“For a medium-sized enterprise, the quality associated with Italian production is an important value rooted in beauty and creativity, but also in the ability to establish positive relations.” In these few words, spoken at the Forum for Medium-Sized Enterprises promoted by the Compagnia delle Opere and held last December in Milan, lies the philosophy of Claudio Domenicali and of the company for which he serves as CEO; a company – Ducati – that has become as much a symbol of Italian motorcycles as Ferrari is of sports cars.
Beauty, first and foremost. Something that, when Bologna-born Domenicali entered the local Borgo Panigale factory in 1990, was a thing of the past. So much so that, upon graduating that same year in mechanical engineering with a dissertation on Ducati itself, he owned a motorcycle “of the competition”. However, the passion and aspirations of a handful of engineers reopened the doors to beauty. Because Domenicali and the others simply wanted to ride beautiful motorcycles, “the way we liked them”. This, in a nutshell, was an early embryo of that community, that leitmotif that unites every Ducati man and woman – designers, manufacturers, sellers, buyers and riders alike.
“We have parental leave for child care, a crèche bonus, and so on: we believe that the family is the cornerstone of our company”
In the meantime, the company changed hands several times. From Cagiva to Texas Pacific Group, from Investindustrial to Audi, but these changes in Management never affected the group’s identity. This, as Domenicali explained at the Forum, “is based on a set of values that we all share, from the lowest to the highest echelons of the company, and that we try to convey in every single activity we perform”. An identity that spills outside the gates of the Borgo Panigale factory, and into the realm of suppliers – “six out of ten are Italian” – that produce 90% of Ducati’s components: “Many of our suppliers were mechanics who worked here with us,” he says. On visiting their companies, you can see first hand the know-how, the work method and the focus on human relations that they learned in Ducati: “It is no coincidence that our Code of Ethics, which we follow religiously, says that suppliers have to adopt an ethical conduct towards the environment, human rights, and the health and safety of their workers,” says Mr Domenicali.
The same applies to the company’s employees, who are encouraged to adopt sustainable commuting methods, such as public transport and car sharing. Moreover, the company’s corporate welfare makes the Ducati an example of excellence in Italian complementary healthcare for workers’ families. And that’s not all. “We have parental leave for child care, also on an hourly basis, paid leave for childbirth, a crèche bonus, and merit-based scholarships for deserving school-leavers or graduates,” says Mr Domenicali. “We believe that the family is the cornerstone of our company. We understand that the welfare of employees depends on the welfare of their loved ones”.