We met Daniele Guidi, Guidi Srl’s Quality & Sustainability manager, at METStrade in Amsterdam, which ended a few days ago. After skipping its 2020 edition, the world’s largest B2B trade fair of marine equipment and accessories was back this year, at a time when the yachting industry is growing fast at a global level. The Grignasco (Novara)-based company made sure not to miss it, taking part in Italy’s collective exhibition area, organised by Confindustria Nautica, the Italian Marine Industry Association.
A Marine Equipment Trade Show, this year, arrived at a time of strong worldwide boating development.
We started our interview by asking Daniele Guidi to shortly introduce Press Mare’s readers to his company.
DG – For over fifty years we have produced bronze, brass, chrome-plated, nickel-plated, and aluminium accessories, non-stick valves, water intakes, thru-hull connections, water strainers and fittings for the boating industry, and not only.
PM – Let’s talk about the accessories that anyone buying a boat cannot see, but which are nonetheless important because they are technological and essential for the boat to work perfectly…
DG – Between the 1980s and 2014 we secured 13 patents. The first in the yachting world was obtained when my father decided to improve a water strainer that at that time was used by shipyards, but did not meet the needs of boat users. He therefore invented a water strainer with a metal body and a polycarbonate cover – a useful solution for recreational boating, as it helps the sailor understand whether the inner impurity gatherer is clean, with no need to remove the valve itself.
PM – You stepped into this sector to solve a problem…
DG – Resolving, simplifying and helping are still at the very heart of our approach to new products. In other words, increasing quality is the common denominator to everything we produce.
PM – Your company processes metal. What’s your stance with regard to environmental issues?
Since 1998 Guidi srl has been certified to ISO 14000 – a series of technical standards regulating environmental protection. We and RINA were among the very first to obtain this certification. Just as a reference, only Coca-Cola’s production plant in the Biella area could boast the same certification in those days.
Today, environmental protection remains a focal point in our activity. More recently, Guidi introduced LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), an analytical and systematic method that assesses the environmental footprint of a product or service along its entire lifecycle. Calculations range from the raw materials making up the product to production, from distribution to usage, all the way to final disposal, aiming at assessing the environmental impact of the product or service life cycle. We can rely on an LCA programme because we process metal and recycle it through our suppliers, who return it to us renewed after re-melting it.
We are partners of the Water Revolution Foundation, we also attended their courses on Sustainability and, more recently, we started considering submitting our processes for approval to have them included in the Foundation’s Sustainable Solutions Data Base.
PM – Who are your suppliers and how much of your products are you able to recycle?
DG – Our supply chain is 100% Italian and the products, including the spare parts, have a very long life: strainers (including the impurity gatherer), o-rings, non-stick valves, and fittings.
So, as far as the LCA is concerned, 98% of product components can be recycled. Recovering valves and related components is possible both through our internal supply chain and directly at the shipyards that use them. The only part that, de facto, cannot be recycled is the coating of the wedge closing the non-stick valve, which is in neoprene – a detail that is included in our latest patents for the non-stick system.
PM – Where are these valves installed on board a yacht?
DG – They are installed in the engine cooling water loops and in the toilets, and they are used for the gensets, in both yachting and naval applications.
PM – Geographically speaking, what is Guidi srl’s market?
Our products commercial distribution is 85% in the naval sector and 15% for civil and industrial applications (building sector, agriculture, forestry, swimming pools), equally divided over Italy (50%) and the rest of the world.
PM – How did you cope with the lockdown imposed by Covid-19 and what was its impact on company activities?
DG – In 2020, due to the Covid pandemic, our company closed for a month and a half. Those working from home were provided with the best technology available to be able to work remotely; we advanced wage subsidies, always did our best to maintain sustainability, and kept providing training – an activity that has always rewarded us through our employees’ loyalty.
PM – Companies are made of people; many often forget it…
DG – Our history has been made thanks to the contribution of people that have devoted much to our company. Two of them recently retired after serving Guidi for 40 years. Our staff also includes an increasing number of young people – new talents trained through 4.0 courses on new machinery. Lifelong training and refresher courses are provided to further develop the human capital our company can already rely on… Among newly-hired personnel, we have added a figure having skills comparable to those of a CFO. Moreover, by the end of this year we will complete the migration of our management system to a new platform interfaced with a CRM tool, to achieve a fully-integrated management of our clients and suppliers.
PM – What new products have you presented at the show?
DG – As regards research and the development of new products, our two latest valves were presented as a preview at the METS 2019. They were designed with the support of DITEN (DIpartimento TEcnica Navale – Naval Technology Department), a department of Genoa University’s School of Naval Engineering. We are also cooperating with DITEN/Unige as part of the study on the corrosion of metals.
PM – Considering the time we are going through, I simply have to ask a question on what is currently one of the most sensitive issues – raw materials procurement. How are things standing for your company right now?
DG – As far as raw materials are concerned, our historical suppliers are among the leading ones in the world, and we know where raw materials come from. Clearly, prices are booming at the moment, both for us who need to procure these raw materials, and for those who, in turn, buy from us. Guidi is in any case ensuring on-time deliveries, as we always have. Today, more than ever, the motto “those who deliver are those who win” rules.
Let’s conclude by mentioning, among Guidi srl’s new projects in 2021, the sponsorship of Andrea Fantini’s and Charles-Louis Mourruau’s Class40 GUIDI FRA 156. The two skippers are currently taking part in the Transat Jacques Vabre ocean regatta, which kicked off on Sunday 7 November from Le Havre and is the peak event in a very busy racing season that also saw the boat participating in the Les Sables/Horta/Les Sables and the Rolex Fastnet Race.
Filippo Ceragioli - PressMare November 29th, 2021