Choosing the right mattress is the secret to a good night’s sleep. In this interview, Annunziato Marino of the Lamflex Group shares his knowledge about the intricacies of the bedding industry and the secrets to a quality sleep and healthy body.
The Lamflex Group was born in Italy over 50 years ago, thanks to the ancient and refined manufacturing skills and knowledge of its founders. The craftsmanship of the product, the choice of design, and the attention to detail has made Lamflex synonymous with excellence associated with the Made in Italy tag in the bedding sector.
Over the years, the know-how, specialization, attention to detail and above all, the desire to meet customer needs, have led Annunziato Marino, Lamflex’s Manager, to want to improve the standards of the product in terms of quality and comfort, transforming an idea into effective reality.
The growth of knowledge and the continuous observation of the market have helped in creating and gratifying a wide customer portfolio, from the distributor that seeks competitive and standardized products, the hotel that requires a guaranteed and certified product, to the small consumer who aspires to own a high quality solution wellness and relaxation custom product.
The continuous research of raw materials in partnership with leading manufacturers, has allowed an increasingly incisive growth in terms of the finished product quality. And the use of increasingly advanced technologies, i.e. instruments and equipments used in their production cycle, guaranteed a constant production of excellent workmanship at affordable prices while maintaining the highest standards of quality.
Today, Lamflex offers the best solutions for hotels, resorts, hospitals, ships, schools, shopping avenues, and homes, right from furniture design till the after-sales service. The experience gained so far, as well as professionals in the company sector, can definitely guarantee the efficiency of the service, product quality and technical and commercial competence.
For some time now, the Lamflex Group, based in Florence, has collaborated with prestigious Italian partners in the industry, taking competitive actions and winning, which till date has provided an opening in different sectors and markets. Annunziato Marino has always seen collaboration as a strong and forceful instrument from marketing and communication point of view, be it for the product and/or the company.
“The selection and placement of logistics of decentralized offices in the territory, is part of the company valuations”, says the logistics manager. “The proximity to the territories, both national and international, is a strategy in which the team has always believed in and has received investments in recent years. These choices are due to the desire to be in contact with the territories that utilize our products and where the before and after-sales service can be managed professionally and efficiently, as our business tradition has always taught us.”
The idea of having an international showcase has however, in recent years, been of interest to the Lamflex Group. The company is deemed ready to tackle new markets, and the management, welcomed the opportunity to start a cooperation strategy on an international platform, thus beginning a preliminary phase of territorial expansion by activating a real network of collaborations.
The process of collaboration with One1info started some years ago, and it has allowed the Lamflex Group to approach the business conditions on a global platform. Thanks to its vocation of international consulting and deep knowledge of marketing, One1info determined Lamflex’s approach to UAE, where the company has set up its Middle East location, and to all the countries in the Gulf. This has enabled Lamflex to appear as an increasingly efficient and credible organization in countries that had minimal/no information about their presence and capabilities. The professionalism of the working group of One1info has enabled Lamflex to synergize with the companies operational in the sector, and have a broad vision of market opportunities in all those countries where the One1info organization is present with its offices and its professionals.
The collaboration with One1info has also led to the opening of its decentralized offices on the Italian territory, so as to bring the competence and experience of the company to Italian organizations wishing to venture into the international market.
It was the result of a continuous market research and gradual inroads, as well as active conviction and corporate creed that led to the collaboration of Lamflex with the company “Golden Falcon” that operates in the UAE and in all the Gulf countries. The Lamflex Group thus began an action of marketing and communication at a global level combined with the professionalism and strong work ethics of the “Golden Falcon” team, who aimed at representing the Lamflex Group with the highest standards of quality and warranty the presence of the Italian brand on the shores of UAE.
This synergic cooperation has successfully re-affirmed the ‘Made in Italy’ brand in the foreign soil, and we are proud to represent the high manufacturing standards and the Italian entrepreneurial tradition through the collaboration with Lamflex. “A goal reached, thanks to the policies pursued by our company” expresses a member of Lamflex, which highlights how important it is to approach internationalization and create a difference.
“It is assumed that business decisions should necessarily switch from structural investments to innovation. However, we’re aware that currently our companies are unable to reach their maximum potential because the economic situation doesn’t allow it. For this reason, the solution is to initiate a synergy with the organization which may optimize the business efforts on the international scene, as was the case between the Lamflex Group and One1info. An organization is responsible for choosing its partners, but only through a careful professional analysis, else it wouldn’t be able to achieve its set goals and commitments,” says Annunziato Marino.
How did Lamflex get started? What is the background of the company?
