radical changes to every nook and cranny of the workspace. Alessandro sees the predicament as a significant challenge. “The Italian water market is one of the most competitive markets in the world. Barely anyone can buy packaged water more cheaply than here, but consumers have understood that the price of water isn’t the only factor. So the goal is clear: concentration on premium brands with higher margins so that Ami can emerge once again in all its glory. We wish Ami every success.

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