Since the 1990s, it has become commonplace to talk about global supply chains' frictionless crossing of a borderless world. Unfortunately, small or new manufacturers find that the price, complexity or necessary credentials involved can often seem overwhelming. This is ~where a global network offering a first rate local service like Faravelli comes in, according to its CEO, Luca Benati. A specialist in delivering chemicals for multiple sectors, the business offers customers help in everything from logistics to product formulation.

Gaining access to new or larger markets is just one of the advantages that a good distributor can offer to the companies it works with. Equally, sticking closely to partners is a key part of the formula behind the success of Faravelli. Benati explains that his group has grown by studying a sector, recruiting experienced local personnel from it, and entering once a diverse portfolio of strategic articles and commodities from trusted sources are created. Today, it has matured into a global operation that is present in numerous countries, including the US and China, with a particularly strong footprint in Europe.

"As international distributors, we comply with the requests of many markets to find them products. When we find out what one needs, we use the experience, background and sourcing capability that we have developed to find contacts who we know produce such things well. Then we buy those things from them for whatever market we are targeting, and send them across," says Benati.

Partner up

The group is focused on seeking out new partners for its existing markets, and Benati explains that his group has long preferred to diversify its current portfolio over expanding into new markets overseas before it is ready. To keep relationships strong, he speaks of how Faravelli offers its support to other companies internationally across many different areas, including helping with licensing applications, concept research and product creation, in order to cultivate the kind of deep links that have served the organisation so well.

"When we speak about strategic partnerships, we are talking about more than just buying and selling goods to and from allied businesses, but also about providing them with additional services," the CEO adds. "For example, from the regulatory point of view, we have a team of eight people who are in frequent contact with trade associations and the authorities, who get firsthand information from them. Sometimes with a new regulation, it is the customers who are asking us about how to handle, say, new labelling or user dosages because they know we are the ones with the information and experience to help them."

Market access

It is this concept of studying a market carefully by identifying the key individuals who know a sector, and then hiring them to adapt the business's portfolio to the conditions of the local economy, that has seen Faravelli repeatedly break into markets that newcomers often find challenging to operate inside. This includes the US, where it opened its first operation in 2014.

It wasn't enough to go to the US with a range of simple commodities, according to Benati. Instead, Faravelli entered a strategic partnership with a number of producer companies it knew and put together a diverse portfolio of items that offered US consumers access to a range of interesting goods that were often short in supply there. It focused on genetically modified organism-free and organic items, and on working with specialist local producers, who had worked with the company for a long time. Today, Benati says, Faravelli's plans focus not so much on changing this strategy as completing it.

"We want to diversify our business and provide related manufacturing services, such as blending and repackaging to our clients," he states. "This is a type of service closely related to our work in raw material distribution and is something that is often asked for by our customers. These are niche lines of work for the time being, but there are obvious synergies with our main business, which will remain the major focus of activity for the group."