Innovation, internationalisation and skill development are all in the pipeline at Coopservice. The Italian integrated solutions specialist boasts a global workforce of more than 19,000, a reported turnover of €783 million, and a presence in countries such as India, Brazil and Turkey.
But as CEO Emil Anceschi tells The CEO Magazine, “Those who stay still are destined to lose the race,” and he has no intention of allowing Coopservice to be overtaken as a current market leader.
Emil Anceschi relishes the opportunity to enact change
Emil was heading top logistics cooperative Transcoop when he was made privy to the challenge confronting Coopservice. “The business plan drawn up for the 2012–14 three-year period provided for a structural reorganisation that involved abandoning the division-based model for greater integration of the different service lines, so as to achieve new and higher levels of efficiency,” he explains.
“This was a real challenge that I wanted to take on so that I could be one of the key players in this important change of strategy. I think I can say that the dream of every CEO is to have the possibility of entering a big company such as Coopservice precisely at a time of organisational change that leaves plenty of scope for managerial initiative,” he continues.
When you are on your bicycle, you must cycle on, otherwise you will fall.
“What convinced me to come on board was the opportunity to be the guiding force of this organisational change and to be able to contribute, along with all of the management team, to the development of a new business concept and, in this way, leave my mark.”
Coopservice's restructure proves fruitful
He has certainly done that. Improving turnover by more than 20 per cent over a five-year period is a wonderful result in any context, but particularly impressive when you consider Italy’s difficult economic and employment climate in recent years.
“These numbers have been achieved thanks to the adoption of effective organisational and commercial strategies from 2012 to today, allowing Coopservice to get through the crisis intact and to strengthen its position in its reference markets,” he says proudly.
“It was also a crucial step to bundle the commercial departments into a single unit under my direct management. This has enabled us to further develop our ability to approach the client–supplier relationship from the point of view of a real partnership, in order to offer our clients personalised services.”
Now that the organisational restructure has been completed, Emil has turned his attention to developing a new point of difference for the company that provides a wide range of services that stretch from cleaning, goods handling, and the management of special waste, to security, and property and energy management.
High quality, innovative & sustainable services
And despite the nation’s crisis heaping pressure on operating margins, he says cutting prices is not the answer. “We believe that competitiveness based solely on price is a huge mistake.
“We’re well aware that our prices are not the lowest, and that’s why we offer services that are high quality, innovative and sustainable. We’re convinced that not all our clients necessarily prefer the lowest possible price, because they understand that this approach not only compromises on quality but has a significant effect on other aspects such as environmental sustainability, ethics and transparency.”
Which brings us back to the pipeline. “Reducing environmental impact is a hugely topical issue, and to do this we need to invest in skills development and innovation,” Emil says.
“Improving skills is the only way to provide workers with the means to face and overcome the challenges of a world that is rapidly transforming. Innovation, on the other hand, has to become an inherent part of every strategy and relates not only to equipment and technological tools but also to processes and methodologies.”
Expanding into Spain & Eastern Europe
Expanding Coopservice’s global footprint is also high on Emil’s agenda. “Internationalisation is another challenge we intend to take on board. We already operate in a host of countries, particularly with sterilisation and wash-hire services for hospitals, but we have an integrated solutions model that can be easily exported to neighbouring countries, so we’re looking at Spain and eastern Europe.”
And after that, who knows? But you can be sure that Emil and his management team will be pedalling like they’re at the front of the Giro d’Italia peloton, climbing the Dolomites. As Emil explains, “When you are on your bicycle, you must cycle on, otherwise you will fall. You have to keep moving in order to maintain your balance.”