When we screen the lighting market, we are often willing to meet specific requirements. “Production of lamps Veneto” is surely a search key reflecting what we are looking for, but it is undoubtedly a reductive and too general locution to evaluate the goodness of a company. A person looking for new lighting ideas, is not only interested in new products but also in a set of conditions aimed at improving her/his shopping experience. Quality and design of the lamps are certainly the primary criteria by which we select a company rather than another. However, there are others that help to ponder the pros and cons of a choice that increasingly involves everyone’ sensibility to understand the value of a product.
Sustainability, innovation, reliability and business organization, as well as the relationships, are more and more part and parcel of each purchaser’s expectations. As prospective clients, we are used to looking for valuable items making a difference and where we can recognize ourselves. So, we inquire about flexibility, energy saving and raw materials, after-sales services that make our life easier, the respect of workers and of gender equality. A resiliente and efficient company demands specific conditions, a lot of pieces that together make a bigger picture: the client’s satisfaction.
The role of the relationships
Elesi Luce, a designer lamp manufacturer, has decided to invest in sport, in young people and in its territory recently. This new alliance offers consistent hints with the company’s vision to tell how the relationships play a key role inside the whole business organization.
We asked Silvia Betteto, who runs the company with her dad Maurizio and her sister Elena, some questions.
We are family
Elesi Luce decided to become a Treviso Volley ‘s sponsor that plays in Serie B. Treviso team’s motto is WE ARE FAMILY.
To what extent do you feel in tune with this utterance?
“Elesi Luce is a family-run company that applies some features of being a family in its activities: a confidential relationship with its collaborators, sharing people’s important moments, the willingness to help each-other and the familiarity to ask for help. In a family, you support and help each-other to achieve serenity and grow up. In a company or in a team, you support and help each-other to feel good and to achieve the goals.
One of our keywords is sharing: we celebrate the birthdays in office, extra-work personal aims all together; we exchange 360-degree tips and information”.
Supporting Treviso Volley means to be close to young people engaging in the community: through sport, the guys can learn those values that will train the women and the men of the future.
Which are the teachings that you, as a company, would like to convey to the future generations?
“Sport prepares for life in many respects. First of all, we need to listen and understand what our natural ‘gifts’ are, what we can easily and casually do to choose the most suitable sport (as well a school and a job) for our own inclinations. Then training perseverance takes over: no champion has come from nothing. The outcomes must be built step by step. I do not mean that the outcomes are achieved by sacrifice, because if you really like something, it is not a sacrifice to commit with energy and determination.
Moreover, there is the relational aspect with the trainer, the team and the teammates; there is a team in the individual sports too. We need to learn to interact with people in charge of teaching in a constructive way, to learn to accept the corrections, to contest politely if needed, to build up a collaborative relationship with the teammates, be always available to the team even if we start on as a substitute. We learn that day by day, because commitment and constancy are the best ways to get the best results”.
An aspect that unites teamwork and teambuilding is the necessity to set the roles in order to define the boundaries, the rights and duties of each player/worker.
Does Elesi follow this principle too when it assigns tasks?
“Each player has her/his own role, but she/he has to know her/his teammates’ role too. Specialisation allows each to be able to give her/his best, but it is essential not to lose sight of what is going on around us. We need to be well integrated into the group to perform our role at best and to succeed in playing in the best way. If receiving the ball, the latter is precisely sent to the setter, she/he will able to pass properly the ball to the spiker.
It works in the same way in a company too, because each collaborator’s output is the input of the collaborator in charge of the following task. As a result, each person has to be trained according to her/his specific role related to the others’
Communication and problem solving
Communication is a central dimension in any team sports, because it contributes to the clarity of purpose, along with the resolution of some natural setbacks.
Does Elesi Luce feel strong in this regard? How can you cope with mishaps?
“The best ideas are used to coming from a confrontation with people with different visions and sensibilities. For instance, when you make a new lamp model, you need to put together technical, commercial and management skills so that everything will perform at its best. We cope with setbacks in the same way: we try to solve the issue quickly and we always wonder about the causes.
The contingencies give the opportunity to analyse your own weaknesses in order to change them into strengths. As in volleyball, when a team gets a low percentage of points in attack, the key thing is to wonder about the causes and later to train in order to improve”.
