I remember very well the year that is coming to an end. I remember this moment last year when I was thinking of the words to tell about 2017, which was certainly a year of change and of transition.

But it was also a year of research and study to perfect our internal strategy and get to design something innovative, something exclusively ours.

If I were to tell you about 2018, I would not use the same words.

Something changed this year. This year something happened that is fundamental for a business. Let me try and tell you what the milestones were, and you will realise what it is that I’m talking about.

  • On 18 May SAPA received the Industria Felix Prize in the category Best business led by a woman in the Design sector of the Campania Region. The prize was received by my sister Mariangela, CFO and Member of the Board of Directors at SAPA and it was an acknowledgement of SAPA’s resonance in the Campania region.
  • At the beginning of the summer, an aircraft designed within the Abachos Project and built and financed by SAPA was launched into space before hundreds of mesmerised spectators, just like it was the case with the Tesla car. It was June 2018.
  • In the occasion of the Global Automotive Components and Suppliers Expo 2018 in Stuttgart, SAPA was invited to give a speech on the innovations in the automotive sector. Our R&D Engineer Mr Alfonso Molaro gave an insightful speech with the title One-Shot® manufacturing process to improve quality and productivity.
  • June was an important month for SAPA for another reason, too, SAPA changed its form from a limited company to a Plc: thanks to the audited statement of the accounts, SAPA officially opened to the outside world and became an industrial model to look up to as a point of reference.
  • The 1st of August 2018 was a very important date: SAPA acquired the Selmat Group and increased its turnover to € 300 million and reached 1,700 employees. But this is not all. This operation was yet another proof of SAPA’s internationalisation thanks to the collaboration with Rolls Royce, BMW and Aston Martin, and thus SAPA also expanded to the industrial vehicles and luxury cars sectors.
  • The project LIFEBIOCOMBO began together with CRF, FCA and SOPHIA, and SAPA proved once again to be particularly attentive to training and to the environment, too: the objective is namely to reduce CO2 emissions by 1.23 kg by 30 June 2021.
  • At the IZB, the International Suppliers Fair, SAPA presented its four parts patented pending with the One-Shot® Method for the very first time. The exhibition took place from 14 to 16 October at Wolfsburg Allerpark.
  • A couple of days ago, we received the ELITE Certificate by the Italian Stock Exchange: after two years of training, this was not only an acknowledgement of our commitment but also the acknowledgement that we are part of a group of virtuous businesses, who are committed to looking to the future.

In short, this was our year at SAPA.
If I were asked to describe it in three words, I would say: Growth, opening, and people.

Growth. It is very evident that we have become a bigger business and the numbers show it: we went from 700 to 1,700 employees – which was both a remarkable and a challenging step.
Growth is to be understood as the growth of our product concept, and of our credibility as a business. The Industria Felix Prize and the Certificate by the Italian Stock Exchange are a proof of this. But growth is also to be understood as an inner awareness that we have grown, when you look back and you see that you’ve come a long way.

Opening. Towards the outside world and towards foreign markets.
We took part in several initiatives of global scale in the automotive sector, and this is always challenging. The encounter with others somehow exposes you and shows your strengths but also your weaknesses – but we were ready for this. And the result?
The result was a great success for the One-Shot® Method and the certainty that we are moving in the right direction.

People. This, for me, is the fundamental point.
Nothing of what I have written above would have been at all possible without the people who make up this business. As I said during our Christmas lunch: what is the thing that gives real value to a business? What is the thing that generates all others? It’s the relationship among the people. Or, to be more precise, it’s the quality of the relationship among the people.

My mother always says: “let’s make this army into an army of love”, I imagine something along these lines: I imagine a group of people who find pleasure in working together, who get up in the morning and think positively of meeting the colleagues that day.

For me it is a fascinating challenge: the challenge of feeling part of a business that does not work for the work’s sake, but because it believes in work as a means to appreciate something more beautiful: the mutual respect among people, the pleasure of going to the office and working with one’s colleagues and maybe with one’s friends, whom it is beautiful to work with.

Granted, there might be conflicts and misunderstandings, but these are part of the work. Friends have sometimes conflicts, husband and wife have sometimes conflicts, why would there not be any conflicts among colleagues? What makes the difference is that, once the conflict is over, the relationship goes back to normal.
For me this is the difference between people that respect each other and people who don’t.

It is in this spirit that we look forward to the New Year.


Giovanni Affinita,

Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors at SAPA


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