Humans of METSTRADE this month features Gianni de Bonis, Managing Director of TecnoRib in Italy. He reveals his insights into the growth of the RIB market and shares how he optimises his time at METSTRADE.
What attracted you to working in the marine industry?
I work in the marine industry because everybody agrees it's more fun to make boats than to manufacture other things. A RIB is complex to produce – you must have the right format of the boat and quality of materials. You also have contact with the clients, who want to be happy when they buy a boat and go boating. This is maybe one of the most difficult parts of the job from one perspective, but also exciting!
In Italy we are surrounded by the sea and everyone loves boats – not only the product itself but also the way that we make them here. We have a strong reputation for design and there is a long tradition in Italy for the inflatable boats that we build. It started at the small end of that market but now our country is the leader in 10m-15m RIBs.
Tell us about TecnoRib
TecnoRib started in 2005 and the first RIB came out in 2006. We started with a traditionally designed range up to 10m that featured large tubes and a lot of sunbed area, but now the business has totally changed. Today we build RIBs from 9m-19m with walkaround layouts.
The RIB is a totally different product than it was when we started 15 years ago. We’ve kept the characteristics of comfort, easy to drive and low maintenance, but added luxury features. We are careful to pay attention to the quality of the smallest details and ensure we take an international approach to design. For instance, we do one-third of our sales in Australia and that is a totally different market to Italy.
We have benefited from the surge in boating interest and had a 50 per cent increase in sales compared to the year before. TecnoRib is also exploring new markets and coming out with new products – a 35 for this season and a 50 Walk-around for 2022. We are trying to take advantage of the improvement in sales now to create something solid that will look after us in the future if the market becomes less favourable.
What interesting trends are you seeing in the marine industry?
The trend for RIBS between 10m-15m is very good – this is where we do most of our business. A lot of new people want to experience the boat as a means of being far from the crowd in these unlucky COVID times. I think we will retain some of the people that have come into boating, but not at the same rate of growth.
The other trend in the marine industry is that people are asking for something different when they pay you a lot of money for a boat. They are curious and use the internet to research their purchase. They have much more information and they know what they want. This is good as we understand much better what they are looking for and that makes it easier for us to communicate our offer to the client.
What is the importance of METSTRADE to your business?
It is a high priority for us to find the proper accessories and parts for our boats, to ensure they are always improved. There is no place like METSTRADE to have the best choice of equipment, anywhere in the world. It’s also an important place to meet our suppliers. We design our RIBs in-house and are too small to produce our own components – we must buy these from partners. METSTRADE provides opportunity to improve the equipment we fit and drives our growth through enhanced quality.
Another important thing is the ability to see actual products. You never have a good idea of the basic quality of a product on a catalogue page – you must see it for real.
How do you plan a typical METSTRADE visit?
I visit METSTRADE with my engineer and our technical team. We try to have a brief before we attend, covering what we are looking for exactly. This is important because the show is quite short and if you don't plan, you lose time. We’ll focus on parts of the boat that could be improved, or perhaps a replacement for a current product we use, then meet the exhibitors of products we are interested in.
We do spend some unplanned time, taking part of the second day to look around and see what's new.
Which METSTRADE areas and activities do you most look forward to?
Although we don’t build boats of that size, I always visit the Super Yacht Pavilion. This is because you often find state-of-the-art versions of equipment that we need being exhibited there.
It’s also important to spend time in the other halls looking at the parts we purchase, such as small stainless steel components.