Business as usual for RCF
WORLD: For those distributors of Italian brands, the traditional August shut down in manufacturing can be a painful two-to-three week period. Sales enquiries go unanswered and servicing issues remain unresolved as communications fade away. Perhaps the Wi-Fi signals on the packed beaches and restaurants of the Adriatic and Mediterranean Seas are blocked out the in the summer heat or the mixture of cold drinks and mobile phones proves to be a fatal attraction. But for the eldest and largest of all Italian audio manufacturers, RCF, it’s almost business as usual.
Gazing down on the vast courtyard between the manufacturing, testing and woodworking facilities, there are frequent sorties of fork lift trucks between the buildings in addition to incoming deliveries and outgoing goods. Employees are darting between the buildings in order to minimise the 37C heat, allowing speckles of pink noise and the rhythm of mechanical engineering to burst through semi-open doors as they do. ‘There’s no slow down here,’ confirmed general manager Fausto Incerti from his first floor office. ‘If my forecasts prove to be correct, we’ll probably turnover €80 million this year.’
RCF has quadrupled sales in the 12-13 years since establishing the company in late 2003, whilst the 300 personnel currently on the payroll represents a 300 per cent increase in staff levels over that same period. Although the Reggio Emilia giant delved into the Italian stock market in 2007 for several years by issuing shares, these figures are made all the more remarkable by the fact that it has been achieved organically.
‘When I first joined in 1988, around 85-90 per cent of RCF’s manufacturing sales were destined for the domestic market,’ furthered Mr Incerti. ‘Today 84 per cent of our sales are export. Over the past 12 months, we’ve been recording great success in North America and our references are becoming more interesting.’
Prior to the recent InfoComm exhibition in Las Vegas, RCF was contracted to provide a sound reinforcement upgrade for Fremont Street’s Viva Vision LED display canopy. Covering a four-city block stretch, RCF supplied a total of 50 clusters each comprising six HDL20-A dual 10-inch active line array modules together with one SUB 8005-AS active 21-inch subwoofer.
Working alongside the Fremont Street Experience crew, a Reggio-Emilia team of engineers designed the custom configuration by using an existing frame from a previous system and incorporating the six HDL20-A cabinets in an arc mounted between two fly-bars, with the SUB 8005-AS subwoofer mounted on top of the frame.
As in previous years, its extensive Pro Light & Sound presence in Frankfurt related to a mass of R&D breakthroughs at the company. The flagship D-Line system in the form of the large format HDL50-A three-way active line array module took centre stage. In addition, the HDL53-AS cabinet, HDL6-A active two-way line array, HDL12-AS subwoofer, TTL6-A three-way active line source, TT45-SMA dual 10-inch monitor, CK Series and SUB 9006-AS were also showcased. Having filled the missing link in its systems philosophy two years ago with the unveiling of the mixer division, RCF added the E Series at Frankfurt together with M18 digital mixers.
‘I’d like to think we’re a stable company,’ countered Mr Incerti. ‘We grow the business day-by-day and set ourselves a realistic series of long term objectives. There isn’t really a magic formula to what we do – by continuing to invest and re-invest in new product development, we have consistently gone forwards. We keep an eye on ever-changing market developments and listen carefully to our customers in order to keep one step ahead. We’ve collectively maintained this attitude for the past 12 years and shared the same ethics. It has served us well. As a result, everyone enjoys working here by sharing the same passion that we are building a better future. Few people actually leave RCF! Not only that, we have solid relationships with our business partners – not just our distributors and customers, but also our suppliers. When you have solid relationships, you can overcome any problems that may arise.’
As the shift ends, work stations are still in action, employees are completing tasks and RCF are refusing to go home. Perhaps it’s still too hot outdoors or the workers have developed a phobia of sunshine, sand and lazy summer days.