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Gabriele Merlo: ‘No workers are infected’

The coronavirus crisis is affecting the lives and businesses of many in the global recycling scene. ‘Fortunately, we are still able to ship and deliver equipment,’ says Gabriele Merlo, ceo of Italy based shear manufacturer Vezzani.   

How are you Gabriele?

‘Compared to what thousands of people in my country are going through, we are doing OK. Luckily, so far none of our workers has been infected. Vezzani’s headquarters is located in Ovada, south Piemonte, at a relatively safe distance from Italy’s coronavirus epicentre in the Lombardy region.’

What does your working day look like at the moment?

‘Italy is in complete lock-down. Since mid-March, Vezzani’s production facility has been shut down by government order, so manufacturing has come to a standstill. All staff are working from home, including our engineers, which enables us to continue doing design work and remote servicing. For me, too, home has become the working place. No more travel, no more trade shows. My laptop and phone are the only connection to the outside world. My wife and our five-year old son are around me 24/7. We are not allowed to go out except for our daily groceries.’

What has been the impact on your business?

‘Orders are still in place and we are still able to ship and deliver equipment. One of our machines is out on transport as we speak on its way to a customer in the Middle East. Obviously, due to this crisis we are seeing slight delays but nothing dramatic: two, three weeks at the most. Our customers understand the challenges we are all facing right now.’

What impact do you expect in the longer term?

‘I am optimistic. Vezzani is a strong company; privately-owned and with enough liquidity. True, these are extremely challenging times for everybody in the business. But we have seen and overcome other crises in the past. For a healthy and solid business there will always be a future.’   

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