Over the last 10 years GMP has developed and consolidated its position as an experienced manufacturer of rotary ironers with a strong focus on quality, reliability and innovative design.
The company was founded in 1946 by Rudi Giaon’s grandfather and originally made customised machines for industry automation, mainly serving the furniture sector, but in 1980 the company started designing and manufacturing ironers, the area where it now specialises.
Since then it has grown considerably and now has 30 employees including those in production.
To keep pace with this growth it now has two factories. The original factory in the headquarters is now mainly used for assembly and parts/machine stock, while the second, on a separate site, is dedicated to producing ironer components such as frames and chests. This is equipped with robots, which operate 24 hours, welding and polishing metallic parts. At the beginning of this year, the company installed a new milling machine to further improve the quality of its ironers, says Rudi Giaon.
He admits that in the early days the company thought more about costs but now quality is the prime consideration. All components are sourced in Europe and those that are specific to ironers are produced in-house.
GMP has also become known for innovative design and holds five patents on its ironer technology.
Realising the growth of the one-stop shop approach, Giaon widened the company’s range. In 2005 GMP started to distribute a range of washers and dryers under its own brand and then in 2009 strengthened its position by becoming the prime distributor in Italy for UniMac, part of the Alliance Laundry Systems brand portfolio.
The company is very proud of this achievement and its partnership with Alliance although GMP ironers remain its core product.
GMP has widened its scope in other ways. Driven to some extent by the weak economy in the Italian home market, it has sought out opportunities both in the wider European market and beyond including Africa, the Middle East and South America. Sales outside the Italian market now account for 87% of the company’s ironer sales.
Vera Simon, GMP’s export manager, says the company has done well over the last 3 – 4 years despite the problems with the global economy. The crisis even brought opportunities as customers began to recognise the long-term value of investing in a reliable product from a reliable manufacturer, rather than just choosing the cheapest deal.
She says the company worked hard to consolidate its position. It operated on a long-term strategy. Rudi Giaon spent a long time talking to customers, explaining the advantages of this approach and the problems that relying on short-term price cuts could bring.
With GMP, the customers would be assured of continuing support and service. Giaon admits that the company may have lost some margin in the
short-term but says that he wanted to retain the company’s good name by refusing to economise, even temporarily, on product quality and just as importantly by maintaining a high level of service. Of course, 2009 was a slow year for everybody but in 2010 GMP began to see its business grow again and the situation began to improve.
Its website reports that 2012 closed with excellent results marking a record year for the company. Sales volumes were up 13% on the previous year. In addition it consolidated its position in established markets and established new distributor networks in emerging markets with partners proactively choosing GMP. This success has led to more projects and by 2013 the company was able to increase its staff.
Simon says that the company would like to expand its export drive and this, in the main, is where the opportunities lie. In particular GMP wants to target markets in Asia and the far East.
It sees the Indian market, where at present it does occasional business, as one to watch for the future and as a base for further expansion.
However, the Italian market also offers GMP reasonable prospects in the regions still investing in tourism and more generally in the sectors that the company hasn’t yet approached. The company’s success in growing its sales has meant that it has been able to invest in developing its ironer ranges. Over the last 3 – 4 years GMP has focussed development on international exhibitions. At Texcare International in 2012 it introduced some innovations to the G-Line range of drying ironers.
These included the SKS system, which increases the performance of the largest G-Line ironer the G50, a, 500mm diameter machine.
A special extraction hood replaces the traditional steam extraction system. The hood removes the steam without dispersing the heat and thus saves energy. The extra wide extraction surface means that moisture evaporates quickly from the linen, allowing the ironer to operate at higher speeds to increase productivity.
Rudi Giaon says that the ability to develop both as a company and in terms of its range is a USP and he believes that GMP is always one or two steps ahead.
"We are working to expand the range for the future," he says and adds that such work will always be at the top end as this is where th