We learned that running a multigenerational business is not an easy task. Nevertheless, Gruppo Illy Spa has shown itself to be an astonishing example of how to excel at this. They attribute their success to their “disruptive quality”, an innovative method which relies on building processes and products around the company’s competitive advantage.
In the case of Gruppo Illy Spa , it all started with them using the best ingredients and building processes that enhance quality. They created a special pressurisation method to preserve their packaged ground coffee. Typically, ground coffee is preserved by extracting the air from inside the package with a vacuum. Illy’s pressurisation process extracts the air from the package, and then replaces it with an inert gas at higher-than-atmospheric pressure. The positive pressure exerted by this pressurisation method enhances the aroma compounds in the coffee by releasing them back into the cup. This makes their coffee flavour better than those of their competitors.
Illy developed and manufactured its own unique pressurisation machines and packaging products to facilitate the implementation of this innovation. However this could not be achieved without roasting the coffee beans at a lower temperature, a distinctive procedure in coffee production which its competitors don’t implement. Roasting the beans at a higher temperature accelerates the production process while diminishing the quality of the coffee beans – something that Gruppo Illy Spa was not willing to compromise on. They much prefer to roast the coffee beans at a lower temperature than average, in order to preserve the quality of their product.
One of the key drivers of disruptive quality in Gruppo Illy is the implementation of their values in every single one of their processes and strategies. They are driven by passion, tradition and a long-term vision – values which have proven to be crucial to setting the foundation stones behind the development of their competitive advantage.
They are certain that being a family-owned company has helped them maintain their quality goals throughout the years. It has prepared them to take on the challenge of diversifying and expanding, mainly through the acquisition of companies that aligned with their values. This is the case with Domori, their chocolate manufacturing counterpart; Illy’s mission is to make the best coffee in the world and to maintain that status, and that is the reason they choose to partner with Domori, who also have a vision to be the best at what they do – to be the best chocolate maker in the world.
Gruppo Illy Spa is not only setting new boundaries with its disruptive quality innovations, but it is doing it by retaining and strengthening its family values and traditions. They may not be doing the same things as their competitors, or meeting the market’s quality expectations, but they are maintaining their substance to the core of what they do, with passion, excellence and great ambition.
You can learn more about disruptive quality and business management in the video below, a Media Change exclusive.