Glem Gas, the Italian cooking specialist, celebrates its sixtieth anniversary remembering with us the most important phases of its history.
Passion and experience are still the main strengths of a big player in cooking, Glem Gas, the Italian brand present today in 60 countries. Thanks to a mix of sophisticated skills and an always lively enthusiasm, the company has faced difficult moments and achieved important goals, as Marco Guerzoni, the marketing director, tells us in this interview.
In your history you have always remained faithful to your specialization in the manufacturing of cooking appliances. Have you been rewarded by this choice to preserve this core business?
We have always believed, as a company and as a brand, that the focusing is the winning element. In our 60 years of experience we have found confirmation in this: I believe and I think it will continue to be a winning choise also for the future, especially considering what is happening around us, I refer to the continuous aggregation and concentration, at all levels, among the generalist brands.
Thinking about your sixty years of activity, what are the main technological goals you have reached over time?
Over the years the product has been completely revised, updated and evolved. The product areas that have undergone more changes have been those of materials, of their processes of transformation and heat management systems. In short, the main benefit we offer today to our customers is the creation of models with more attention to detail in the finishes, more and more safer, more constant in cooking performance, with maximized use surfaces in spaces and optimized in ergonomics, more and more beautiful in style and less expensive in price.
What have been instead the commercial objectives?
Internationalization over all. We started from the Italian market, then thanks to the foresight of the founders, a clear vision and an incurable optimism we have successfully proposed ourselves abroad, without at the same time neglecting the Italian market, which remains our reference till today.
Understanding the potential of some areas of the world, Middle East, Australia to name a few, allowed us to grow steadily, diversifying the country risk at the same time. Another element has certainly been the focusing on long-term business partnerships.
By nature and corporate culture we have always established solid and lasting relationships with all our company partners. Today we boast several collaborations that have more than 50 years of history both in Italy and in the world. Truly a great family to be proud of.
How has the offer of your products been developed, from the first cookers to the present?
The width of range has always been a factor of differentiation, as Specialists in cooking®
we have always offered different solutions to meet every needs of our customer. Both in terms of size, type of cooking, aesthetics and range… The good Italian cooking is the perfect synthesis, as well as the claim of our next communication campaign, of how we want our product to be perceived and how our offer has always evolved in this sense.
Are there historical or recent products that you are most proud of?
The Indus cooker of the 60s, the model that made us known; Admiral in the 80s, the first model in semi-professional style; Magnifica in 2015, 120 cm wide with a single cavity oven, pioneering in style and functionality. Forza in 2019, a model born for North America with a strong connotation of design and performance. A super cooker!
Do you remember particularly critical moments during your activity?
We can say that for our skill and a bit of luck, the elements of crisis have always been dictated by factors external to the company. In 60 years of life the cyclical nature of the markets, the geopolitical and economic crises impacts have necessarily influenced and sometimes undermined our economic/financial results. Just to name a few, we can mention the first Gulf War in 1990, the global real estate/subprime crisis in 2008. By hearth I would say that even the 70s reserved us some nasty surprises.
How did you manage to overcome these moments?
By continuing to invest in us, in our brand, our processes and our organization. By continuing to believe and adapt our strategy, maintaining faith in the need to propose an offer to the market that must always be sustainable and, above all, in the firm conviction that we, and not the elusive market, must create our future.
Your products also pay great attention to design, as the mention of honor assigned to you by the ADI shows. What role does aesthetics play in a cooking appliance?
We are talking about furnishing elements that are protagonists in the kitchen, that in my opinion is the central place in the home and in the life of any family, being it big or small. For Glem Gas the product design is at user service and not vice versa. We are not interested in what is beauty but not functional. As mentioned, the daily experience of the user is the element to maximize for us. The Good Design Award received in Australia a short time ago cited just this as main reason.
How is the design of your appliances developed?
Inspirations come daily, the external contamination has a triggering role. We certainly take cue from the most advanced or pioneering sectors and the collaboration with our designers, Mauro Carlesi today, Marcello Cutino in a recent past, helps us a lot in this regard. Moreover, we never neglect our taste given by an experience of 60 years and sometimes we can push ourselves even in the provocation. Our mono-fire Origine is an example.
Yours is a story of Italian entrepreneurship, which has been able to keep up with the times, updating the production sites gradually. What are the strengths of your plants?
As said, investing is and will always be the key: product, production and resources must evolve in the right balance and synchrony. The challenge will continue to be to update our processes not only the productive ones, always investing new resources, both material and above all human.
What are your flagship products today? Would you like to describe the most requested ones in Italy and abroad?
