Men & Cranes: Interview with Mariano Moritsch
Today we are going to interview Mariano Moritsch Being born into the profession, M. Moritsch started working early in COMEDIL, at age 24 he took his first trip to Canada in 1989. The destinations of business were Asia, U.S. market, UK, Dubai. Crane business. Several years of work experience behind, great personality, leadership, useful tips for managing working and personal life.
Cranesy: Being born into the profession, as you said about yourself, tell me about your childhood. How come you’ve been interested in the world of cranes since you were a child? What were your first steps in the crane sector?
Mariano Moritsch: Ever since I can remember I have heard and seen my father talking about cranes .. he often took me with him to see construction sites, crane factories, engines, fifth wheels .. I was only a little kid but I was proud to see that the Comedil’s name was at the top in the cities and villages all over Italy .. it was therefore natural that I was interested with curiosity, and according to my personality, in this world.
At my request then, for the first time when I was 15, I spent at least a month in the company .. my first assignment was photocopying assembly manuals, my biggest emotion was seeing the new dip coating plant (it was the custom, at that time) for large pylons.
I had almost finished university and it was natural for me to follow in my father’s footsteps, but with one thing on my mind: the company could only have developed if we had worked on internalization, if we had bet everything on quality; two simple goals easier said than done.
So I started working early, at age 24 I took my first trip to Canada in 1989.
I was trying to sell the first Luffer crane we were studying. After about ten minutes, the prospective client (who never became one of my clients) told me in a poor Italian (it was Friulian-Canadian) “Your father sends you around the world to sell things you do not know … out of here!!!!)
I walked away and I cried… but that man, maybe a little insensitive to the “young people” who try to sell, had given me a lesson … first of all, I had to convey safety, to know more about my interlocutor, to be a technician.
So I began to participate in all technical meetings, and before leaving for a trip I studied down to the smallest detail the company’s new products.
My favourite destination for business was quite soon Asia, a market that still appears to be the most important for Comedil.
There, since 1990, I’ve been creating and following all the commercial network, JV in Korea since 1992, and the less fortunate one in China towards the end of the 90s (it was still too early).
Meanwhile, I had identified Select Plant Hire as a possible partner for Comedil in the UK, which will lead the development of large cranes and Comedil bets on new products.
Thanks to Mr. Ray O’Rourke in person, Comedil and I were able to participate in large construction projects, the most prestigious in the UK, and then in Dubai.
Finally in 1996, I tried to enter the U.S. market, I still remember my first trip trying to explain what Comedil was .. until the day in which I called Terex, to know if they were interested in distributing our cranes.
I spoke with Phil Filipov, who told me “We do not buy cranes, we buy companies” .
Ok, let’s talk about it .. and one year later Terex entered Comedil with 51%, which became 100% in 2001.
Cranesy: Have you always known you wanted to work in the crane sector or as a little boy you wanted to do something else?
Mariano Moritsch: Auto and architecture are my great passions, however, both related to design … and now they have become my hobbies. I spend my earnings in cars, and the architecture was useful in the realization of my design hotel in Belluno, where I live, in the Dolomites, first of a little series, I hope.
Cranesy: You have several years of work experience behind you, what’s the toughest decision you ever had to make in your entire career?
Mariano Moritsch: Leaving Comedil in 2006. I‘ve learned a lot from Terex, and I still collaborate with them. I sold them Recom, the second company that manufactured Luffer cranes, my passion, two years ago. But now I follow entrepreneurial logics than managerial ones, and this is not appropriate to a large group.
Today, however, I found with them my “happy and free” placement.
I have to admit that the relationship between Terex and my family is a unique thing, a family business perfectly and successfully integrated into a multinational corporation and that it is not common practice. And this is due to the trust that works both ways .
My father was happy about it and together with him the relationship with Terex has grown a lot.
Cranesy: A significant number of Italian companies found themselves in trouble because their product was offered for sale exclusively in the domestic market. What’s your approach to the international market? What advice can you give to companies that want to export their product overseas? What is the key to success?
Mariano Moritsch: Obvious tips, easier said than done, we said.
Woe betide us if we are only focused on the domestic market. Comedil was the only Italian company, and it still is one, present in markets around the world. It takes a lot of effort, commitment, understanding of different attitudes and business approaches, but this is the only way to survive.
My advice to those who want to export, has always been to be extremely serious in understanding, customs, habits, and indeed the business approach BEFORE deciding to enter a given country.
We are in that country to sell our product and we must humbly adapt, or let it from the beginning.
The second thing I would recommend is thinking if we have the right product for that market, and if we are able to arrange an appropriate service for spare parts.
If any of these elements are missing, the attempts are almost always useless .. and they could do more damages to one’s reputation than an absence in the market!
Cranesy: In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes today’s entrepreneurs make?
Mariano Moritsch: In my very humble opinion, if you don‘t understand new business logics, which have upset the world after 2008… and you say ” That’s what we‘ve always done'” everything is absolutely useless.
Cranesy: What qualities are needed to run / manage a company?
Mariano Moritsch: Foresight, adaptability to change, humility when you’re changing, understanding the source of problems, and studying their causes more than the effects.
All this, if possible with a great human approach and a very detailed business plan including the financial consequences of each choice .. and scheduling (which Terex taught me) that is too little used in too many Italian family businesses.
Cranesy: According to your opinion, what are the mistakes one should avoid to reach success? Tips for young people who want to achieve success at work?
Mariano Moritsch: Thinking that success come by chance, without sacrifice .. there were some cases, but they are rare. Considering money as the only purpose of success, as for me money is a means of improving and not the ultimate goal. Adapting to SACRIFICE
Some short questions:
Cranesy: Individual work or group work?
Mariano Moritsch: Group. But with a clear leadership.
Cranesy: What’s your strong point?
Mariano Moritsch: Altruism, humility, and the curiosity about everything.
Cranesy: What’s your favourite city?
Mariano Moritsch: All Veneto cities.
Cranesy: What are your hobbies?
Mariano Moritsch: Various sports. They help a lot. Absolutely mens sana in corpore sano!
Cranesy: What’s your favourite quote?
Mariano Moritsch: Carpe diem
Cranesy: What’s your favourite sport?
Mariano Moritsch: Driving, Skiing.