From his resume, Michele Gavino might seem like an unlikely candidate to run a shipyard. After attaining his degree in aeronautical engineering, Gavino held successive positions as plant manager at the beer brewer Birra Peroni, quality manager at helicopter manufacturer AugustaWestland, and general manager of the Societa Europea Autocaravan. Most recently, he was chief operations officer of a company in the plastics industry.
Gavino describes himself as a “lucky engineer” to have worked in such different industries. He plans to use best practices he learned in his other positions, ranging from improving project management processes to negotiations with suppliers and unions, in his new role as general manager of Baglietto. “I’ve always created cohesive and quality-driven teams,” he says. “That was a lesson my father taught me 30 years ago. Without a great team, you can’t achieve the results that your company needs.”
MegayachtNews.com: Why did you decide to enter the yachting sector, and in particular, work for Baglietto?
Michele Gavino: I spent a morning listening to Mr Beniamino Gavio, our chairman. He told me what Baglietto is now and what Baglietto would be in a short time. It was one of the best days in my professional life.
Michele Gavino: Mr. Gavio’s passion and vision are the foundations for Baglietto’s growth since he acquired the shipyard. But there are other elements to Baglietto, like a very good team, big group, financial soundness, choice of the right projects, and the capability to respect and follow our business plan. Last but not least, Baglietto is an iconic brand with more than 160 years and is known around the world. Our clients trust us.
MegayachtNews.com: You’ve been in the yachting sector for two months now. What are your early impressions?
Michele Gavino: I understand that the client’s main interest is in quality and product reliability. There is also an attention to innovation and technology. That will be pushed forward more in the building process, based on breakthroughs in the aviation and automotive industries. I’ve also seen a focus on sustainability in all aspects of the build process, from hybrid engines to reduce emissions, from the management of waste and exhaust, to the final goal of building a zero-impact boat.
MegayachtNews.com: Will you bring new technologies from the other industries that you’ve worked in?
Michele Gavino: For sure. There are plenty of world-class manufacturing practices from aerospace and automotive that can be applied to our industry. I always like to start with Value Stream Mapping to help improve the flow of all resources, starting with materials. Also, product development can benefit from other industries in order to not only enhance the development process, but improve specific projects. I prefer processes like the Scrum Tool or Design to Cost methodology.
MegayachtNews.com: Where do you see opportunities for growth at Baglietto?
Michele Gavino: What Baglietto has achieved in just four years is amazing. When Mr. Gavio took over the yard, there was nothing but the brand. Since then, we have made significant investments by enlarging the infrastructure of the shipyard. We have expanded our shipyard to 35,000 square meters, with two new covered facilities for building motoryachts up to 65 meters and two piers for yachts up to 70 meters. This two-year expansion project is nearly reaching completion, while at the same time we’re developing plans to expand our production area even more. This €18-million investment in infrastructure comes on top of the €20 million the Gavio Group paid to acquire the shipyard and brand.
MegayachtNews.com: How about your lineup of yachts?
Michele Gavino: We want to offer our clients a full product range. We just launched a 54-meter yacht that features solutions and style cues that have made the brand famous over the years. The aesthetic features on this yacht will serve as a “preview” for the restyling that will characterize the 43-meter, 48-meter, and 55-meter yachts currently being built at the shipyard. The same holds true for the 58-meter and 62-meter projects that are forthcoming. Our displacement line has been joined by our Fast planing yachts, which carry a streamlined, aggressive profile. In April, the first 46-meter model will be launched. The line will also have an entry-level yacht around 36 meters. We’re also working on the MV range, a modern reinterpretation of historical naval-assault vessels. We’ve launched the MV13 and are now building the MV19. It should be launched this spring. And at the Miami show, we unveiled the 43-meter Open and 48-meter Explorer (above).
MegayachtNews.com: Where do you see geographic opportunities?
Michele Gavino: “Old Europe” and the Americas are our preferred markets at the moment. The USA is one of our most important markets now. We are opening offices for Baglietto and CCN in Fort Lauderdale to promote sales there. The Middle East and Asia are areas we want to explore, too.
MegayachtNews.com: How about clients? Are most former Baglietto owners?
Michele Gavino: Most of our clients are new to the brand. Some come from other brands, but others are newcomers to yachting. We have attracted interest in the brand and our new designs, thanks partly to our owner’s vision, the huge investments in the yard, and our engineering capabilities. We have reached a quality level that places us among the top international megayacht builders.
MegayachtNews.com: Can you talk about plans for Bertram?
Michele Gavino: Bertram is an amazing brand with a fantastic history. We’ve invested in Bertram as an “American” brand that will build American boats, with American management and an American designer, Michael Peters, with headquarters in America. The first 35-foot prototypes are being built at Lyman-Morse in Maine, a shipyard with a long, highly respected history. We will shortly announce where we plan to set up a state-of-the-art production facility. We’ve investigated locations in the Southeastern USA.
MegayachtNews.com: Do you see the brand going beyond 35 feet? Would it ever get to 90 feet as in the days when Ferretti Group owned it?
Michele Gavino: The Bertram 35 is designed to capitalize on the spirit and beauty of the original 31, while bringing forward a beamier, longer hull design. This new model will set the tone for future designs. I can say that the model line will grow, but I’d prefer not to go into more detail.