Gianluca Fantacci
president of the toolmaker group

Article by Luca Rossetti published in the magazine Xylon maggio-giugno 2020

A few months ago, before the storm that swept the world, the assembly of the Acimall Tool Group chose the new president, appointing Gianluca Fantacci of G3 Fantacci in Poggibonsi, near Siena.

The “pre-virus” scenario already seems so far away. The past weeks were so hard and intense that each day seemed to last one week, sometimes one month. I had all the time to think about my new role, the reasons why I accepted it, what I would like to share and do. Let me add that there were not so many candidates running for presidency – Fantacci added with a smile – mostly because, I think, it has never been easy in the past to translate the value of people, of the “supporters” of this group, into significant initiatives. For instance, I knew this organization, I attended the meetings but – just like all my colleagues – I always had a feeling we could, we should do more.

Italian tools represent expertise, quality and services appreciated all over the world, although they originate from a highly segmented and fragmented economic system. The first question we all should answer is why we do not join forces.

Don’t you think it’s high time we changed our attitude? Why not officially create a network that already exists, find a formula that preserves the independence of each player but helps us become better entrepreneurs, develop our businesses, strengthen our presence in the territories where we live and work?”. Is this the reason why you accepted?

“Yes. I believe that we have to change the world and we have to do that in all the areas where we operate, at least we have to try. I did not pick the best moment: after a difficult economic period, we had to face the Coronavirus crisis, and after months of efforts and too much pain, we still don’t know where we are going. I would like to get recognition for the values of Italian tools, everyone should know we are there, and all our member companies can work together to the benefit of everyone”.

Mr President, you mentioned international competition…

“We are confronted with big companies getting ever bigger, countries that produce more and more each day, and with better and better quality. If we remain small and do not join forces, it will not take long for our competitors to swallow us. An industrial system made up of small companies cannot be successful forever; making good quality tools for neighborhood customers or offering quick deliveries is no longer enough, even if you supply a customer-specific milling tool within the next day.

This is certainly an undisputable value, but it should fit into a much wider industrial vision. It’s not a secret that at least 50 percent of Italian tools production currently goes to export. Over the years, tools have changed a lot: production has diversified, automation has increased and there are more and more financial challenges. You need to invest in research, and not only to sell”.

Are you prisoners in your own home?

“Maybe. And I also have to talk about the relationship we must build with equipment manufacturers, this is essential to develop new tools and new solutions, so that the machine-tool combination can keep the promise.

In Tuscany, we have good relations with manufacturers, although it’s basically a customer supplier relationship, nothing more. We help each other with no preferential relationship, although I know that someone has taken a different direction, aiming to be more “self-sufficient”.

You see, one of my objectives as Tool Group president is to encourage each member company to be more involved, this is the first of three key points submitted at the latest assembly. We have to realize that union makes strength and that we cannot wait any longer. We also have to drive the digital transformation of our companies. The third point is to increase and improve the collaboration with machinery manufacturers, creating meeting and communication opportunities to show them what we can offer”.

Mr President, where do we start from?

“From a vision of the future and from experience. My company has eighteen employees and 2.5 million revenues approximately, mostly generated by sales of products made in our own factory. We work a lot on the phone, via Skype, with chats, we have employees who can speak many languages. We specialize in planing and chair production, but in recent years we have become more and more “generalist”. This is what I am, what we are. We have made huge efforts to keep this company healthy and lively. Now it’s time for new paradigms: each company must merge their story into a bigger dream. We must do that!”

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