Two million keys to corner the worldwide market

VITTORIO VENETO,

Silca was founded almost 40 years ago in Vittorio Veneto (Treviso) and can nowadays boast a worldwide presence
While the iron curtain was falling, the company was cornering the United States. At the beginning of 2000 the relation with the Swiss multinational Kaba

Take a ring of keys and check the brand plated on them. Chance is you will see the name Silca. The multinational based in Vittorio Veneto, Treviso, is the leading company in key and key cutting machine manufacturing with a production of 200 million per year, almost seven in a second.

Forty years of history
Silca is an acronym coined almost 40 years ago when some craftsmen founded the “Società italiana lavorazione chiavi e affini” (Italian company of keys and related products manufacturing). In the Seventies, Silca launched a complete line of key cutting machines that allow the company to corner a large part of the Italian market. Twelve years later, the company, which had abandoned its artisan origins to become an industrial reality, opened its first business unit abroad, in London, and the year after opened a firm in Germany. While in Europe the iron curtain was falling, Silca started a production line overseas, opening a plant in Twinsburg, Ohio. The strategy of domestic expansion pursued by the company led to the establishment of a second plant near the historical building site of Vittorio Veneto. In the Nineties, Silca could count on a manufacturing site of 30.000 meters square. At the beginning of 2000, Silca signed an agreement with the Swiss multination Kaba, worldwide leader in the security business, in order to better tackle the global market. Silca entered the group becoming worldwide leader in the keys and key cutting machines business.

Multinational business
Since 2011, Stefano Aurelio Zocca, 50 and from Varese, has been managing director of Silca Spa. Since 2013, he has been also Chief operating officer of Kaba Key Systems Division. “We are present in over 130 countries worldwide and our products are targeting both the key replacement business and the industries,” he explains. “As for the key replacement business, we sell our products to key cutters and locksmiths, while as regards the industrial manufacturing, our customers are the most important locks and automotive keys manufacturers, who can rely on worldwide recognized certifications that attest the quality and trustworthiness of our products and manufacturing processes.” Kaba Key Systems Division has 1.300 employees, working in the United States, Colombia, Italy and India. Silca employs 400 people in Vittorio Veneto. Kaba Key Systems Division, part of the multinational company listed on the Zurich Stock Exchange, recorded in 2013 consolidated sales of 186.2 m CHF, while Silca’s turnover was over 50 m euro.

Constant innovation
“Every single day, Silca adds at least two new key models to its catalogue,” Zocca adds. “In the past few years, we have paid particular attention to the research and development of new technological solutions for vehicle keys, leading us to introduce a ground-breaking technology called GTI (Glass Transponder Innovation).” As regards the machines, Silca has introduced in the past few years several innovative products. Among them, Protech, a semi industrial automatic key cutting machine that guarantees high performances in the duplication of a wide range of different types of keys, and Optika, a reading device that identifies the type of cuts of a key by applying the laser technology. A number of other projects have targeted the locksmiths and specialists markets, while the company is addressing also emerging markets with a dedicated key cutting machine range.

Future plans
“Silca’s goal is to consolidate and sustain its market share in the markets where we have long successfully operated, while expanding in the areas where our presence is not sufficiently strong and widespread yet. Our product strategy is to develop highly competitive products that perfectly respond to the needs of the markets we are addressing.” Zocca believes that the plant in Vittorio Veneto, together with the sites in India, China and Colombia, represent a “paramount centre meant to support our expanding strategy in the near future. We are also studying the most interesting areas in terms of growth, such as China, India, Inodnesia, Malaysia and Japan.”

Flagship company
Kaba Key Systems Division is represented worldwide by two companies that are completely autonomous: Ilco in North America and Silca, operating in Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, emerging markets and South America. The Division operates through independent brands. Silca can boast a remarkable R&D department, made of approximately fifty people. Engineers working in this department are on average 35. Moreover, the company has paid attention to the employees and has engaged in a dialogue with the labor unions, leading to agreements that introduced an element of flexibility in working hours. For example, last summer, which was characterized by hot temperatures at noon, the company agreed to anticipate the entrance hour in the morning for the workers that used lubricant olis, an initiative praised by both Confindustria and the labor unions.

Source: Economia Nordest
Author: Antonino Padovese

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