Becoming a sponsor of a Veneto team confirms the importance that the company attributes to the territory, whose history and culture are Elesi Luce’s strength. In fact, your suppliers are also based in Padua, Treviso and Venice.
Can we compare the partnership with the local artisans to teamwork?
“The business development is strongly linked to the territory that has developed an important know-how in some specific sectors, such as lighting, metalworking, glass and ceramic working, because of its culture and history. Our mission is to make this know-how keep on increasing in the
territory. A real risk is that we will not build the skills locally any longer and we will lose them by relocating the production operations abroad, as a lot of companies have done since the Nineties. Just think of the glass and the metalworking industries, of the difficulties to hire qualified personnel.
The suppliers are important partners for the business development. I remember that there were issues to acquire PMMA in mid-2020 because the demand rocketed due to Covid: on that occasion, a loyal supplier called us to know how many slabs he had to store in the warehouse to be able to ensure our current production and so to be able to ensure the deliveries of our lamps.”
Networking for high ideals
Elesi Luce belongs to an even bigger team: Rete Luce in Veneto.
Thanks to this partnership, Elesi took part in Dohmo’s project, where the first house equipped with assistive domotics technology was made, designed to make people with disabilities independent.
It really was the case that you teamed up to grow up together. The advanced domotics is the future of lighting and Elesi wanted to take part in.
“That is true: unity is strength. Inside Luce in Veneto consortium, we are mostly small-size enterprises, even micro if compared to many international businesses. Teaming up allows us to attend fairs, international ones too, sharing the expenses and it enables us to make innovation taking parts in research projects in aggregation. Within the Network, we have found companies with complementary products and we collaborate on complex projects with them. Moreover, the organizational structure of the Network supports the companies in many activities, such as regulatory updates, product certifications, training and networking”.
The parallelism between sport and teamwork leads us to another widely used analogy, that is the one between a trainer and a company manager. You can not become a champion without an effective leadership.
What are the aspects to take into consideration for a good leadership?
“The trainer’s main task is to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of each member of the team to correctly balance the team assigning the proper role to each. Moreover, it is necessary to provide the conditions in order that each person can give her/his best and can strengthen her/his weaknesses. There is not just one trainer’s style, as well as a manager’s one. In order to be efficient, you need to be consistent and to be yourself, without copying others’ style. You do not invent neither the trainer role or the manager one: you need to be prepared, to know the field in order to be able to be authoritative too.
An authoritative person knows what she/he speaks about and she/he naturally becomes an important point of reference. Communicating to your own team in a clear and effective way is surely essential, because it helps to motivate people to stay in relationship. We need to be able to say “well done” or “way to go” in the light of the outcomes achieved. It is a form of appreciation for the job done, the efforts invested, a gratification”.
TEAMWORK AS A WORK METHOD
There are a lot of former trainers that deliver leadership lessons, because we are speaking about managing a team, both in sport and at work. Silvia Betteto proposes us Julio Velasco’s words in this regard:
“It is crucial to have a clear difference between a group and a team, because we tend to confuse these two words very often. A group does things together, but a team needs clear goals, aware ways of interacting and established roles that have to be accepted and developed. Establishing the roles, the tasks linked to these roles and the relationships among them: the idea of a team is based on that. It is not enough “to pull to the same side”, as in tug of war, to build a team, that one would be a poor team.
The teamwork – the master trainer highlights – is a work method, not the only one possible, but it is a method with its own rules and that method has to be aware too. We have to know how we want to play, both when things go well and when they go wrong. If things go wrong, do we look for the problems or for the responsible? If there is this aware method of playing, then the mistake will be a part of the learning process and not an example of guilt, as unfortunately it often happens”.
Deal with changes
Let’s talk about resilience. Being able to accept changes is a quite recurring topic in the world of sport, and in particular in the volleyball one. Andrea Zorzi, a former Italian volleyball player, (nicknamed Zorro) talked about that in an interview:
“A company never rests, even less the market environment, but it is essential not to resist. They upset the volleyball rules in 1998: no longer side-out, the introduction of an apparently useless role, il libero, and the possibility to play with the feet too. I did not like them at all, but we had to commit in order to make the most in this new context. The Italians succeeded in, differently from the Russians, much more reluctant to change”.
How does Elesi Luce express its ability to deal with the market changes?
