Bracchi and reshoring in fashion: hubs grow, subcontracting returns to Italy

Logistics for fashion, boom in processing at the two sites in Verona and Padua: here Bracchi moves (and irons) millions of garments for the big names. CEO Umberto Ferretti: 'The trend: fashion companies are returning to Italy, confirming the turnaround from the era of delocalisation'. The strategy of new investments

Economy - published on 28 August 2023

Source: Pk Communication press office

Bracchi, the logistics multinational company with headquarters in the Bergamo area, is growing in the fashion sector on the wave of a new phenomenon, that of reshoring. Today, Bracchi’s fashion department works with the best known Italian excellences, collections that must be safeguarded from safety to quality to secrecy and the protection of creativity. At the same time, the outsourced logistics model that Bracchi proposes guarantees independence and provides a tailor-made service, capable of following the fashion season and its needs from the initial ironing and reconditioning phase through to delivery to individual European retailers.
There are two Bracchi fashion hubs, one in the Vicenza area and one in the Padua area.

Bracchi’s history in the world of fashion logistics is very long, we boast thirty years of experience in managing shipments for the top players in the made-in-Italy fashion industry, explains business unit director Matteo Vaccari. In recent years, we have focused on developing services related to fashion logistics, a sector that has historically been very difficult due to the seasonality and manual skills required: only a few companies manage to do this. A fashion company today must focus on its core business and rely on professionals to provide services, because logistics is a continuous search for modern solutions for the management of products that have complex requirements.

Bracchi’s facility in Tombolo (in the province of Padova) specialises in ironing, quality control and reconditioning activities. The main activities range from ironing in all its forms: iron, dummy, topper and tunnel; quality control is carried out by hand. In Tombolo, the company decided to invest more and more in state-of-the-art equipment for industrial ironing. Thus, today the factory has the capacity to handle over 30,000 garments per day on an area of over 10,000 square metres. The Bracchi fashion hub will iron over two million garments by 2023. But overall the numbers are higher, between quality control and logistics we are at around 5.5 million garments per year. In the first five months of 2023, the Tombolo hub recorded a volume growth of 115% over the previous year.

Technology is also the focus of interest at the Oppeano logistics hub in the province of Verona, dedicated to the world of fashion and furniture, with specific activities aimed at the world of e-commerce. The numbers are impressive: more than 12 million items processed and over forty thousand references handled. On 25,000 square metres, Bracchi manages the integrated logistics of important brands of made-in-Italy design, and around sixty people work there. Delivery times are reduced to a minimum to comply with the ‘just in time’ logic of the shops, Bracchi supplies them throughout Europe. Here, moreover, Bracchi has installed an innovative automatic and electronic pallet scan system to speed up parcel measurement operations.

It should be pointed out that the reason for Bracchi’s growth in the fashion sector is to be found in a phenomenon that has been exploding in recent months, that of reshoring. What is driving textile-clothing companies towards zero-kilometre solutions is not only a cost problem but also an opportunity to consolidate their reputation also in the environmental field: ‘local’ management is in fact seen with increasing interest by consumers. But not only that, friend-shoring is emerging, i.e. the ethical priority of establishing stronger business relationships with countries that are more trusted.

Many griffes are bringing production back to Italy, many of the most internationally renowned ones have set up production in the Veneto region, where in the meantime artisans specialised in contract manufacturing have lost the production capacity they had a few years ago, concludes Bracchi CEO Umberto Ferretti. This is why we have decided to invest in industrial ironing machinery, but also in the relevant vacuum systems: we are convinced that the world of fashion logistics is at an epochal turning point, the era of reshoring has begun in all the activities of quality control, ironing, bagging and garment reconditioning, leading to demands for processing never seen before. These are activities with very high skill requirements that have been gradually lost over the last 20 years in Italy, but which we have managed to recover with very stringent training courses.

Bracchi was founded in 1928 as a local transport company. Over the years it has expanded its presence, establishing itself as a major player first at national level and then, with the expansion of its logistics network and the first investments in sea and air transport, in Europe and worldwide. The expansion of its vehicle fleet and integrated logistics and outsourcing projects have enabled the company to establish itself in highly strategic niche sectors, in which it has been a European leader for over 40 years. The headquarters in Fara Gera d’Adda (in the province of Bergamo), where all operations at national and European level are coordinated, were soon joined by the foreign branches of Bracchi based in Lublin in Poland, Levice and Kostolné Kračany in Slovakia, dedicated to logistics and the distribution of lifts and consumer goods in Eastern Europe, and Ettenheim in Germany: a logistics hub with 44,000 square metres of covered area, equipped with the most advanced technologies and in a strategic position for European traffic management. 2018 marks a new important milestone: the acquisition of Bas Group, a historical reality of Bassano del Grappa, in the province of Vicenza, formed by four transport and logistics companies specialised in various sectors, from food to beverage, from fashion to e-commerce. In 2020 it is the turn of Peterlini, a company based in the province of Parma specialising in exceptional technical transport up to 100 tonnes. Thanks to these acquisitions, Bracchi consolidates its leadership by expanding its offering to new strategic businesses and geographical areas, operating in the industrial, agricultural, lift, cosmetics, fashion, food & beverage, e-commerce and retail sectors. Today, Bracchi operates twelve logistics centres and seven regional branches with a total of 350,000 square metres of warehousing space, employs around 650 people in the various plants, 35% of whom are women. In 2022, the group closed with sales of over 189 million euro, up 19% on 2021. For further information: The CEO from 2020 is Umberto Ferretti.

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