We have just undertaken a huge project in Italy for a UK client, it took over 12 months of planning and the last few months were 24/7. We had over 30 local suppliers involved, over 7 very diverse spaces serving a client that wanted local services where possible for both sustainability reasons and costs.
Our brief to help find suitable suppliers started in May 2021 and in the journey to the event day in June this year, we experienced, supplier bankruptcies, supplier indifference to the project but also found some amazing suppliers to bolster our ever growing supply chain here in Italy. Its not the job I want to talk about, but the Italian event supply chain .
We have been finding suppliers for clients in Italy since 2013 and we have experienced being a foreign company in a country that closes ranks very quickly. As the corporate and music worlds are not as over run with suppliers as they maybe in other countries you have to be selective as to who you approach. They will undoubtedly be linked if they are a large company and they will shut you down and out, if they don’t want you to be doing business there.
It makes for a very strange working experience where things are not always at face value. You would expect price and availability to be the key drivers of a project, especially now, but they are most definitely not.
Its difficult to put a finger on it, but the Italian fiery nature in business relationships has a large part to play, and I have seen this in meetings, on site and even on benign site visits. For a cold blooded Anglo Saxon, seeing someone kick off over solvable issues is strange, as it can be resolved, but that doesn’t stop the outbursts. This can lead to people walking off projects and therefore not being used again.
Even if its not outbursts it could be the deeply entrenched resolve to not work with a company from the south of Italy, because infrastructure, especially for the corporate market and lots of qualified people are simply not there in the numbers there are in the north. The South has long been looked down on as unpredictable and lawless. Madness! I have not found that to be true, but the mistrust will lead companies to ask for northern companies to fulfil southern roles. This doesn’t translate so much to the Rock and Roll world, as Italy has an abundance of companies to serve all your touring needs, but the corporate world, definitely.
Then you have the size of the market. The corporate market here is very small, there are some big players supplying to the market but not for instance in the volume you would get in the UK, where every city has its own corporate supply chain. This can lead to reduced choice the further south you go and the corporate market not being as well provided for.
As a note though, the Exhibition world here is huge and every town has its own exhibition halls on the outskirts of town and plenty of suppliers here to fill it.
As I say, its difficult to put your figure on it, but its worth remembering there are suppliers around for all aspects of work here, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they will work with you!
In the many business lunches, I have had here, the supplier will assess not only your ability to eat three courses of Pasta to try all the local dishes, but also whether they would like to work with you. It’s the same in many cultures as you will know, but coming from the UK where if the phone rings and the money is there on time, you do the job, it’s very different.
I am sure my Italian colleagues will have an opinion on this point of view, so lets see!!
So that’s what we are here for, based in the North near Milan, we can also easily access many cities including Rome, Verona, Bologna and Florence with our supply chain. We can help you navigate the many unknowns and get you a local team that understands all the above better than we ever could.
We are currently sourcing a carpenter team for a client in Milan for the incredibly busy exhibition market here and sourcing suppliers for a project in September in Rome. If you are thinking of researching a space or need a pre site visit doing, we can facilitate that too.
Its always worth a call to us whatever your needs as we will happily put you in touch with people who can help you better than we can for your specific project.