Our reference models are certainly the FS 90cm wide cookers, with a semi-professional look, of which we can mention Matrix and Unica. Built-in is a segment that is giving us excellent satisfactions. There is no predominant aesthetic line, as there is so much choice in a product that typically follows the furnishing trends. In my personal taste, I find our Excellence line simple in its originality. I can also anticipate that in 2020 we will see several news coming both in the free-standing and in built-in segments. We have carried out the revision of every single part of our models with great commitment to make them better than the previous ones.
In how many countries are they distributed?
In 60 countries, a recurring number …
Through which distribution channels (furnishings, home appliances stores…)?
The distribution method reflects a run-in model. We go directly to both channel in Italy, France, Australia and Portugal, where our commercial branches are present, while the rest of the world is covered through importers/distributors, nothing but the classic 2-step distribution. Worldwide, the specialized channel is by size the most significant and consequently our distribution also follows this proportion. We also boast a considerable presence in the furniture maker channel, especially in Italy due to its importance and strategic role, especially in the Built-in segment. We do not want to exclude any possibility and obviously we are closely monitoring the on-line world, certainly a challenge for ours distribution partners and in general a change in the mode of sale for all.
What are the most critical issues you have found in the relationship with the distribution and in which areas, instead, have you managed to create the greatest synergies?
For years now, the specialized distribution has been heavily concentrated, especially in the more evolved markets. In this sector the high volumes logic, aimed to research or maintain certain turnovers, have found a double-edged sword in the tool of unbridled sales promotion that often has created strong distortions and loss of value throughout the channel. Our approach has been and will be that to create lasting relationships based on dedicated and sustainable trade policies over time. We do not believe, in fact, that selling for the unique purpose of the sale itself can be beneficial for anyone, but value is necessary. Unfortunately, there are still those who see a positive advantage in volume sales in the short term. For us, the opposite is true.
What does “Made-in-Italy” mean today and how can we defend and promote an Italian product?
The origin itself has never been very useful, we live in a land of culture, of passion for doing, for excelling and we must not forget this first of all. This spirit, this historical heritage to carry things forward, should be cultivated every day. How? Through the research of perfection, in acting to the best of one’s ability, in continuing to evolve because the next model will surely be the best ever. This is the key element of Made-in-Italy, that will be able to defend and continue to promote our products. This is the strong interpretation that we carry on in Glem Gas.
What characteristics must an appliance with this brand have?
Our brand promise, that drives every development and thought, is that each model offers the best experience of use in our interpretation of Italian style, the Glem Gas style. So the model must first respond to this promise without compromise.
Glem Gas operates according to an ethic code. Would you like to talk about it, illustrating activities and initiatives through which your company is engaged in areas such as social responsibility and environmental sustainability?
In ethical and moral terms I can say that we have always approached our own interlocutors confident of our convictions and possibilities but also well aware of our limits. To no level shortcuts have ever been facilitated nor unfair behavior towards our stakeholders. I think the longevity of our relationships derives mostly from this modus operandi.
In terms of social responsibility we are mainly active with associations linked to the territory who do their utmost to support those who, for various reasons, live in difficulty. I don’t mention names in particular, I don’t want to speculate about it or make me boast of a small contribution that, being a company deeply rooted and linked to the territory, we feel obliged to do.
The environmental sustainability area is a priority for us, I stress that our appliances require specific disposal but also allow to be completely recycled.
This area goes in the right direction to reach a “circular” economy as soon as possible, which makes of the used product a resource and not just a waste. In the area of processes our production plant at San Cesario (MO) has been already equipped for several years with a photovoltaic plant able, with a power of 1 MW, of producing and supplying 50% of our energy needs. A small important step in the right direction.
Other initiatives are currently being evaluated and implemented in our headquarters, from the differentiated collection to the elimination of plastic in our company canteen, others will follow.
One last question about the future of your sector: what role will gas and induction cooking have in the coming years? Do you believes that they will continue to live together or one of them will take the over?
The induction, thanks to the remarkable growth of the last few years, is now an established segment that will continue to take shares above all in the most mature and advanced markets, Europe especially. In my opinion it will completely replace first the vitroceramic hobs and will probably steal an important share to the gas Built-in hobs. But I am not convinced that it will completely take the over. The reason is given by yhe fact that, although the price of models will continue to decline for the obvious economies of scale generated by the higher sales volumes, the induction needs installed power (Kw) to work at the best and this is not always available and/or available at the same cost. Another aspect is that, cooking with induction is not as practical as with gas in my opinion. There will be those who love it but we will continue to have so many gas fans. I am the first.
That said, the Glem Gas range has been adapted to this need for some years and will continue to do so because, as Cooking Specialists, we surely don’t want to stay out of the game and indeed we believe that a “hybrid” logic between the two technologies can be the best for our users.