Business, fashion, gardening, and gelato. Ruggero Ferrari’s professional journey has taken him down many paths. So, when the opportunity to lead Italian espresso machine manufacturer Rancilio arose in September 2019, Ferrari grasped it with both hands.
“I’m a curious person and I enjoy challenges. Applying my experience to help grow this organisation is really exciting. The modern coffee industry is centred on creating an experience for consumers and developing a spirit of appreciation for coffee quality,” says Ruggero Ferrari, Chief Executive Officer of Rancilio Group.
Ferrari was announced as the new head of Rancilio Group on 1 September 2019, replacing Giorgio Rancilio, who held the position since 2017.
A challenge that immediately garnered Ferrari’s interest in taking on the CEO role was the opportunity to grow the organisation’s super-automatic espresso machine arm, Egro.
“Egro is a high-quality brand. Our core values are reliability, performance, quality, and a willingness to provide support, both before and after the sale,” Ferrari says.
“I’ve seen super-automation in the coffee industry evolve over the years and it’s continuing to advance at such a fast pace. Super-automatic espresso machines used to be able to produce a limited offering at an acceptable quality, but now, these machines can create consistently excellent drinks.”
Ferrari’s colourful professional history started in 1991 with Max Mara Fashion Group before he joined gardening equipment company Emak in 1999. After 11 years at Emak, Ferrari left the business for ice cream machine manufacturer Carpigiani in 2010 as a Business Development Officer. He went on to become CEO in 2017.
“The coffee business has a lot of similarities to gelato. The quality of output in both industries depends on systems, equipment, the quality of raw ingredients, and, of course, the people,” he says.
“My role at Rancilio Group is to understand the value of all of these individual factors and combine them to create the perfect product and service for our customers.”
Ferrari adds that his education and personal experiences have also helped to shape his management style. He has formal training in Classical Latin and Greek studies and economics, and a passion for culture and history.
“I love to read and am hugely passionate about art. It feeds my hunger for culture and helps keep me informed on what is happening around the word,” Ferrari says.
“Fly fishing is one of my pastimes, although I don’t get much time to practice anymore. It’s a perfect metaphor for business in a way. You need to study the environment, train hard, and stay updated on technique, but the result can still be influenced heavily by uncontrollable factors. You have to build resilience and learn to persevere against adversity.”
Ferrari says empowering and investing in people can go a long way to achieving collective success.
“I am logical and rational. Business starts and finishes with numbers, but I also give great value to people. I believe that it’s the people that make the difference in any organisation. I aim to create a culture that values teamwork, commitment, understanding, and empathy,” he says.
“It’s important for the organisation to have an effective strategy, but we also need to challenge people on an individual level to perform at their best and all work towards a common goal.”
After his appointment in September, one of Ferrari’s first major projects was to drive Egro’s presence at HostMilano 2019 from 18 to 22 October.
“Egro is a global brand with a vast reach – we operate in all corners of the world. The super-automatic industry is very competitive though, so it’s important to stay on top of trends and showcase our products to the industry,” Ferrari says.
The Egro Kiosk and Egro’s newest super-automatic, the Next Touch Coffee, headlined the brand’s booth at HostMilano.
According to Ferrari, the Egro Kiosk was a project specially designed to showcase Egro as a top-quality option in the coffee vending sector.
The display at HostMilano also included Egro’s new NMS+ milk system, automatic iSteam+ foaming wand, Connect telemetry system’s new interface, and Tea Brewer accessory.
“We saw the opportunity to feature several novelties at HostMilano to grow the Egro brand. The positive feedback we received from clients was really gratifying,” Ferrari says.
He adds that among the many highlights of the exhibition was presenting the Next Touch Coffee’s highly sophisticated coffee filter system.
“We actually had a highly skilled barista setup in our booth. People could compare the cappuccinos and filter coffees made manually by the barista to the ones produced with Egro’s technology. Very few people were able to distinguish the difference between the two, so it was a great success,” Ferrari says.
“People also had the opportunity to meet our Coffee Competence Team in our Extraction Lab. The team ran workshops, led tasting experiences, and showed attendees various extraction methods on both our traditional and fully automated machines.”
Looking forward, Ferrari is optimistic that Egro can build on its post-HostMilano momentum and continue to strengthen its market position.
“We are really looking to invest in our people. We recently launched the Egro Service Competence Centre , or ESCC, in our Swiss office. This is an entirely new department designed to promote training for internal staff. Through the ESCC we are also offering technical courses for our partners,” Ferrari says.
“Another important investment is in the after-sale support service for our customers. It’s integral to ensure our customers can rely on us after they purchased a product. We want that dependability to be a trademark of our organisation.”
In addition to empowering his people, Ferrari says that sustainability is an essential value to Egro and the wider Rancilio group. He wants to incorporate environmental awareness into the company’s daily habits, as well as its overarching strategic decisions.
“Climate change is on our doorstep. It’s vital to distribute equitable profits throughout the entire supply chain and all of the stakeholders in the industry. We have to think about the world we are leaving behind for the future generations,” Ferrari says.
“We are using a photovoltaic system for renewable energy which currently produces 50 per cent of our energy. Overall, 90 per cent of our waste is currently being recycled. We use fully recycled packaging and choose our equipment components to ensure they are designed to be recycled as well.”
Egro has also installed a company garden to complement its sustainable practices. More than 1000 kilograms of coffee grounds that are used to test espresso machines are recycled in the garden each year.
Ferrari adds that as technology continues to evolve in the super-automatic sector, telemetry, connectivity, and a quality end-product are shaping the future of the industry.
“Coffee consumers are changing their perception of quality. Standards are rising and this is opening opportunities for players in the industry who are willing to adapt,” Ferrari says.
“At Egro we are willing to listen to consumers. We will evolve with the market, empower our people, and continue to operate sustainably and ethically.”