“Part of our Mission is to act as a Start-Up for all other companies and investors to build a solid automotive environment in Albania.”
FIAA: SEWS-CABIND Group has recently entered the Albanian market. Could you tell us about the mission and operations of this company as well as the interest on the Albanian market?
Mr. Scarfalloto: SEI and SEWS-CABIND Group evaluated the possibility of expansion of the company in Albania from many years, many investigations have been done from our Group CFO Mr. Blanco and our Group CEO Mr. Ishii before to take final decision to move here. In fact, it is necessary to consider that before us, very few automotive companies entered in Albania territory and not in the same Group level like SEI, in terms of dimension and business.
At today, SCA is representing for SEI a big challenge from one side and powerful success from other side.
The main mission is to have a Plant with Sumitomo standard in a country where automotive business never was before and have a group of Albanian people (managers and all other levels) that can grow inside the company and be able in the future, not only continue the managing of company but also teach to future generation the Sumitomo spirit and production technologies.
The interest for Albania came not only from the economic aspect, but also from logistic perspective because of geographical position; position that represents for SEWS CA a real advantage considering that our customer is situated in Italy and reachable in 1 day of transport by ship.
Important to mention is also the common culture with Italy and knowledge of language.
SEWS-CABIND Group has entered the Albanian market during a very unusual year (2020). What were the difficulties you faced during the first year of your operations?
How is the company performing in this moment considering the New Reality we are living in?
Nobody of us was expecting the current situation that all the world is living and nobody of us could image how much more effort everybody needs to put, in order to solve a daily situation, the Covid pandemic is presenting to us.
However, SCA put in place from the beginning all precaution in terms of PPI and in terms of procedure to remove obstacles and to advance this project. The result was positive since, even if with 6 months of delay, at today SCA is running with 3 lines fully operative and is installing the 4th line, which will be operative in the end of March 2021.
We need to consider from last year that world is changed not only in normal life, but also in the business life; we need to push the technology; we need to review the method of communication not only with our colleagues, but also with our customer; have more trust each other and in the same time have more responsibility in all operation, in order to grow the trust in our customer.
Even if Covid pandemic will finish, and everybody is wishing this, the change in business it brought, will remain and will be difficult to remove completely.
What are your impressions of the current business-operating environment in Albania? What challenges are you facing?
Thanks to my experience, which permitted me to work in different countries and with different cultures, I am convinced that it is not the country or business environment, that makes the difference, but the approach of the company in that reality.
From my point of view, Albania as a country today is not 100% ready for automotive business, but as I said this is one of our mission, act as start-up for all other companies and other investors to build a solid automotive environment here, with possibility to have local suppliers which can give just in time the material needed.
What improvements in your business operating environment do you feel are critical to attract more foreign investment in Albania?
I think that Albania is in the right way to attract investment from foreign companies, however the solution of economic benefit is not only the way: infrastructure, facilitation in custom procedures, availability of materials and services and for sure the entering in the European community can improve the situation and facilitate the investments.
What are your investment plans for the next 2-3 years?
Project of SEWS CA for Sumitomo Group is very ambitious: SCA started with one Plant and on FY21 (which for us starts on April 21), the activities to open a second Plant of additional 5000 sqm will start in the same trend with new lines and new machines with final target to Reach about 700 people in the end of FY21.
In addition, the objectives will be reached by the expansion with a new Plant (the 3rd) in the same area and to have also this one operative with more than 2.000 people.