European Business: How did Autovictor’s specialization in lifting come about?
Alessandro Gino: Our company was founded in 1969 by my grandfather Vittorino, who started a car maintenance workshop. After a while he introduced roadside assistance services for cars and lorries, and in 1974 he bought his first crane. After that he invested in more lifting equipment, and in the end we left the car maintenance business and specialized in the lifting sector and special transport. My father Angelo expanded the business further. Our focus is on critical lifting in the petrochemical industry and in the renewable energy sector, for instance during the construction of wind farms.
European Business: What kind of equipment do you use and rent out?
Alessandro Gino: We have a fleet of 270 units in total and invested in particular machines and lifting equipment. Since 2015 we have bought three rather special machines to distinguish ourselves from our competition. This meant we could outperform and enable our clients to get their work done more easily and rapidly. The machine we bought in 2015 is the Liebherr LTM 1750 telescopic crane, which carries up to 800 t and was the very first of its kind in Italy. In 2016 we bought the Terex TC 800, which lifts up to 600 t. In 2018 we bought the Terex AC 500 truck mounted crane, that can lift up to 500 t.
European Business: What was Autovictor’s most complex project until now, and what is most difficult in general?
Alessandro Gino: In Italy we have clients in the petrochemical industry and work for major construction companies. The most complex and difficult project so far was wrapped up in August 2019. An Italian client has a paper production factory with a heliport on the roof, and due to earthquake-proof regulation it had to be renewed or removed. Our company verified the structure of the heliport, worked out a safety plan and organized a docking system for the lifting stage. We had to think through every tiny detail and hired a planner to verify the weight. This project took us one year, from the initial study up to the realization. In general, the greatest difficulty is to give our clients an answer as quickly as possible, while still being thorough and comprehensive.
European Business: How much of your turnover is realized abroad?
Alessandro Gino: Since 2015 we’ve managed to increase our turnover significantly, to about 13.5 million EUR at present. So far, our focus has been on the Italian market, but we would like to increase our activities abroad. Our export is more or less 10%, but varies over time. For instance, we contributed to two wind farms in mountainous areas in Bosnia and Croatia, with a total of 23 turbines. We took care of unloading the ships, transport to the designated area and the lifting itself, in a project that took seven months. We worked on a petrochemical plant in Libya and also completed projects in France and Martinique.
European Business: What issues do you consider besides your own calculations?
Alessandro Gino: The biggest issue in the petrochemical project we did in Wafa in Libya was the safety regulation. It was a project in the middle of the desert, where an air cooler for the main gas and petrol pumping station was assembled. This installation pushes the gas and petrol up to the coast. We spent four months on the preparation stage, plus forty days for the actual transfer. In this case we had to follow quite specific requirements that our client posed and had to adhere to themselves.
European Business: What is your business strategy?
Alessandro Gino: We consider our core business to give our clients a complete 360 degrees service. We think about everything, so that our clients can be assured we follow all regulations. We do not hold up anything unnecessary and enable our clients to finish their project within the deadline. When we started these activities, it was a new market. This meant we managed to gain experience before others did, and we were able to expand our company’s activities into civil engineering and the petrochemical sector as well.
European Business: What is your drive in working for Autovictor?
Alessandro Gino: I have been working for the company since 2007 and started from scratch. I worked in the technical drawings department, did inspections and analyses, before starting in project management. My drive is to always try and improve myself. We aim to expand our mutual expertise and continuously enhance our day-to-day operations. It is my passion and that of our employees that is crucial to our success. Our team of over 90 people is quite stable, and many people have been working for us for 25 years already. We also have an educational programme within our company that is recognized by the Italian state, so that we are able to train our clients. Regarding marketing, we present some reference projects on our website and use social media platforms. Mostly, however, our clients find us when they need specific equipment, or because they know what kind of complex jobs we are able to conduct.