Stefan Barbieri – CEO of Barbieri Electronics
The autumn was an exciting time for you. You presented your latest product, the Spectro LFP qb, at no fewer than three international trade fairs. How was the response from your customers?
We got a lot of very positive feedback! Our existing loyal customers are delighted with the new and innovative functions and are pleased to see that we have implemented the improvements they were looking for. That gives the Spectro LFP qb a number of new USPs that really distinguish us from the competition. To that extent, we have achieved our goal of consolidating our pioneering role.
You are running the company in cooperation with your brother Markus. How do you divide up the responsibilities?
We know we can utterly rely on each other; we communicate a lot and have mutually complementary skills: I am the strategist and Markus is the engineer who looks after the research network, manages our R&D department and brings our projects to fruition. The combination makes us an effective team. My job as the strategist is to run the Support department in such a way that we generate useful customer feedback. So I travel a lot and look after our customers. From the feedback, we receive from customers and our research team we develop our ideas for new products.
Barbieri stands for the highest standards of quality, innovation and reliable customer service. What does that mean for your daily work?
Our mission is to develop innovative products with excellent problem-solving potential. We aim to provide customers with first-class equipment for fast and cost-effective working to a consistently high quality standard without any problems. The smooth running of our internal processes is the product of a comprehensive concept that has been developed over the years – plus our excellent employees! The foundations for a successful product are laid in the development phase already: If it carries the Barbieri label, it is a Barbieri product. We develop and engineer all our products ourselves – the optics, the electronics and the IT. We have also implemented a continuous improvement system, and it has become a highly reliable tool over the years. It is this reliability that our customers feel. We have Support and Customer Service centers in the USA, Europe and China. This global customer service offering enables us to monitor and steer our products and ultimately their reliability and quality.
Mission or vision: What are you aiming at? What gives you your drive? What role does your father play in it all?
My father was a big inventor and an achiever. If you gave him a problem to look at, he wouldn't rest until it was solved. For that purpose, he set up laboratories and workshops in his company and hired people with the technical skills. His products were brilliant. For him, a global market went without saying; his contacts were international from the start. My brother Markus and I joined the company when we were still very young and quickly realized that global companies needed and were looking for our products. So, our mission was clear: People who are dependent on top-quality color for their products should use our intelligent measuring technology to get what they wanted. That is what makes our mission so gratifying: the fact that it was so obvious for us to be able to satisfy our customers' requirements and for them to be able to rely on us! That in turn explains our vision: Barbieri's customers differ from their competitors in that they achieve the very best image quality and so become high performers themselves.
Analog was followed by digital at the end of the 1980s. What will be the next major development in your field?
Digital printing was a product of ink-jet technology, which permitted small print runs to be offered for a relatively small investment – although it was a slow process in those days. In the meantime, the technologies are mature and are employed in various industries. At present digital printing is in the process of being introduced on various markets for high-speed printing, on textiles, decorative items, packaging etc. For us that means we can offer our measuring technology for more and more booming markets.
Can you describe the typical Barbieri customer?
The typical Barbieri customer prints large-format digital images every day and has to be sure that the colors he produces will be identical with the colors as supplied by the photographer or graphic artist when printed on a variety of materials (paper, board, fabric, ceramic). What you see in the monitor must be what you get in the print. Since that is not as easy in practice as it sounds, our customers rely on our precision color measuring technology for accurate true-color results. That is the key to satisfied customers, customers who get zero complaints and can deliver a high standard of quality on a cost-effective basis.