What does De'Longhi with $1.7 billion in revenues and 7,100 employees
do? Manufactures a slew of household appliances including microwaves,
portable heaters, air conditioners, irons, espresso machines,
blenders. I'm a few miles from Treviso's city center (population
100,000) and the rain is coming down pretty hard as I turn onto
a side street. Being so close to downtown I'm not sure if I'm
going to find the head office for De'Longhi next to a factory
or in a stand-alone building. My question is quickly answered
as I come upon a large factory complex. I know it's the right
place thanks to a large street level
sign emblazoned with the De'Longhi name. Thankfully there's
a large overhang at the guard booth so I can dismount and check
in with the guard without getting drenched.
The guard hands me the phone with Valentina Zanetti, CEO Fabio
De'Longhi's secretary, on the other end. I explain sending a
letter of introduction along with several news clippings a month
earlier to CEO De'Longhi. The helpful Zanetti says they never
received the letter but, it's not a problem as she'll find someone
to meet with me. The guard, who speaks little English, points
to a nearby four-story building and says to go to the first entrance.
The rain has subsided to a drizzle as I make a dash for the building.
(*Note--due to the rain the picture that accompanies this story
is a side shot of the head office). There's nobody inside the
first entrance so I continue to the other building entrance.
Three women are busy and it doesn't look like they're set-up
to receive visitors. I stand around for a good 10 minutes before
one of the women receives a phone call and then comes over and
points me back to the other entrance. CEO De'Longhi's secretary
is waiting by the door and I figure out what happened-- this
entrance is part of a brand new addition of the building with
the other being the old main entrance.
Roberto Ceschin, Group Human Resources and Organization Director,
ends up being the one answering my questions. Including the factory
and head office, a total of 900 people work here. Employee parking
is free and plentiful, smoking isn't allowed in offices, there're
no onsite recreational facilities and, there's no formal dress
code. Management and workers eat together in the partially subsidized
cafeteria. How's the food? Ceschin says its "good".
The nearest freeway lies about a mile away with the nearest airport
(Venice) 25 miles. Any unusual employee perks? Employees enjoy
special prices on company products-10 to 20 percent off.
While Ceschin and I were sitting in a meeting room going through
the questions there's a knock on the door and CEO De'Longhi pops
in. He had seen my letter of introduction and wanted to meet
me. During the conversation I ask if the company does business
in the United States and De'Longhi answers, "yes" and
goes on to ask if I'm familiar with Starbucks. "Of course",
I answer. Well, CEO De'Longhi says Starbucks has De'Longhi espresso
machines in their stores. Wow, though I'm not a coffee drinker
that has to be quite an endorsement for De'Longhi products. I
tell CEO De'Longhi that I visited the Seattle headquarters of
Starbucks way back in 1994 when they had revenues of $154 million
and only 200 retail outlets. Now, revenues total almost $7 billion
and the number of Starbucks outlets number 10,000. (Click
to read Starbucks visit).
CEO De'Longhi occupies a middle office on the top floor. There's
a family picture on his desk but, the walls are bare and that
probably has more to do with the fact he hasn't finished moving
into the new office judging from the stacked boxes on the floor.
What's the view when he looks out the window? The factory next
Company website: www.delonghi.com