Article: Balma, Capoduri combines history and technology
| 18 December, 2015
Increasing end user demand for design-led stationery has resulted in innovative product launches, such as the ZENNITH 548E Tricolour in the colours of the Italian flag.
Balma, Capoduri has always remained loyal to its roots and still manufactures from its original location in Voghera, which dates back to 1924. Continous invesment in the latest technology has resulted in significant changes over the years, but ZENITH and Coccoina products continue to be conceived and manufactured in-house at the company’s headquarters. The most recent improvements concerning production include further automation to increase efficiency and reduce labour costs.
As an Italian manufacturer, Balma Capoduri has focused on high quality and over the years has made respect for the environment a fundamental part of its ethos. “With our production standards, we cannot operate in the so-called mass-market, so we address mainly professional customers who appreciate the unique characteristics of our products and how they are manufactured,” says Aldo Balma. “Keep in mind that all our products are tested piece by piece, not randomly, before the final packaging. For a number of years the packaging of ZENITH articles highlights a ‘life-guarantee for manufacturing defects’. This helps us reward customers who demonstrate their trust in our products.”
Increasing demand for innovative design
Aldo Balma adds that over the last few years the company has responded to end user demand for more novelty in terms of design and colour. For example, the recent Big Buyer exhibition in Bologna saw the launch of ref. 548/E Pastel, which brings a more original design and colour compared to a traditional stapler. It also has a special display for points of sale. However, product innovation always takes place while remaining true to what Balma, Capoduri refers to as its original vocation: quality products in terms of reliability and performance that give no problems to those who use them.
The first ZENITH staplers were launched back in 1926 and followed in 1927 by Coccoina office glue. Ninety years later, Aldo Balma explains that the two brands continue to be top sellers: “Our best sold articles are without doubt the ZENITH staplers and wire staples along with the Coccoina glues, particularly the glue sticks. Some models, such as the ZENITH 590/15 and ZENITH 548/E Tricolour, have been re-launched with new colours during 2015 and have proved to be very popular with end users. We also successfully introduced the new ZENITH Fermangoli corner clips, which are paper clips produced in an innovative triangular shape and made from stainless steel. Thanks to their inclined side of 60° they keep sheets firmly in place while allowing the pages to turn easily. The Coccoina trademark has also performed strongly, boosted by the introduction of the new vinyl glue “Coccoina mia” that comes in a special little tube. Coccoina has been further developed with the introduction of a brand new line of complementary paper products, including notepads and notebooks. Again, we have received very positive feedback.”
Achieving success in a digital world
Outside of the new product sphere, Balma, Capoduri has several marketing campaigns planned for 2016, directed both at trade and consumers. These will combine the use of traditional media with social networks and websites which have recently been upgraded to achieve a deeper presence in these new communication channels.
So, as a traditional stationery manufacturer, how does Balma, Capoduri see its future in an increasingly digital workplace? “It is difficult to say for certain what developments there will be in a world like ours, where paper has such an important role, notwithstanding the adoption of the new digital systems,” explains Aldo Balma. “It is true that some uses of the paper have disappeared or are disappearing, but others are born and are to an extent replacing the losses. There is the whole world of the do-it-yourself and hobbies for example, which is developing and consolidating. The demand in our sector has also been affected by a general economic crisis that began in 2008, from which the world is probably emerging only now. However, in some countries we are seeing positive signs of recovery. In addition to the markets where we are traditionally present, we have also developed sales in many countries in the Far East. This shows that strong design and well-made products can still be a guarantee of success.”