The Lamflex Group was founded in 1960, and was created exclusively with strict artisanal production characteristics for the construction of mattresses with spring structure. Since its inception, the founding members, mattress-making masters, have stressed on quality and efficiency. In 1984, the members, thanks to the experience accumulated over the previous twenty years and to a consolidation of the market, decided to approach it as an industrial craft, adapting to the changes in the industry and technological innovations in the production process, investing in companies and thus acquiring a prominent position on the national scene in the production of mattresses and accessories. In 2001, we decided to install a new production facility that automates approximately 90% of the manufacturing processes, realizing a plurality of LAMFLEX products, thus affirming the brand in terms of reliability and quality. The quality of materials, the craft process, the originality of the fabrics and attention to customers are some of the features that have made the company strong in the manufacturing sector under the Make in Italy philosophy. Thanks to our vocation and our credibility in the market, I can certainly say that today Lamflex is a solid group that believes and invests in the know-how and the growth of markets, and always attentive to customer satisfaction and the different requirements of the sector by providing customized products and certificates (hotel – clinics – naval – residential). I am proud to represent 50 years of history, passed down for generations, am proud to be born and raised in Lamflex, and equally proud to be able to improve and grow the business in other markets, without neglecting the value of tradition while producing and refining every single procedure in order to make the product unique and innovative.
Is UAE the first international branch for the company? Why did Lamflex Group decide to set up their first international office at Ras Al Khaimah?
We started this process a few years ago. It was with a bit of curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit that we started to analyze UAE and its business potential. It was not the first time that a foreign market was proposed to us, but it was only in the UAE that we saw something different – a land of attractive and profitable opportunities. So we decided to install our first international office here. We finalized the Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone, as compared to the other states in the UAE the costs are more economical, and with the state experiencing a boom in the tourism and industrial sectors, they are winning factors for our business and market. In addition, Ras Al Khaimah services are efficient; the system favors the settlement of foreign operations and is a strategically important place. The internal policy of the state is very active and supports the development of infrastructure that is essential for those who must develop business. Not only did we receive a professional coaching at Ras Al Khaimah, we were also delighted at the hospitality and made us feel at home. This kind of attitude and service helps those who must develop business away from their territory. And we owe it to One1Info, an UAE company and Lamflex’s longtime collaborator. In fact, thanks to their professionalism, we were able to penetrate the local and surrounding areas and know all their aspects. It is a collaboration that is extremely beneficial to us and ensures its presence on all phases of work and development.
How is the sleep industry similar and/or different in Italy and UAE?
Though there is a marked difference between the products of our industry in Italy and the UAE, it has reduced to a great extent than it was in the past. This is because many companies, both European and non-European, who have settled in the territory have brought technological innovations to their products and processes, though we did find some differences in relation to the manufacture, materials research and design.
Italy is an expert in finishing and personalization. Not only the Italian companies, but almost all European companies have elevated their standards of production because the customer is more careful and exacting than before when choosing an essential thing for their daily life like the mattress. Today the materials we use reflect the standards for hygiene and transpiration of the mattress; we use quality fabrics, and non-toxic products. There is a substantial difference between some production processes in terms of technological innovation and implementation of training of the workforce. Craftsmanship is an essential skill in our industry and combined with the latest material and machinery technology it can enhance the quality of the end product immensely. In my experience, the mattress production industry of UAE misses the skill and knowledge that is typical to the craft made in Italy which would help to increase and improve production standards.
How has the bedding and mattress industry evolved over the years?
Over the years, the mattress and accessories sector has evolved significantly. A significant part of this evolution can be attributed to the media who have started making the public aware of the importance of bedding and mattresses along with specific product information. Especially in the last decade, this increased information has changed people’s habits; they are more attentive to materials and products that are comfortable without being allergic, and prove to be of adequate support for all types of postures assumed during sleep.
The sleep industry is gradually waking up to the benefits of a proper sleep leading to a boom in the mattress industry. How are you handling and adapting yourself with this renewed interest on sleep and the new crop of entrepreneurs invading the bedding technology and solutions market?
Keeping a close eye on the market helps us in anticipating the latest trends in the industry. Our company is focused on the search of innovative and cutting-edge materials, equipments and patents. Add that to our constantly evolving and competitive marketing strategies such as improved product structural design and specialized staffing, it allows us to open new markets and reach newer segments. Till date, we have been able to provide a high range of adjustable models for resting purposes; we’ve also optimized our turnaround time, as it is fundamental to the industry that needs to meet increasingly tight production times, thanks to a dense network of partners and professionals. The assistance and after-sales service, the application of innovation in design and the combination of technology and handicraft are some of the primary strengths of the Lamflex Group, especially in a field that’s invaded by experts and non-experts.
What are the main challenges faced by a customer in their search of an ideal bedding solution and how does Lamflex address those concerns?
