The Rupp Report: Itema Still Going Strong

Last week, Italy-based Itema — the largest privately-owned manufacturer of weaving machines, spare parts and integrated services — welcomed some selected customers and media people for a press conference. At that time, the company announced its financial results for the first half of 2015, reporting that the result was beyond its own expectations. At the same meeting, the company officially launched a new terry weaving machine, the R9500terry, and inaugurated its new training center, the ItemaCampus.
Positive Results
“We are in the sixth semester in a row of a constant and robust growth with a CAGR of 13 percent, said Carlo Rogora, CEO, Itema Group. “I can assure you that our financial background is solid. Our manufacturing facilities are excellent,” he said. Over the past few years, Rogora implemented a drastic reshaping and lean manufacturing implementation at the production facilities at Colzate, and it seems to have worked out well. Rogora mentioned that Itema’s employees are motivated: “Our innovations and R&D twin departments are very active. We want to go beyond our customer’s needs and expectations. I can say that the results speak for themselves.”
Seventeen-Percent More Sales
In the first six months of the year, Itema sold 17-percent more weaving machines compared to the same period the year before. Group turnover from weaving machines increased by 24 percent, and the consolidated turnover — including Spare Parts and other Company transactions — increased by 20 percent on a year-to-year basis. Since the addition of Carlo Rogora in 2012, Itema has continuously grown up, more than doubling the volumes of textile machines sold worldwide. “However, we are anything but a company just in search of volumes,” Rogora said. “We improved considerably our financial indicators, once again exceeding expectations with both EBITDA and EBT up by more than 20 percent on a year-to-year basis with a solid Cash Flow production, month by month. To produce value for our customers and for the stakeholders; this is our commitment.”
Increased Productivity And Flexibility
The company is still pushing its investments and process improvements as part of the mentioned lean manufacturing program. And, according to Rogora, the results are positive. “The boost in productivity and increased flexibility is amazing,” he said. We are now more quick and leaner than ever and it really makes a difference, both in terms of response times and the company’s bottom line.”
Another output of these activities is the recent time-to-market of new Itema weaving machines; this has dropped from more than 24 months for previous models to less than 12 months for the latest arrival, the R9500terry. The new loom was presented in a series of events in July and September entitled “Weaving Terry Like Never Before” to a select panel of worldwide customers. At its headquarters near Bergamo, Italy, some of the most experienced and top-class terry weavers and media attended the event. Rogora claims that virtually all top companies weaving terry towels around the globe are his customers. And since the launch of the new terry weaving machine, already some 100 fixed orders have been placed.
ITMA Exhibits
At ITMA, Itema will present, along with the new R9500terry, five other weaving machines in its own booth, but also some more in partner booths, both rapier and airjets.
All of them are said to present new solutions, devices and applications for specific and increasingly demanding expectations. This includes the latest evolution of the rapier, which will be mounted on most of the R9500 weaving machines. The new rapier weaving machine R9500 2.0 — available both for guided and free-flight applications — claims to represent unique solutions in terms of weaving flexibility, and is said to cover the full range of weft types. Furthermore, it should reduce considerably weft stops, increase the efficiency and boost productivity, according to Itema.
“With the R9500 2.0, we want to reconfirm our technological leadership in the rapier insertion technology,” Rogora claims. “We think that today the approach of a highly evolved negative rapier to be the best solution for weavers thanks to less complexity, lower costs, higher durability and easier maintenance. Last but not least, with much higher performances.”
High Hopes
Itema has high hopes for the upcoming ITMA and beyond. “However, even if the order portfolio looks still quite robust, the outlook for the rest of the year remains uncertain,” Rogora said. “Along with the continuing, and in some cases worsening, political instabilities in some areas, recent economic struggles in China caused significant changes in our Customers attitude on investments, and this is not only in China.” And he thinks that the future, even in the short term is difficult to predict.
On the occasion of the R9500terry launch, the company opened its doors to present the ItemaCampus, the new, next-generation training center. The initial concept is to render the training center more functional for its customers. Itema started with that in mind, but ended up with a major and complete overhaul of its visitors’ facilities. “We are very proud to launch an open and modern space with a campus feeling,” Rogora said with Italian enthusiasm. “We want everyone visiting us to feel instantly welcome and leave our premises with a richer, more meaningful and comprehensive experience feeling and getting in touch with the ‘Itema Essence.’”
The new and enhanced facilities are especially useful for the busy times ahead, as the company is taking bookings for customer visits before, during and after the biggest show of the year, ITMA in Milan.
Rogora pointed out the short ride from the ITMA fair ground to visit the campus can offer the opportunity to see first-hand the expertise and the full range. “This is important because we will only show some of the weaving machines only at the company’s show room in Colzate,” Rogora said. “We will show some of our latest rapier and air-jet weaving machines in a wide range of weaving applications. However, we couldn’t bring everything to the ITMA. Therefore some innovative weaving machines can only be seen and touched at our HQ.”
The Rupp Report will further report on the new campus in one of the next columns.
Itema is located in Hall 1, Booth A101.

September 21, 2015