From Artisan furniture to industry 4.0

Interview with Pierluigi Caccaro

The history (and the future) of a made in Italy family-run company told by the second generation. By Elle Decor

From the opening of a furniture factory in 1958 to the future in version 4.0, passing through the reorganization of production facilities and the design of new communication tools: Caccaro is an Italian company that, from the beginning of its journey in design, designs and realizes furniture and systems in terms of functionality and maximum freedom of choice for the customer. Attention to people who have always been a distinctive feature of this important Venetian reality.

The family-run company is led today by Caccaro’s second generation, represented by the brothers Luigina, Maurizio, Roberto, Marilena and Pierluigi, narrator of this interview. An entrepreneurial choice that is part of the all-Italian tradition that characterizes the furniture sector, made up largely by family businesses, handed down from father to son, in which the human factor is the element that makes the difference.

Perfectly integrated into the industrial fabric of Made in Italy, Caccaro is based in Padua: it is therefore part, geographically, of a productive district of excellence - the Veneto one - that in the first semester of this year, speaking of furniture, has for the first time overtaken Lombardy becoming the main Italian exporter.

Aware of the fact that the quality of the product alone is a necessary condition but not sufficient to be (and remain) a successful brand in an increasingly competitive global market, Caccaro has, with timing and awareness, invested in the creation of new off line and online communication tools (for example a brand new website) and in its own development as a 4.0 company, adapting the production processes to the digital revolution. An important step, that has led to the optimization of time and warehouse management, radically changing the internal organization and making production "tailor-made", for each individual order, regardless of size.

The result is a new set-up in which the specific skills of the artisan work, that characterized the first phase of Caccaro's activity, are fully maintained and valued in an entrepreneurial perspective in which the word innovation rhymes with tradition. In particular as regards the ability to know (and satisfy) customers' expectations and wishes.

All done while maintaining high quality standards, with production processes that are outcome of the most advanced technology.

About this evolution of the company, whose history reflects the curious and adventurous DNA of a certain Italian business, we talked - to learn more - with the President Pierluigi Caccaro.

This year Caccaro celebrates its (first) 60 years. A second-generation company that has been able to preserve a distinctive DNA without ever following already traced roads. Which is the secret and what were the fundamental stages of this journey?

Our story begins with our father who in 1958 opened the "Mobilificio Caccaro" with the aim of creating high quality wooden furniture that combines beauty, functionality and durability. In this initial phase the company is heavily biased towards the sleeping area, the classic "Bedrooms", and has a decidedly artisan setting.

Since the 80s, my brothers Luigina, Maurizio, Roberto and Marilena and I, start our journey in a company that is beginning to change: it separates from the sleeping area, overcomes the traditional concept of "closet" and progressively focuses on containment systems.

Even the internal organization changes profoundly, Caccaro begins to embrace an industrial logic that never forgets the attention to the quality and enhancement of people.

The steps closer to us that led us to the new Freedhome project, our new system of great containment, were certainly the reorganization and expansion of our R&D department and the development of some product families that worked in a new way on the concept of containment and began to enhance the modularity that is at the base of Freedhome.

Finally, in 2019, the alignment process of all the production plants will be completed with a view to 4.0. This important investment will enable us to do even better what we have already worked so hard on: putting the customer at the center with his needs, leaving him with a degree of freedom in measurements and finishes unthinkable until some years ago. All this translated into the presentation of Freedhome at the Milan Salone del Mobile in 2018.

In addition to the revolution from the production point of view, Caccaro also faces a revolution from the communicative point of view. What's behind the new communication concept "Liberi di" (Free to)?

The new concept "Liberi di" comes from our new strategic marketing plan, born in 2017 following a market analysis that has affected the trends in the furniture industry and a qualitative research on customer sales points.

The concept of freedom contains the key points that have been at the basis of the conception and design of Freedhome the new system of great containment and that also represent the commitment we have made towards the final consumer and the point of sale: happiness, ease, personalization, beauty, tailor-made services, self-expression, functionality and much more.