Most often, the client does not consider the purchase of the mattress as a fundamental choice. In spite of spending an average time of 5-7 hours on the mattress per day, they often tend to evaluate it based on price rather than its features and benefits. It is important to consider the quality of sleep; sleep and rest often are not factors that coincide if you make a mistake buying the mattress. You need to rely on an established brand that guarantees the product and its materials, and pays a lot of attention to the type of tissue incorporated in the mattress as it is mostly low quality fabrics that cause sleep problems. The mattress should have an excellent transpiration system that ensures the regeneration of materials included in the product.
In our showroom, the customer can try our products, choose and participate in the implementation of the mattress, which are personalized and tailored to their needs. Adjacent to the showroom, distributed over an area of 3000 square meters, we have the production zone. We also have expert physiotherapists in our team who work both in the production phase of products and in the sales phase. We are absolutely ready and efficient to address any problem or change in customer requirements.
Can you describe a bit about the materials and technology used in the products manufactured by Lamflex Group and their benefits pertaining to the customers?
Our materials are selected and tested in collaboration with Italian companies who are industry leaders in the production of raw materials. All materials used in our production process are certified and tested by specialized laboratories that guarantee its quality and longevity. Initially, Lamflex used the Bonnell spring, traditional and reliable; to manufacture spring mattresses but then converted to High Density to give more elasticity to even the most simple spring units. We also use the pocket spring, which has a flexible, independent and responsive spring system, thus creating a structure and support that distributes the body weight differently in different regions. The other material we use is the flexible polyurethane foam. Its main characteristics are elasticity and resilience, requirements that make it able to withstand considerable deformation under stress and returning to its original size when the weight is removed. The density of the semi-finished product, varies according to the method of processing, and determines the rigidity and insulation capacity, as well as its flexibility.
For some years, there is a widely used Memory Foam, which distributes the weight uniformly across the contact area and provides physiologically correct and comfortable positions. It minimizes pressure points, hence improving the flow of blood circulation and allows the body to rest without stress and muscle tension. The unique structure makes it highly transpiring and fresh, avoiding the formation of humidity. We create the fabric in 3D, which is presented as a three-dimensional fabric in which the two surfaces are woven in network. A fundamental characteristic of the product is the high breathability thanks to the mesh structure and the orientation of the wires.
- Support for body and anti-sinking effect
- Water repellent
- Adaptation to the anatomical forms
Absolutely natural fibers and polyester grade
Materials capable of providing comfort through the use of mixed fibers, natural and synthetic; textiles those make for an enjoyable effect of freshness and are created out of antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial materials. All these different properties are due to special fibers inserted within the tissue or essences and applied directly on the surface of the finished product, bamboo fiber, silver fiber, aloe essences or oils from the tea tree, cellulose fibers or fibers characterized by particular sections that favor transpiration.
The new technology used is the system of cold foam, which consists in welding the layered materials that make up a box structure by means of the high temperature rubber release. A perfect welding prevents the deformation of the mattress, and ensures stability of materials over time. It is an innovative technique and an absolute winner in the sector.
What are the current trends in the sleep industry and how does the future of sleep technology look like?
Current trends in the production of mattresses are to build products that are closer and closer to the needs of comfort and well-being of people. The industry is constantly researching and studying more and more capable and technologically viable solutions. The sleep solutions should not only be durable, but also meet the various needs of rest which change from individual to individual becoming more and more subjective. We tend to create more attractive products and unique designs while retaining the features of craftsmanship that is synonymous with quality for the end customer. Technological breakthroughs into new materials in recent years, have allowed manufacturers to implement products in terms of quality and efficiency appreciated by our end customers. The future technology will be increasingly focused in the development of new machinery and materials that will allow us to improve our products.
What is the vision of Lamflex Group and where does it see itself in the next 5-10 years?
I definitely see myself in the territory of Ras Al Khaimah, thanks to a partnership with a local manufacturer of mattresses and accessories that is about to start. I have always believed in cooperation and I think they are a strong point for the companies and their goals, so the vision of Lamflex is certainly high on an international scope. The collaboration with our new production and the One1Info partners, are definitely a springboard for Lamflex for the countries in Gulf and in all areas where they are already present. We are ready to attack the market, in terms of quantity and quality, know-how, experience and ability to deal with other local entities have allowed us to present Lamflex through production and marketing in different environments, from homes to hospitals, and hotels to ships. The next few years are characterized by heavy investment in terms of development, market studies, search for innovation and improvement of production processes, and I must add that I hope will achieve much more in the following years.
Finally, how does Lamflex Group plan to contribute to the overall growth and development of Ras Al Khaimah and UAE?
The UAE definitely represents the international market and is of major importance. We consider this area as the ‘gateway’ for our expansion in the markets in the Gulf. We intend to contribute to the growth of the territory that welcomes us with our know-how and skills, making it our production and commercial base through which we’d expand to other countries. We’d like to export the know-how of our entire industrial group to Ras Al Khaimah thus contributing to the overall business development of the emirate.