Bravi’s international reach in the U.S.
By Lindsey Anderson03 April 2023
From trade shows, advertising and events geared toward rental companies, Bravi Platforms has strategically targeted specific global markets over the decades to build its reputation and brand. Lindsey Anderson reports
Born in 1957 to a modest family of farmers in a small village located in the Marche region of Italy, Pierino Bravi, owner and founder of Italy’s Bravi Platforms, quickly learned the importance of hard work, perseverance and to always believe in everything he did.
His determination and dedication have been the motif of his life: starting with his cycling career – during his youth he took part in three Giro d’Italia (Tour of Italy) amateur races – and throughout his work and entrepreneurial life.
ALH recently spoke with Pierino Bravi to discuss the company’s evolution and future plans.
ALH: Braviisol, originally a drywall installation company, was formed in 1980. Six years later, Braviisol introduced the B.P.3. Please discuss the B.P.3’s original design, and how it eventually evolved into the company’s best-selling Leonardo HD.
Bravi: The Bp3 was a unit that allowed work up to 59 feet in order to grant comfort and safety to operators. I used to work a lot in the industrial sector and thanks to its features, the BP3 was ideal for this context.
In the ‘90s, after the BP3, we completed the range with the LUI model. A motorized, 29-foot-working-height unit with rack modular elements that could be overlapped onto each other. The LUI (which in Italian literally means “HIM”) system was born in the early ‘90s with the concept of working “Io e LUI” aka “Me and HIM” to highlight the worker’s ability of being totally autonomous while performing his job.
In fact, this specific name implied the concept that the workmate had to be the platform itself. Right after, toward the end of the ‘90s, the LUI S.I. 900 was launched. The initials S.I. referred to the hydraulic system installed on the unit, explaining the transition from a lifting modular mechanism to the more practical and effective hydraulic version.
In the same timeframe, we started to notice that our international competitors were evolving their products, especially scissors, in terms of quality and possible applications, and we realized that the market of low work-at-height had been left completely open.
We decided to focus on a product that the market did not offer at the time. So, since the end of the ‘90s, Bravi Platforms decided to abandon the market of medium/higher heights to invest on the potential of the lower ones. During this period, the LUI MINI SI was born, positioning itself in a slice of the market until then occupied only by ladders and scaffolding.
Around 2005/’06 we internationalized the brand, renaming the unit, “Leonardo: The Italian genius.” From the beginning, the product started to arouse great interest and appreciation, which was also reflected from the sales point of view.
This unit as it was, however, was not particularly suited to the needs of rental companies. That’s why, with the restyling carried out between 2010 and 2011, we made the product more reliable, functional and suitable for the needs of this type of customer.
From this moment on, the product was named Leonardo HD (Heavy Duty) and become the one we know today on the market. Over the past 10 years we only performed small adjustments that were made at extending the life, quality and performances of the unit itself.
ALH: Please explain your North American business operations.
Bravi: We initially entered the North American [market in 2008] with a distributor, but we then decided to step back and sell directly to rental companies. Today the way we do business means that we manufacture, ship and deliver our units directly from our headquarters in Italy. The same concept applies to spare parts, which are shipped and delivered within 24-48 hours after the reception of the order from Castelfidardo (Italy). Regarding service, we rely on a network of local partners who support our customers with the maintenance aspect.
Any opportunities to come this year? Leonardo HD is not simply a compact and versatile lift, but it represents a real innovative system to face and work in the jobsite. Operators working in constructions have a great need of such product, especially to eliminate the risks of accidents and injuries caused by the use of ladders and scaffoldings. Only from the regulations point of view, that pushes towards a change in this sense, I can expect nothing but an enormous growth for this kind of product.
If we think about the target applications and trades, thanks to the features allowing Leonardo HD to be used in all those projects where ceilings have a 16-foot height, the list of possibilities is literally endless. Schools, hospitals, offices, shopping malls, airports, residential and governmental and hotels are just a few of them. If we want to talk trades, starting from mechanical and electrical contractors, painters, plumbers, sprinklers, plasterboard and ceiling installers to facility managers, the use of this unit can be expanded literally to every sector.
ALH: Do you see potential for growth and additional acceptance for this equipment in North America? Why or why not?
Bravi: Like I said, Leonardo HD is a revolutionary product for the jobsite and after observing how effectively has penetrated the European market, I believe that in North America will be no different. In my opinion there are all the conditions for this unit to take off.
“The Leonardo is designed to bring happiness to everyone working on and around the jobsite. By providing a high level of comfort it makes operators happy and able to go out and grab a beer at the end of the working day, instead of crashing of the sofa tired at night.”
- Pierino Bravi, founder and owner of Bravi Platforms
ALH: How do the European and North American markets vary when it comes to utilization?
Bravi: From a point of view of utilization, I personally do not see particular differences between the two markets, because the comfort, safety and applications it offers are common and fundamental for both the European and the American market.
ALH: How have supply chain issues affected production over the last two years?
Bravi: In 2022, the widespread lack of components, especially of motor controllers, led us to growth in sales lower than expected, however this didn’t reflect on the turnover which, despite this problem we managed to increase of a + 11% in 2022 and of a +60% in 2021.
ALH: What have you done to circumvent these?
Bravi: We worked in increasing and implementing our supply chain and invested in the production’s automation. The fact that we managed to organize ourselves well and promptly in the previous two years has meant that for 2023 we currently do not foresee any particular shortcomings.
ALH: What are some current industry trends for vertical mast/low-level access equipment that are worth noting?
Bravi: I’ve noticed an increase in the number of companies that are producing small mobile platforms, and that many large companies are entering the world of low heights, but I don’t think there are any particular innovations worthy of note.
ALH: What updates or changes to the Leonardo line can customers expect?
Bravi: Having spent the first 20 years of my life on the jobsite, I can say I have a good knowledge on the challenges operators and contractors face every day. That’s why I believe that the Leonardo HD as it is today can perfectly answer to the needs of this sector for many more years to come.
ALH: You recently introduced a new online parts portal. Have there been any updates or additions to this? If so, what?
Bravi: For us at Bravi, the customer has the highest priority and our goal is to provide the best possible support also in terms of assistance.
With Bravi Parts we wanted to give anyone with a Bravi unit the opportunity to independently order at any time, from anywhere in the world and with any device, the parts needed to make replacements, together with the corresponding procedures to do the job. Right now we are working on implementing the website by adding video tutorials on how to change parts and making them accessible with a simple touch to everyone in need.
ALH: What’s ‘next’ for the company?
Bravi: Bravi Platforms has already invested on a new production site that will rise on an area of approximately 80,000-square-meters. This area hosts a 10,000-suare-meter plant and has the space to support a further expansion. The project is to use this area to build a cutting-edge, modern factory.
ALH: Anything else?
Bravi: I would like to spend a few words on the very simple concept behind the Leonardo HD. The Leonardo is designed to bring happiness to everyone working on and around the jobsite.
By providing a high level of comfort it makes operators happy and able to go out and grab a beer at the end of the working day, instead of crashing of the sofa tired at night. It makes contractors happy because productivity and safety sensibly increase. Finally, it makes rental companies happy because those who use it, keep on asking to use and work on it. Like all the good things that make people happy, it took many years to perfect it, but after 30 years of work, I’m very proud of the product we achieved.