May last year saw the advent of the Boucherie-Borghi Group, much to the surprise of everyone in our industry. The first anniversary of the merger meanwhile being a fact, we thought it was a good opportunity to try to get a feeling for what the merger meant both in Italy and Belgium and to talk to both Enzo Ferrari and Bart Boucherie jr.

The announcement of the merger was certainly “breaking news” for the market. But how was the merger perceived internally?

Enzo: The answer can be very short and clear: as fantastic news. I believe Bart will agree. Right from the beginning we saw a great enthusiasm on the floor. People were eager to get to know their new colleagues, they were interested in who was working on what and –of course- interested in how! The pride about our technologies and our performance is very high and is an excellent motivator for the integration. The timing of the merger, two years before the Freiburg Show in 2016, was ideal to immediately start with some common projects.

Bart: Yes, and to satisfy this curiosity and to stimulate cooperation on both sides, we started organizing workshops, alternatingly in Italy and in Flanders where our teams could meet to share information e.g. on projects they are each working on. As such, our technical teams get together on a regular basis to brainstorm together on a certain technical issue or on a method of working, and very similarly so do our sales and purchasing people etc.

Another surprise, was the agreement with the start-up company V-Air. Why this step, while you are probably still in an integration modus for the big merger?

Bart: We can only repeat that the integration of Boucherie-Borghi has been very smooth and has become an automatic process, based on mutual respect. There simply is respect: for each other’s products, performance and especially people. So the merger on itself is of course no barrier for further development. We meanwhile know that joining forces can give a boost, creates a special dynamic and synergy

that we have to take advantage of, and that’s why we are open to good projects. V-Air has a very promising technology in the field of anchorless toothbrushes, and although the company itself may be a start-up company, the people behind it have a lot of experience in their field.

Bart Boucherie jr. (left) and Enzo Ferrari (right) in the Boucherie assembly hall

The purpose is not only to integrate the V-Air products in the Boucherie-Borghi sales and service network but very much to further develop V-Air’s technology and –together with our R&D people- bring it to new heights.

Mergers are mostly the announcement of big reorganizations. How far are you in that process?

Enzo: If you refer to re-organizations in terms of downsizing, de-localizing or other big movements, these were of course never on the agenda. On the contrary, we have seen a substantial increase in turnover in most all our departments and neither Boucherie nor Borghi had any problems keeping its teams on board. The only challenge we had, was the administrative and legal roll-out of the merger, but as we all know, such things can’t be forced.

Some changes in the way Boucherie-Borghi handles sales and service around the world have become obvious to the customers. Any changes inside the Boucherie and Borghi sites themselves you want to comment on?

Enzo: Well, as Bart already indicated we have now established intense and frequent contact and information exchange procedures between our two sites.

The Board members of the Boucherie-Borghi Group (from left to right): Enzo Ferrari, Bart Boucherie jr., Dirk Clarysse and Paolo Roversi

The installation of professional video-conferencing systems at both locations has helped a great deal in realizing this. In a similar fashion a unification program has been started in view of a common CAD and PLM platform in the near future.

Bart: In Izegem we continued to invest in our machining area. We are just adding some machining centers to our production as well as installing special robotics on our milling machines. Similarly some of our measuring and EDM equipment is being replaced with latest technology types. Most visible perhaps will be the completion by the end of this year of our new conference and reception area at the Ambachtenstraat assembly facility.

Last year, Bart, you promised to learn Italian. Well Enzo, what’s Bart’s score for Italian?

Enzo: I think that Bart has not been a really good student so far, although he knows already all the words I wished he wouldn’t. His knowledge of Italian food and the Italian wines has improved a lot… But what I do hold for very important is that we have been able to develop a very amicable, family style way of working together. Whether this is expressed in Flemish, English or Italian, does not really matter to us. In the frequent meetings we have with one another, we experience a good atmosphere which has become very obvious for everyone in our organizations. In fact, we see the same holding true on most all levels in our companies.

Anything you want to share about the upcoming Interbrush Show in April 2016?

Enzo: Of course, this show will be the first one in which we jointly participate and I know expectations are high. You see, Boucherie and Borghi will be there together but each with the teams and people our customers have been used to for many, many years. Both Borghi and Boucherie customers should be feeling “at home” in our booth as they did before our merger. There will be “Boucherie” things and there will be “Borghi” things. We each have our heritage of which we are both very proud. There is no need for an Italian wine that tastes like Belgian beer or vice versa. There is no need for Castelfranco tortellini with Belgian endives or –heaven forbid!- Brussels sprouts.

But, on the other hand, of course, when top-chefs work together for a few years, new dishes are created. I am convinced that our customers will be very surprised to see some of the projects our “chefs” have been working on together. What do you think, Bart? Did I say too much? Do you want to add anything?

Bart: Not really, except that I do like sprouts. Seriously, I agree with Enzo. Customers will see “Boucherie” and they will see “Borghi”, but they will definitely see “Boucherie + Borghi”.

After one year of being together what would be the most important advice you would give to any other business people who are considering a merger?

Enzo and Bart: Have respect for one another!

 

 


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