INSIDE THE WORKSHOP
Butler: Italy the frontline of development
New year and many new arrivals for the Reggio Emilia based company, starting with its balancers, renewing and extending agreements with workshop networks as well as car manufacturers and, most especially, new and great investments on the domestic market
Many irons in the fire, as far as both commercial and engineering development, alongside a commitment that has never been so strong on the domestic market. Butler aims at exploiting the currently changing economic conditions, which show a little light at the end of the recession’s tunnel and, with it, a national sector that is finally starting to breathe. Giovanni Ferrari, Sales Director of Butler automotive equipment, says: "The share of sales across the border now stands at nearly 95%: focusing on exports was, years ago, an obvious choice, due to a struggling domestic market. With the first signs of a change in the economic situation, accompanied by a recovery in new registrations and a positive outlook following the choices of the European Central Bank and the expected liquidity injection, here is the opportunity to strengthen our presence in Italy". So, as early as the end of last year, Butler has resumed investing in its commercial structure and national sales network. The stated aim is to double the current market penetration, bringing the share of business from 5% to 10% of the total turnover. "As part of an expected growth both abroad and in Italy, we aim to gain a greater domestic presence and market share. It is a requirement dictated by several factors. First, the need to expand the base of domestic users from which we receive useful information to improve and extend products and range in our portfolio. They are not only the closest in geographical terms, they also think like us".
A stronger commercial network
It helps to have a faster feedback when it comes to accelerating the development of new products, with a view to a constant improvement that the company considers part of its DNA. "It is all about - adds Ferrari – dealing successfully with the challenge coming from cross-border competition. Our main strength is represented by our speed and flexibility in responding to market changes." The domestic strategy is primarily based on strengthening its presence. "We have added a new area manager in our working group, and we are working at forming an external trade network in order to elevate skills and quality. Today we can count on many professional figures coming from this sector, all with a high level of training. And this is one reason that explains Butler’s positive trend from the last months of 2014 till now". Next step, new initiatives in terms of visibility. A van set up for travelling demonstrations, that Butler has decided to entrust to an expert, an automotive equipment specialist with a commercial vocation. Ferrari explains: "in this way we resumed regular on-site visits, as it was in the past, to allow current and potential customers to evaluate our products trying them directly, an opportunity that is much appreciated by customers". Another piece in the mosaic of the company’s strategic repositioning on the national market is represented by a great number of agreements made with tire manufacturers, aimed at supplying equipment to their POS networks. All in line with framework agreements that offer favorable conditions for members of a network who purchase Butler’s equipment, with extended warranties and a number of additional services.
Agreements and new approvals in the pipeline
"We compensate promotion prices through the good offices of the manufacturers towards their affiliates, which allow for rapid negotiations and reduced costs for our sales team". The same applies in an international context, as in the case of an agreement made with Hankook, which has included Butler’s wheel aligners in its catalog. As for car manufacturers, Butler continues to work on new contracts in addition to those already active with Mercedes, Porsche, BMW (for tire-changers), and Volvo (for the full range of car-equipment). “Furthermore, we are focusing on promotional campaigns – continues the Sales Director of Butler – made to suit every individual situation. Since the conditions of the Sicilian market are not the same as in Friuli, there is a need to act in different ways, always in a context of common guidelines throughout the country". A further chapter, just as relevant in the context of the company's strategies on both national and international markets, is the development and growth of the product range. "While we have adjusted our distribution activities to the fragmentation of a sector that nowadays sees a clientele made up also by dealers and independent garages, we have also significantly expanded our portfolio of products".
A complete and articulated range
Since 2007, when Butler, still a one-product company was acquired by the Samiro group, a great change has occurred, currently positioning the company not only at the top-end of the tire changer’s market, but also in a more intermediate position, and, above all, currently including in the catalog a line of top-class wheel balancers. “The new range of wheel balancers - says Ferrari – measures up, in terms of performance, to our tire changers. Now we are ready for the next step and in May, at Autopromotec, we will exhibit our pride and joy, a top class wheel balancer". Among the new products that Butler will display at the upcoming international fair there is a new tire changer for trucks and a rapid 3D diagnostic system for wheel alignment, to be used when a vehicle enters a workshop. Thanks to the synergies between the four companies of the Samiro group and the three development centers (lifts in Bologna, alignments and inspection lines in Turin, tire changers and wheel balancers in Rolo), Butler can boast a complete range of products. "Currently we operate in seventy countries. In the old continent, Spain is giving us the greatest satisfaction as well as Eastern Europe, where business is going well. In the United States, we have started to grow significantly and now, with an advantageous euro-dollar exchange, we expect a further boost. Even in North Africa (particularly in Morocco) and China, we are far more competitive. In Italy we have developed a complete production cycle, and this choice, which helped us through the most difficult period, today gives us a competitive edge".
BUTLER’S NEW ARRIVALS UNVEILED AT AUTOPROMOTEC
A trio of innovative products ready to be launched by Butler during the next Autopromotec Fair in Bologna. First, the Navigator 51.15 EI tire changer for trucks: an evolution of its predecessor, with a new spindle unit and above all a hydraulic control system with a more gradual aerial arm compared to the previous system. It provides for great working speed besides totally automatic moving, rotating and lifting tools. Designed also to simplify dismounting operations on larger wheels. It can deal with rims ranging from 11" to 56" and wheels with diameters up to 255 cm and 150 cm in width, has a stand-by system and can be equipped with an inverter to act as a tire-groover. For rapid vehicle diagnosis during acceptance, the company proposes a 3D Quick Control unit, a versatile system that can quickly measure camber and toe; the operator can decide whether to proceed with the overall inspection of the alignment by moving the detectors, which are first placed on the ground and then, through special supports, to the car lift. At the top of the Butler range of wheel-balancers, we find the Librak Top, touch screen model that automatically reads the wheel dimensions: diameter, width and rim contour by laser and ultrasound systems. It automatically detects the number of wheel spokes behind which the weights must be positioned.