Francesco Chinni, Sales Manager at VLS Technologies
We ask Francesco Chinni, Sales Manager at VLS Technologies, to give us his views on “making technology” at VLS, and what lessons has he gleaned from managing the relationship with customers and listening to their needs that can give us a glimpse today of where the company’s focus will be tomorrow.
Can you give us your view on the approach that characterizes VLS Technologies compared to your competitors?
There are several aspects that I believe make the difference. First, VLS Technologies is small enterprise which, in many cases, can be an advantage: in the face of competitors who “flex their muscles”, we have a flexible .. approach in tailoring our skills to our clients’ needs. Also, the technical aspects are most important, particularly for the commercial phase, because in most cases it’s precisely resolving these issues that sets the tone for the ongoing dialogue.
What are you most passionate about in your work, and when do you get the most satisfaction from it?
As a Sales Manager it would be natural for me to say that the sale is when I get the most satisfaction. Instead at VLS Technologies we work in an integrated way at all stages. So I’m actually only satisfied and proud when a colleague tells me: “hey, that customer said to thank you for involving him and looking after him at the initial stage because he’s really pleased with the solutions we’ve given him”. Only then do I feel I’ve thoroughly done my job.
So as you are the one who looks after customers from the outset, which main steps lead from the sales phase to the technology “start up”?
As a broad summary, we begin with a preliminary visit by a technical/sales representative to the customer’s premises. Then, back in the company, with the support of a Technical Manager, we carry out an in-depth analysis of the technical viability. We then develop a preliminary design and, after further checking by colleagues, prepare and submit an offer with price estimate to the customer. After an order is confirmed, in some cases a Technical Manager will make a second on-site visit to carry out all the appropriate checks and measurements before the final project gets under way. A lay-out design is created by our technical office and submitted to the customer’s approval. This is the basis for the detailed project developed by our technical office, which creates the construction drawings and draws up the Bill of Materials (BoM). When the materials arrive, production begins. At the same time, the activities begin for writing the customer’s User/Maintenance Manual. Once completed, the machinery is tested and prepared for shipping to the customer. In many cases, we also take on responsibility for on-site installation and commissioning.
Looking ahead, how do you see the future of VLS Technologies?
In the sectors of beer- and wine-making and of beverages in general, small-scale, high-quality production facilities are increasingly emerging. I see VLS Technologies as the natural partner of these companies.