“As a company, we start from the assumption that a human being is naturally predisposed towards change. Just think of life stages, from adulthood to a gradual aging. Anyway, the human psyche is often reluctant to change because stability provides security, change can create uncertainty. As a company, we know that each transition has opportunities and pitfalls, we need to take them in the right way!”
Players need athletic preparation to get ready for a race and to do their best during a performance.
Is this Elesi’s secret to meet the future?
“A revolution has involved our sector for 20 years, a revolution that is still ongoing: the LED lighting and the light control technology. Elesi Luce catalogued its first LED collection in 2007 and it patented a modular single- tube LED system in 2011. We were not caught unprepared! Along with the product side, there is also the organisational one: the company has been ISO 9001 certified since 2006 and we have been giving a boost to digitalization both of the information and the processes for five years. We bought an automated warehouse interconnected with the management system in 2020. Everything keeping a strong craft imprint of the product and of the enterprise.
We coined the term Led Change System 3 years ago to identify eco-design solutions that enable an easy replacement of the inbuilt LED. To achieve this result, we had started 2 years before. That means the company already had the sustainability of the product as a goal five years ago. You can not improvise a change; you have to prepare it carefully”.
In a previous interview, Maurizio Betteto, Elesi Luce’s founder, highlighted the competitive streak characterizing him:
“I chose lighting because it has a fair degree of creativity, it has a good technological content and, mainly, because I have eventually had a change to face the competitors, not only with the production output but with the quality of the ideas too, where I feel comfortable”. Any sport or activity you practise, it is undoubtful that competitiveness is the driving force to do your best.
Is the will still strong to stand out from others for excelling, after 26 years of business?
“We have succeeded in developing our own style over the years, something belonging to us. I remember a client who said to me: “I can recognize our lamps straight-away”. It was a great compliment. Our products reflect our own enterprising style, our vision of light and living.
In 2021 catalogue, we wanted to write: “We like to think that the people who purchase our products also share our idea of light”. That is true. We should not focus on others for excelling, it is more useful to analyse ourselves, our inclinations and skills, because uniqueness is in each of us”.
Victories and defeats are parts of the game. For a company, the biggest triumph is the achievement of the set goals, that results in significant benefits, such as the growth of team motivation and the increase of customer trust. The external recognition represents an important company breakthrough too
What trophies has Elesi Luce lifted up proudly?
“At the local level, we lifted up 4 Venetian Smart Lighting Awards, 1 with Pois in 2019, 2 with Iconic e Morse in 2021, 1 with Alba in 2022. Being part of ADI Design Index 2022 catalogue was a kind of selection for the national team: there are a lot of candidates but few are shortlisted. A big emotion. This selection made us increase our awareness that we can compete to lift up trophies in bigger and more complex competitions”.
Design the future
In volleyball, it is essential to focus on the present and to concentrate on “here and now” in order to be ready to receive what occurs during a match, being able to manage the current stress and pressure.
The lighting world is constantly evolving instead, and it makes the companies as Elesi Luce design the future in line with the market.
What challenges will make Elesi Luce play a key role in the sector?
“Actually, in volleyball, you need to read in advance the opposing team’s moves: there are some quite hardly noticeable signs that make people with a trained eye understand which moves will be played and which ones avoided. Picking up these signs allows the players to position themselves correctly in their own court increasing the possibilities of a successful counterattack. In entrepreneurial activity too, we need to read the signs of the present in order to plan the future scenarios.
The first challenge of the year is the return to Euroluce, inside Salone del Mobile, a fair that is restarting its activity after the interruption due to Covid. Euroluce is a reference fair for the lighting design and we have a lot to tell after this long break. We drew 3 new collections on this occasion: Plettro, Bianca e Medusa”.
THE LIGHT CULTURE
Silvia Betteto ends this interview focusing on an Elesi Luce’s key topic. “Another challenge that the company has set as a goal is to contribute to the dissemination of the light culture. The sharp acceleration of the sector has created a gap between the industry specialists and the users; this means that who proposes or purchases the product does not fully perceive the quality of it, its features and its technological content. By the way, we can only talk about a lighting market: the interior one, then there are many more specialisations such as street , industrial and medical lighting, just to name a few. We have already started writing articles on our website and arranging meetings with architects, but it is only the beginning”.
An interesting interview that tells Elesi Luce’s reality, able to team up and to develop with its stakeholders. To learn more about the collections and to get much more useful information on this Venetian
company, Treviso Volley’s sponsor, visit its website.