Industry Spotlight: Interview with Massimo Santambrogio
Massimo Santambrogio is the CEO of Gruppo Millepiani, one of Europe’s most outstanding manufacturers of design led elevators. The company has, for the past two decades, raised the bar (and the floor) for some of Italy’s most prestigious private homes and places of work, and is endorsed by Giorgio Armani as “the best of genuineness made in Italy”. We thought we’d find out what makes him tick.
Hi Massimo! Could you share three words to describe yourself ?
Let me see. I would say; secure, optimistic, and without doubt – ambitious.
You have been in the business for over twenty years. What has changed in the past two decades?
This is a very complicated question and requires deep reflection. Not only has the world of work changed, but the world itself is a very different place today. The last decade has completely changed how we work; I believe the real problem lies in that that we are witnessing a phenomenon of globalization that is causing de-professionalization of work at all levels.
Customers demand more than ever before. Digital technology has dramatically changed both the way of working and the need for more immediate response times. I remember when I started working, we would received requests for quotations by fax. We would put a considered and detailed response together over the next 2 or 3 weeks. Then delivery of standard lifts might take around 16 weeks. And I do not speak of 1800 but 1991! Today’s client wants the offer in one or two days for bespoke installations, and in real time for the standard ones: and the delivery of standard lifts in less than 4 weeks. Years ago the work used to be planned and scheduled months in advance, today we are living for the day with a frenzy that just a few years ago would have been unimaginable. Essentially today we work much, much more.
What is the most exciting part of your job?
My job is to help my employees find the best way to achieve our common goals. I encourage the teams that work by my side to work with passion and total dedication. I am at their side, and they in turn are at the customer’s side, bringing those same values of passion and dedication to the customer. It’s more than just a job. This is the main activity, but the most exciting part comes from the unimaginable challenges; the project propositions that no one accepts and that we proudly deliver through our expertise and experience.
Do you have any one project that you are the most proud of?
Throughout our history we have supported a number of prestigious installations for many clients, including the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia and Mr. Giorgio Armani, alongside many others. I get great satisfaction when clients open a new shop, a new airport or a hotel with our installations inside; But I get just as much happiness from the simple words of thanks from an old lady who is now able to move easily around her home again. It makes a big difference to the families of those with serious mobility issues to be able to get them out and about, even as far as the garden. These little things are very important to me. I’m also proud of the fact that we have never had a single dissatisfied customer of our work, anywhere in the world. So really, it’s not one single project. I like to think that best one will be the next, the one we have not realized yet.
we have never had a single dissatisfied customer of our work, anywhere in the world
What do you do for pleasure?
Work, work and work! I don’t mind, my work is my passion. I also like doing physical work with my hands. I like the land, and I like farmer’s work. I love to cook, and I really enjoy being able to use ingredients at home in the kitchen that we have hand grown or reared ourselves.
Can you describe a typical day at work?
If I do not have any travel commitments, I start work after having brought my daughters to school. From that moment on, the rhythm is tight until the evening. However, I like to start the day with a visit to each department. If I can I will visit the teams in production, mechanical, electrical, technical and commercial departments, and the administration. I want to feel like the employees can count on me.
What is the last book you read?
Between work and family, I haven’t much time to read. I might get a chance to read in the summer holidays and the last book I read then was “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman.
What is the secret to Gruppo Millepiani’s continued success?
On this question I have no doubt. There is no coincidence, and it’s not a secret, is the fruit of our commitment, our passion, all of us, from first to last. We are a young team, with a great desire to do and to grow. We are flexible, we have a high level of knowledge. We are constantly evolving, and striving to improve.
There are two quotes from famous people that I often share at the Millepiani Group, the first is from J.V.Goethe:
“There is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.“
The another one is from Steve Jobs:
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
CEO – Chief Executive Officer