Thought leadership: AR Metallizing interview with Eurostampa

Thought leadership: AR Metallizing interview with Eurostampa

2020 has been unprecedented. The global outbreak of the Coronavirus has affected us all. Where service-based businesses have switched to remote working, for manufacturing industries like AR Metallizing, this hasn't been a possibility. Retaining staff on-site to run machinery has been crucial, especially so for those of us who have a part to play in manufacturing and delivering essential and consumable goods. 

There was no way to plan for a pandemic or the subsequent turmoil from the Coronavirus. That said, some companies have led the charge with how to deal with a new reality. Quick decision making, socially remote working, adaptation of working practices, dealing with a turbulent economy and, perhaps surprisingly, unexpected opportunities have defined the winners of the past few months. 

In a series of interviews with leaders in the industry, our CEO Bart Devos explores best practices, lessons learned and the innovative ways CEO's in the packaging, paper, converting and printing industry have tackled the crisis.


Eurostampa is a family-run company which produces labels for specialty products, the majority of which are top-end champagne, wine, spirits and food products. The firm is headquartered in Piedmont, Italy, and has plants in Mexico, the UK and France, as well as in Ohio and California, in the USA.

Two generations of the Cillario family run Eurostampa after founder Luciano Cillario started the business in 1966. Today, his sons, Gian Franco, Gianmario, Giuseppe e Luciano Cillario (from left to right) run the firm. Gian Franco is the company’s CEO and AR Metallizing’s CEO, Bart Devos interviewed him for this article.

(Picture was taken before the Coronavirus outbreak)


The pandemic was a challenging period for Eurostampa, who saw an overall drop in production by about a third. Most of the drop was attributable to the company's spirit section – Eurostampa’s spirit customers required less production during Italy’s lockdown.

Eurostampa also labels food goods (notably pasta sauces, olive oil and chocolate) and these saw an increase of 10% during social distancing.

Despite the slowdown in demand during the pandemic, Eurostampa's customers have moved quickly to order after social distancing measures were lifted. By September, Gian Franco Cillario expects order volume to be aligned with 2019 once again.


La famiglia Eurostampa
The Eurostampa family (Picture was taken before the Coronavirus outbreak)



Making decisions quickly was vital to keep the business moving in the challenging circumstances – especially in Italy. The management moved decisively to put new safety and hygiene measures in place as soon as the severity of the pandemic became apparent. 

Eurostampa completely changed the way they ran production and working conditions for their team. The firm continued to run three shifts a day, and they had a strategy to segregate shifts entirely, so there was no physical handover or overlap between employees. There was a half hour pause between every change of workers coming on-site, and the company introduced five new changing areas to ensure fewer people were gathering in a single space. Employees had to wear masks, and hygiene was an absolute priority. Different entrances and exits were also installed. Once a week, the whole factory is sanitized from top to bottom – a measure that continues today.

'These measures were important from a health and safety perspective, but they were also important for the wellbeing of our staff. We wanted to create a feeling of assurance and safety when they came to work. Part of doing that was to create an environment that felt clean and that we were taking the measures necessary to protect everyone as much as possible. We were very, very lucky, and believe that we haven't had any cases at our Italian plant so far,' says Gian Franco Cillario.

 During the pandemic, Eurostampa met all their orders on time, despite the critical situation. Another move was to recommit to service. 'We made service to our customers our absolute priority, and as a result, we were able to meet every demand on schedule,' says Cillario. 

Working smarter

Eurostampa moved to stop external visitors from coming to their plants early on during the outbreak. Suppliers, customers, and partners weren't able to visit their sites in a bid to ensure that risk was as limited as possible.

'Because having visitors come into the factories was no longer possible, we had to think outside the box and get smart about our standard processes that were usually handled in person. For our pricing checks, we'd always had our customers come into our sites and carry out a physical verification. To get around this, we set up some sophisticated video software, and we can now do the price checks online. We made sure the quality was great for the video so that customers could really get a proper look at the products. Both Eurostampa and our customers have been pleasantly surprised by how well the system worked and how convenient it was,' says Cillario.

Building better personal relationships over video 

Gian Franco Cillario is a firm believer in the power of professional relationships and being able to speak face-to-face with customers and suppliers to get the most out of partnerships. That said, technology and video conferencing are helping Eurostampa connect better with contacts that they can't meet in person. Videoconferencing is likely to form part of the group's communication strategy going forward, especially for partners located further away for whom visiting a Eurostampa factory is more time-consuming.

'In my opinion, nothing will ever replace the value of face-to-face meetings. To form better relationships and benefit from a more integrated supply chain, we have to be able to share information, understand the different needs of the supply chain and tackle challenges together. In-depth conversations with our customers and suppliers are central to this, and they are always best done in person. Videoconferencing isn't the perfect substitute for physical meetings, but when our clients are far away, or they can't visit our sites regularly, video will become a more integral part of our standard communication practices going forward. It will be a particularly important medium as we look to maintain even better communication in a world with less travel and potentially fewer meetings,' explains Cillario. 


Sustainability has arguably become more of a hot topic for consumers as a result of the pandemic than it was before. The general public partially drives the trend as the world witnessed firsthand the impact of any event that affects the global population: climate change now seems more urgent. Likewise, there appears to be more recognition of the power individuals hold collectively if they combine efforts to tackle and combat changing events.

'Sustainability has been a key topic for some time now. Brands are looking to move towards eco-friendly and recyclable materials for packaging, and we haven't seen any shift as a result of the pandemic to change our client's objectives in this respect. Sustainability remains a central part of our client's philosophy and values,' explains Cillario.

Industry consolidation and opportunity

So, what next for the packaging and labelling sector? 

Gian Franco Cillario believes there will be both consolidation and divestiture as a result of the pandemic. 'I think already we see that Private Equity firms are looking for opportunities and approaching the market quite strongly with a vision to consolidate players in the business. I absolutely think we will see companies merging as a result of how COVID has changed the economy.'

Cillario also urges caution, explaining that what looks like a perfect synergy on paper can be more challenging in reality. 'In our industry, exponential growth via acquisition can be very disruptive for a company, it's culture, for employees and for customers. It doesn't necessarily translate to lower costs or more value for the customer.'

Martine bottles


As well as acquisitions, Cillario also expects that there will be divestiture, with companies selling off unprofitable segments. He believes there will be opportunity for those taking them over to make the businesses efficient and profitable again with the right management and leadership.

In the current economic markets, Gian Franco Cillario explains that he believes that Eurostampa has an invaluable position: the firm has the perfect balance of a global footprint but is still a size that allows it to be easily managed. 'We're a family company, and our customers see that as a family, we are very engaged with the operations and running of the business. Our brand is recognized, and we also have a vision which is appreciated by the market and our customers. People know that these are the unique factors that Eurostampa bring to the table, and this presents added value for our customers.'

Bart Devos and Gian Franco Cillario during their video conference
Bart Devos and Gian Franco Cillario during their video conference