Mr. Pugliese, what role does export play in your strategy (today and in the future)?
Export is a priority. We are exploring many countries, especially emerging markets, where we recognize a higher potential in comparison to mature markets. S-GE assists us in the search for agents and resellers with good locations, as well as providing information on local import procedures and topics such as tax etc.
What is your business model?
Instead of selling our beds to hotels, we rent them on a monthly occupancy basis. When a customer uses a bed, the hotel will be charged. More so, Elite warrants comfort and hygiene of the bed.
Elite shares the risk with hoteliers. We rent out the best beds – it is a win-win-win situation: For the hotels, the guests, and for Elite. The hoteliers do not need to invest; they just pay when the beds are used.
Will you need to adapt your business model for various export markets?
Yes, for some countries, we need to adapt the duration of the contract. In addition, we need to secure the monthly payments. In this respect we work with the export insurance SERV to help us to ensure operations.
What influence does the digital transformation have on the overall operations?
We need to find new skills and competences, especially in computing and data processing. This is a challenge for us – but we are excited for what it brings!
Which topic will have a major influence on your business in 2018?
We are working on implementing new services on our smart lease system. This means that we will soon supply a tablet in every hotel room – using digitization to assist the housekeepers and offer additional services to the guests. As to our local presence worldwide, Elite will focus on developing new markets and open new boutiques in some international cities in the years to come.
Forum For Swiss Foreign Trade: Rethinking business models
Meet Mr. Pugliese for his Executive Talk on May 18, 2017 at the Forum for Swiss Foreign Trade "Rethinking business models: The international competitive advantage of tomorrow". Want to know more about how exporting SMEs are adapting to the digital transformation and how they are rethinking their business models? Read more in our dossier or sign up for our Export Newsletter.
Previous interview with François Pugliese: “Industry 4.0: A Swiss SME's perspective”