Italian speciality paper and self-adhesives giant, Fedrigoni, has existed for over 130 years and runs multiple paper mills across the…

Italian speciality paper and self-adhesives giant, Fedrigoni, has existed for over 130 years and runs multiple paper mills across the country. The historically family-owned company saw a new page of its life begin in 2018 with the entry of private equity fund, Bain Capital, which acquired the majority of the share capital. Under the leadership of new CEO, Marco Nespolo, and an 80% renewed leadership team, the group has experienced impressive growth over the last four years, both organically and through 11 M&As. 

The company then embarked on a profound transformation journey, defining a new long-term strategy based on five pillars: the evolution of an increasingly premium products portfolio, the creation of even more exclusive yet personalised customer relationships, operational excellence in production and procurement processes, an enlightened and innovative roadmap to attract and develop talents, an ambitious acquisition plan and, at the core, a new commitment to sustainability topics. The latter touches on environmental, social and governance themes, with a clear 2030 agenda that pervasively involves all areas of the group. 

Alessandro Gaiati, CPO, has worked in procurement for 25 years, beginning as a trainee at Electrolux. Eventually, Gaiati was ready to take everything he’d learnt somewhere new, and Fedrigoni aligned perfectly with what he wanted to achieve next. It was a business without a procurement function to speak of, and he was ready to grasp the challenge of that with both hands.

A shift in procurement

“I had a deep understanding of our strategy, simply because I’d been part of it since the beginning,” Gaiati explains. “It was clear that procurement required a functional reset. The transformation here started with discussions around how procurement at Fedrigoni should look now and in two-to-three years’ time, and from the ground-up we started redefining the mission and vision for that function specifically. It was a real greenfield situation for procurement at that time. Prior to 2019, it was purely transactional with limited strategic perspective.”

For this team of leaders, an exciting future awaited. In the last three years, Fedrigoni has changed more than half of the procurement team in order to bring in people with the right skills from various industries, who can tackle a major change. Gaiati is open about the fact that procurement in the past – at Fedrigoni but also more generally – has been a little old-fashioned in its approach, following a mainly transactional and opportunistic framework with suppliers. Additionally, supplier management was limited, but much has changed during the beginning of this journey.

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