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24/04/2014
DONADELLO WHEELS, EVOLVING IN THE NAME OF TRADITION

70 years of history and innovation

A family business quite peculiar in the industry landscape, the Padua-based distributor chooses a change of pace expanding its catalogue to include components of the whole wheel-brakes-suspension unit and expanding its horizon to an e-commerce ready to become the company’s image

 

Mino De Rigo

Always proudly focused on the wholesale marketing of wheels and rims,  Donadello Wheels is a market reality with an unusual profile.  A family business with a history that has its roots in the immediate post-war period, has been able to continuously innovate while remaining a landmark in Triveneto, with strongly distinctive features on which it built its fortune: great specialization and trust in customer retention policies as an indispensable way of conducting business. Thus, as the third generation of tire dealers, it was and still is the next door distributor, all-round state of the art consulting with vintage style, that has its roots at the time when the appearance was also, quite rightly, part of the substance. Today, in a rapidly changing environment, Donadello changes pace, taking a new strategic path. "We decided - says Sandro Zaffin, the company’s commercial manager - to expand outside the boundaries of the region, and at the same time to expand the portfolio of offerings: alongside our traditional products, you’ll find other components of the  wheel -brakes - suspension unit ". "We support tire dealer - echoes the marketing manager Ennio Martini - through the inevitable metamorphosis which sees the job of the tire fitter pure and simple destined to disappear."


Great customer care behind the B2b

 "Those who are still stalling will soon have to become familiar with light mechanical repairs, mastering every aspect in performing a pre-inspection test, because filling business downtime is  imperative. Soon we’ll have in our catalogue a range of TPMS ( pressure sensors ), wipers, batteries, brake pads, brake discs, filters, seals and other parts. " To extend its range of action, beside the exclusive rights already agreed with suppliers , the instrument chosen is e -commerce. A website recently redefined and especially a well tested B2b system, " which revolves around a program able to condense an enormous amount of catalogue information and data, relating to the critical aspects of various applications, including payload, nuts and bolts, alignment and so on, vital to the vehicle’s safety, as well as registration. "Using the web to develop the business beyond the Triveneto boundary is, for Donadello Wheels, more like a work of sowing: "We want to be known first - intervenes Zaffin – but we are also well aware that the results cannot be compared with the effect obtained by taking advantage of the strong local roots, where e-commerce has essentially acted as a facilitator, " providing the dealers with hi-tech tools to speed up and optimize the purchasing process. Customer consulting and depth of the range of products always available are recognized as the strength of the Padua based firm.


Computerized warehouse and wide choices                                          

"We take pride in a huge selection of products, ranging from quality steel and alloy wheels for cars , trucks and trailers, from winter to summer tires from 12" to 22" for cars, SUVs, ATVs , RVs and vans , all the way to racing models. But most especially a 2 thousand square meter space where we store over 10 thousand alloy and 15 thousand steel wheels  to satisfy the immediate demands of the vast majority of clients, guaranteeing delivery within 24 hours. "The warehouse was totally computerized in 2007, in connection with the change of venue (always in Limena, in the province of Padua) to have more space and a suitable and healthier working environment. More efficient warehouse logistics, a system of radio frequency coverage and cell location with barcode identification using palmtop devices. The company, that has  nearly 900 active clients and an annual turnover of approximately € 3.5 million, began to suffer from the difficult general economic situation only a couple of years ago: " In a short time - observes the marketing manager - the market has changed dramatically. If at one time the direct approach made ​​it possible to immediately close the order and it was simple to place new products, nowadays no one stores items anymore. Now we work, and gladly so , with orders of just 4 items. "It’s pointless to weigh down the customer especially in the light of the seasonality of the profession.

 

Presence in the field, consulting and training.

"And the risk is that profit margins would be low and the client stops ordering. We’ve been catering for the same customers for almost 70 years and we want to continue to do so for much longer. Therefore, we make our presence felt on the side of retailers not only with the three of us daily in the field, but also responding to various needs, both technical and commercia , of a legislative as well as fiscal nature. "With this in mind Donadello Wheels has plans to organize a series of training sessions that embrace, in many courses, new products and the current legislation ( the new rules on registration, however, are waiting for a legislative decree ) , in addition to sales techniques. "Paradoxically - includes Martini – lately our choice to focus on medium and high -end products has affected us negatively in a market flooded with goods of dubious quality. The new  law should open up new opportunities and technical training to help retailers to discriminate between products of different quality. Then, taking for granted competitive prices, standard of quality together with professionalism and service should guide the dealers in their choice of products. "Then, as far as  today's market, "you hear of signs of recovery, relating to truck wheels, after the collapse that brought sale levels back to the early 90s, and car wheels, with a positive trend mainly for products in the low-end car market. " Needless to say, we wait for further confirmation.

 


•  THREE GENERATIONS AND A WELL ROOTED COMPANY

 
Until 1989, his business card was an unmistakable red showcase in  Corso del Popolo in Padua , a few steps from the railway station and also from the bus station, then in Piazzale Boschetti . Strategically located as early as 1947 , when Romolo Donadello , who had started as a warehouseman for the wheel manufacturer Gianetti shortly after receiving the post of branch manager , decided to start his own business as a sales franchise. Thus, Donadello Wheels was born, developed trough the commitment and dedication of the son, Gianni, and now the granddaughters  Isabella and Paola . In the new Limena (near Padua) premises, a wheel from a Fiat Balilla and a Formula 1 rim next to the entrance, reminds of the firm’s corporate path marked by great success. A widespread presence throughout the region , and a range which now displays alloy wheels made by Mak, Tsw , Stilauto , Alutec , Ats and Sparco , Speedline alloy wheels for trucks  and trailers , and Mw Gianetti steel wheels (the last two product lines distributed only in Triveneto) . With 14 employees, the company from Padua annually sells about 40 thousand steel  and 30 thousand alloy wheels, with Mak and MW Gianetti brands representing over 80% of the business.

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