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Starting from subzero, and working his way up to managing sophisticated home automation systems: in his 40 years in business, Raffaele Gualtieri has witnessed a revolution. At his Catanzaro heating systems service center, the company that bears his name employs 20 people, including technicians, engineers and administrative staff. A large family: his two sons, Alfredo and Andrea, work with Raffaele. Administration is entrusted to his daughter-in-law. Raffaele is featured in CNA Storie of April. Those who want to enter the trade, he explains, need to know that today a good plumber must also be a bit of an electrician. The complexity of regulations and compulsory obligations mean that it is necessary to accompany the client all round. “The changing times lead to special needs,” explains Raffaele. “We take care of the paperwork; we are often asked to go back to cadastral data and do viewings. The changing times have made the customer much more demanding than before.” It so happens that by the time he arrives to request an installation, he has already documented himself on the Internet and has his answer in his pocket.

Increasingly demanding customers and the role of associations

In CNA Raffaele has found reliable and constant support: “The experience with CNA over the years has been very positive,” he says. “It is an association that protects us assiduously and continuously, including through training and refresher courses. With CNA all the various issues are discussed in the appropriate forums.”

Open markets and global challenges

In an open market, the pitfall of squatting and improvisation is just around the corner. But not for those, like Raffaele, who have been in the industry for 40 years. In such an area, Raffaele can count on a loyal clientele. A relationship of trust built over time. In short, it is not downward competition that is scary. That is answered by the quality of work: “I have historical clients for almost 40 years. There is and always will be competition, but the truth that the after-worker who improvises himself as an installer often only does damage. And it increases the work of those of us who are called upon to repair that damage.”

Trouble in finding qualified personnel

As in other industries, Raphael also encounters much difficulty in finding qualified personnel or personnel to qualify. “We are constantly looking for personnel,” he explains. “That’s also why we registered on the Erasmus portal and selected two Spanish guys, students at a training school in their country, where they study the theoretical aspects. They came to us here to gain practical, field experience for three months. They follow the other technicians in their interventions.” It is an enriching experience for the two young men, and it supports Raffaele’s company, which is struggling to cope with the continuous demand for interventions. “Home automation is catching on exponentially. It allows us to manage all our products remotely. And this, paradoxically, rather than making more customers, it has tripled the number of requests for action!”