On 7th February we visited the company Stahlbau Pichler which is specialized in the production of steel structures and aluminum façades, what allows them to offer the full service of producing the whole envelope of a building. The main production headquarter is in Bolzano and we went there to take a tour through the company and to find out more about their activity. Mr. Markus Walder, Brand Marketer at Pichler, made a guided tour in English about the company, showing us round the headquarter and giving us an insight in this international and prestigious South Tyrolean company.
At first, we looked at the production of the steel structures. There they explained us that the steel they are using is made of 99% recycled material and they showed us some of the pieces they are currently working on. After that we could also look at the place where the aluminum façades were made. The main task of this section is to enclose the windows in aluminum frames in order to integrate them into the façade of the building. The raw materials, such as the steel and the aluminum are bought from retailers and when they arrive every material is carefully checked to make sure that the quality corresponds to their standards.
Next, we had a look at the offices: There is the administration, the accounting, the legal office, the human resources, the project managers, the sales and the marketing department and the technical office, which is one of the most important departments. Around 40 technical drawers and engineers work in the technical office and their task consists in making detailed 3D plans of the projects before they go into production. Also, the office of Walter Pichler, one of the owners of the company who works as an architect, is located in this building. This is an advantage for the company because thanks to him they can understand how architects think and this helps them in the collaboration with other architects. Sometimes the company and Walter Pichler have worked together to realize a project which has been designed by him.
At the end of our tour, Mr. Walder talked about the history of the company and how it is performing right now. The company was founded 40 years ago by the brothers Ferdinand and Walter Pichler. At first the company had its seat in Eggental but then they moved to Bolzano because they realized that they couldn’t grow bigger if they stayed there. Now the company counts about 250 employees and not only operates in South Tyrol but also has sales offices in Switzerland, Milan, New York, Tunis and Moscow. Their total turnover is about 100 Mio € and 50% of it is made on a national level, 25% in the rest of Europe and 10-15% in other countries like New York and Moscow.
Because they operate on different markets and levels (industrial/office buildings, bridges...) they have no USP (unique selling proposition) like most other companies, but they offer a wide range of different products and services. Another difference compared to other companies is that they don’t produce on stock but just on demand and that they only deliver their products if they are needed on site in order to save place. Every product is especially made for a certain project and this is the reason why every piece they produce is unique and there is no standard product.
As for marketing, the company pays particular attention on publishing high quality photos and videos showing the finished projects. They use different social media to advertise themselves, some of them are Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and archilovers. They use them because they are a very successful and reasonably affordable advertising medium.
For the future they decided to change their name from “Stahlbau Pichler” to “Pichler”, and also their logo will become a different one. As far as expansion is concerned, they are very interested in the Arab market, but these are only observations, no concrete steps have yet been taken in this direction since a new market must first be examined very carefully before one can begin to appear on it. Their basic strategy, however, is not to open a new market every year, but to find out more about the markets that have already been opened and to strengthen their position there.
Mara Mück (5B-WS)