Freedhome is the expression of this freedom that is clear from the name of our new system of great containment born from the union between Freed or liberated and Home.

Why did you decide to create Happy and Code, two new communication tools, this year?

Because we decided to tell the freedom offered by Freedhome with two coherent and different languages aimed at two different targets.

Happy looks to the final consumer and speaks the language of emotion and evocation, it wants to create identification and enter the house, or better, in two houses that make the most of the solutions offered by Freedhome for various domestic environments.

Code, however, is aimed at the point of sale and speaks the technical language of the employees in the sector. It addresses in a clear but extremely thorough and exhaustive way all the thousand facets that make Freedhome a unique solution on the market.

The union of these two instruments creates a rich and extremely "productive" communicative universe that will accompany us for a couple of years.

With Happy we decided to tell the stories of two houses and two families. We put the people and their way of living every day at the center of the advantages offered by our great containment system. This led to a photographic style that caused the product to recede to favor the real locations, not the perfection, sometimes a bit aseptic and unattainable, of the aspirational photos that populate the catalogs of the sector.

In Happy, the value of the narrative is great: the goal is to take the final consumer by the hand and let him feel the warmth of a furnished house.

Code, instead, is an indispensable work tool available to professionals. The logic is totally different: we start from the macroplus system and move on to the sequential treatment of the 6 families that make up Freedhome. Code unveils everything that lies behind the freedom, and the enormous potential of this system, highlighting the technological innovations, including the company's exclusive patents, that differentiate Caccaro from any other competitors.

Total opening and its application to corner modules, depth changes, doorways, terminal modules, technical modules for the bathroom and more: those who really want to offer something more and different to the final consumer, here will find bread for their teeth.

In Code the photographic style changes: the product and its details return to be protagonists even if the extremely elegant and effective styling deviates from what we have done in the past.

In both tools, the utmost attention was paid to the integration between online and offline. Both Happy and Code contain QR Codes that refer directly to short videos that explain, much better than a thousand words, the dynamics of functioning of some of the strengths of Freedhome.

Which are the values at the roots of Caccaro?

This great change we are experiencing starts from a belief that has always been with us: at the center there is always and in any case the person. From the new needs of a customer who is increasingly attentive to the value, not only monetary, of what he buys, Freedhome and its potential are born. From the need of the owners and sellers of the points of sale to have a valid support in their daily activity, Happy and Code are born. The union of the skills and experience of our work team all that we are is born.

Working with people means building day by day, year by year, lasting and transparent relationships that are nourished by mutual trust fueled by products that last over time and assistance that does not stop only at sales. Otherwise we would not be here after 60 years.

The durability of the product is also born from innovation to which we are always outstretched and open. An innovation that is never an end in itself but that solves real problems of the final consumer and that tries to find new solutions for a world in which the way of living changes.

All this is combined with a healthy ambition and the desire to always grow up to objectives that make us look to our future with confidence.

Which are your next goals?

First of all, we have to grow and give the right time to Freedhome that, starting this fall, will begin its development path accompanied by dedicated commercial and communication activities.

Attention to sales points in Italy and abroad is also very important. In this complex and hypercompetitive market the difference is made no more and not only by the product but also, and perhaps above all, by the quality service that can be provided to customers. Precisely for this reason we are working on a 2019 business plan able to guarantee the end customer a consistent product experience in all the touch points including the showrooms.

The other key element is the new Caccaro Flagship Store in Milan, inaugurated in Via Larga 23. The 2018 and 2019 will be dedicated to making the store a container of meanings and events, a point of reference for anyone, architect or consumer, entering for the first time in contact with the Caccaro world.

Finally, we set ourselves ambitious targets for the other two worlds that make up the Caccaro universe: the beds and the small containment.

I think that 2019 will still be full of many news ...