A number of captains complained that this had been to the detriment of their projects and had clouded their views of the market. And Vincenzo Poerio, Benetti’s CEO, concurred. “Italy is a country of artisans", he said, "but cost and time doesn't matter". And although Poerio insisted that he did support small businesses and niche suppliers, he said he desired better "organisation".
However, following the event, ‘Phil’, a reader of TheCrewReport.com fought back on behalf of the Italian supply chain. “I note that the unanimous reason for poor performance was stated as, 'due to problems with subcontractors and small enterprises'”, he said. “This seems a bit of a cop out considering they were not there to defend themselves? [sic.] I am in an Italian yard currently and speak with a lot of the contractors. Their gripe is that they are not being paid. No pay, no work seems to make sense to me.
“These bigger shipyards are killing their so-called artisans and small contractors by making 120-180 day payments. Very often after which no payment or reduced payments are made. Nobody can survive like this. Italian shipyards are without a doubt their own worst enemy. Always at the ready with the next excuse and never taking responsibility for their own actions, or lack thereof.”
“If they are not able to control the cash flow and/or the shipyard delays its payment plan, they risk a lot. We face this situation very often and we have to adjust our payment terms in order to give subcontractors the chance to finish their job.”
And Sara Stimilli, who is marketing and communications manager for Videoworks said, “I agree with what is written in the article - the Italian reality is quite complicated - but I do want to stress that we, like many other Italian suppliers, are constantly committed to observing production times and delivery. We are fast and ready to give our clients assistance and support and, above all, we have a well-defined internal organisation, allowing us to keep quality standards high and control the whole production chain.
"Therefore, the innovation we grant is not only related to the product, but also to the processes. A direct proof of this is the birth of the Videoworks 'Officina', where we commit ourselves to ensuring quality, efficiency and smart resources employment.
In this way, we try to improve day after day for our client’s satisfaction.”
It seems that the exponential increase in the cost of supplying a vessel requires evermore liquidity and capital, as projects grow in both size and duration. For companies providing niche products and services, this can place great strain on their ability to see a project through. And the concern is that this will force smaller enterprise out of the industry, simultaneously stifling its ability to innovate.