Last month Design & Marketing Manager, Sara Catanzaro and General Manager, Greg Houlston, flew to Belgium to visit the Alsico Group headquarters in Ronse, Belgium. The trip gave them the opportunity to meet the Belgium team in person, enabled them to work closely with the group to advance the Meltemi healthcare brand, and discuss unification of the Alsico group in terms of both products and marketing.
We caught up with Sara, where she explained the value of the trip in more detail.
What was the aim of the visit?
"It was my first visit to the Belgium head office since joining Alsico in January 2021 following the relaxing of the Covid-19 Rules. It was a great opportunity to meet the Alsico team, many of whom I’ve had numerous video calls with but never actually met in person! Alsico NV and Meltemi have a similar healthcare programme and as such we have been working in collaboration on a number of projects so this was a great opportunity to meet face to face."
What did you do when you were there?
"We were given a tour by Alsico MD and Siau family member, Vincent Siau, who showed us the operation including the new head office build. It was only built recently, so we were shown the new office spaces which included the new, and very large, European based warehouse."
Warehouse based at Belgium Headquarters
"We also took the opportunity to travel to Ghent to visit the Inspire Health & Care exhibition where Alsico had a large stand. This allowed us to understand the European side of marketing in a deeper way and gave us inspiration on elements which may improve our UK operation."
"We had a demonstration of the group’s new Style Shoot machine. Our sister company Mollinel from France joined us. The Style Shot Machine is a new, automated photography studio which offers us flexibility in our future photoshoots. The machine itself is massive, like a room that you can physically walk into. It can take thousands of photos in a very short amount of time, and it can be all controlled remotely from an Ipad! We got to have a go too, which was good fun. You can learn more about it here https://styleshoots.com/live."
The team observing the Style Shoot machine
Where is the head office located?
"There are 2 office’s: Alsico NV are still in the old building but are due to move to the new Group head office and warehouse, which is about 2 miles down the road in the next year. Both are in Ronse – Belgium."
Who did you meet?
"We met Vincent Siau, Alsico NV Managing director as well as Gautier Siau, who is the Alsico Group Managing Director."
"I personally got to meet my Belgium counterparts. Dieter Balcaen, Product & Marketing Manager, and Natalie Van Der Braembussche, Product & Marketing Coordinator. It was great to meet them and find out what exciting new projects they are working on. It really got my creative juices flowing and got me really thinking about how I could put my stamp onto the Alsico UK product designs."
Inspire Health & Care exhibition
What has the trip inspired for the future?
"We came away feeling more united and inspired. It gave us some more ideas on how we can work closer with Alsico Group and utilize European influences to support and advance our Meltemi services, products and marketing.”
"Greg and I would like to thank the hospitality of all the Alsico teams who made us really welcome and we look forward to our next trip very soon. It was a lesson in the history of Alsico and how we are moving to a brighter future."