Stories from the sea
Let yourself be carried away by of the waves: the story of Beneteau, characterised by innovation and dreams.
We tend to think that high levels of investment in technology and innovation mean fewer jobs - essentially people replaced by machines. Cesare Mastroianni, vice president of Absolute Yachts and president of Absolute of Americas, addresses an issue that is also very relevant to the Nobili Rubinetterie manufacturing process, now highly advanced in terms of applied robotics.
What I’ve noticed in the industry I know best - the nautical sector - is that the new technologies require a more highly-qualified labour force, a higher level of remuneration and professional figures that once didn’t exist. The new technologies essentially replace inhuman and repetitive processes, favouring the employment of people with more professional characteristics. Increasing the level of technology means giving birth to a new generation of workers. A boat is a universe in which architecture, engineering, design, fashion, electronics and domotics interact to create the finished product. We are training engineers, architects, personnel with an expertise in domotics. This includes young people with little or no previous work experience. Then there’s the management aspect - in this case we’re looking for people with a bit more experience in the administration field who, for example, can prepare and analyse financial statements.
Established in 2002, in the province of Piacenza, Absolute Yachts is a close reflection of this cultural approach and mirrors the evolution of Nobili Rubinetterie. A constant commitment to investment led to the creation of a manufacturing facility that is truly advanced in terms of its environmental impact, with a geothermal system for air control that reduces risks for staff and raises the quality of life inside the buildings. There has also been great investment in raising automation levels, in research on materials and in pushing technology to the highest levels. This approach was needed to achieve two goals - to remain on top in the global competitive context and, as a result, to increase employment. The markets that are the focus of both companies (Nobili and Absolute Yachts), and which export to various countries worldwide, including the USA, Australia and Asia, demand a high level of quality. This is not just guaranteed by the quality of the product, but also by the ability to talk to those markets and satisfy specific requests.
Just like the company established by Carlo Nobili, Absolute Yachts has based its success on the concept of a family. When Marcello Bè and Sergio Maggi founded Absolute they decided to involve Angelo Gobbi, to provide continuity with the experience begun with him as logistics manager and as designer respectively. From that first step of recognising the value of tradition, they gave life to a company whose strategies were the opposite of most of the competition - every phase of the production process takes place in the Podenzano plant. Nothing is decentralised or outsourced. The ownership and company management are the same people, and their closeness to the production processes creates an agile, well-motivated organisation. Everybody - from the founders to the youngest employees - works towards the same objective, i.e. a product totally made in Italy of absolute quality. Hence the name Absolute.
In the space of fifteen years Absolute has been transformed from a small plant in Carpaneto to the modern facilities in Podenzano, a true landmark for this sector in Italy. Always with an eye on trends, they were among the first to understand that, in recent years, part of the market has moved to a more down-to-earth, less ostentatious and more enjoyable luxury. In response they designed Navetta 52 and Navetta 58, which are more modern and flexible compared to the super yachts. A boat is a special product, unique of its kind, explains Mastroianni. It requires very high expertise also at the sales and customer service stages. Dealers aren’t just people who sell - they are specialised, with specific knowledge.
This is why Nobili Rubinetterie is particularly proud of its partnership with Absolute Yachts, which has been using mixers from the Loop and New Road collections in the bathrooms of its prestigious craft. For the kitchens, on the other hand, it has chosen mixers with outstanding functional and ergonomic characteristics like a swivel spout and a pull-put spray attachment; or the new Acquerelli retractable sink, specifically designed for the nautical sector, which can retract into the worktop to optimise space and reduce hazards in the event of rough sea conditions.