MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina


The entrepreneurial training and the establishment of the business

During the 1930s, up until the outbreak of World War II, Waldemar Bragatti worked at Vulcanova, a company operating in the rubber industry which mainly manufactured bicycle tyres. Following the war, Bragatti was unemployed and decided to start his own business by exploiting the knowledge he had acquired at his previous job. Not having sufficient funds to start up the company, he located two partners with capital, Eugenio Vailati and Bruno Furigo, with whom he established the company Farmagomma s.n.c. in 1949. The company was located on Via Cimabue in Varese, just two hundred meters from his home. The partners' roles within the company were limited and the activities were almost entirely carried out by Bragatti himself. A short time later, Waldemar encountered Melodia, a medicine dropper manufacturer for the pharmaceutical industry, and went on to become the company's primary supplier.

Following the development of this sector and the acquisition of additional clients, including Capsulit, Drop and Stam Special, the company abandoned the production of tyres and specialized in the production of bulbs for medicine droppers. The company's first years coincided with an economic boom and Farmagomma also underwent significant growth. In 1960, in order to adapt to the new level of activity, the company capital was increased and Bragatti came to hold 60% of the shares. Vailati, who had not participated in the increase in capital, asked to be liquidated two years later. It was at this time that Bragatti made contact with Fradagrada, a pharmaceutical bottle dealer, and the company's product range expanded to include of the whole set of stoppers used for sealing infusion and antibiotics bottles, the use of which was increasing exponentially within hospitals at the time. The size of the company, however, remained small, since the owner was well aware that expansion would result in a more complex management.

From 1967 to 1989

The factory at Induno Olona was built in 1967 and the company headquarters were transferred to the new location, while Bragatti's home remained in Varese. In December of 1972, the company came under the exclusive control of the Bragatti family. Furigo withdrew from the company and Waldemar's son, Maurizio Bragatti, joined in his stead. Despite having earned a degree in pharmacy, Maurizio joined his father's company, as was expected of him and as he himself had always desired, and immediately took on full responsibility for running the business. Waldemar Bragatti, in fact, while officially remaining in the role of Farmagomma administrator, gradually withdrew from his active role within the company. The work was almost exclusively obtained through direct relationships with customers and by word of mouth, which prevented Farmagomma from having to resort to advertising. The company's most important clients were the companies that made up the major biomedical hubs of Valtellina and Modena. In a sector where suppliers are coveted and the primary focus is the quality of the supplied product, Farmagomma also maintained its historical customers. Likewise, the machinery did not undergo any significant changes, as improvements in productivity often led to relative reductions in the workforce and also resulted in decreased product quality. Changes in machinery sometimes proved to be more advantageous in terms of tax breaks, rather than in terms of technology. During these years, the peaks in production requirements were addressed through the use of homeworkers and subcontractors.

On November 20th, 1978, the company was transformed into a limited partnership and its name was changed to "Farmagomma sas di Bragatti Waldemar & c". The founder assumed the role of managing general partner, while Maurizio assumed the roles of limited partner and legal representative. On June 25th 1981, Farmagomma became a limited liability company. During this period, the company occupied an area of more than 900 square meters, which housed the moulding and finishing departments, as well as the product warehouse. A new building was constructed next to the original establishment in order to house the company offices. The company employed about thirty people and had customers both in Italy and abroad, nearly all of whom were concentrated within the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. Meanwhile, competition from Asia was on the rise, particularly Korea, resulting in the loss of a number of Farmagomma customers from 1983 to 1984 and ultimately requiring the company to resort to layoffs. The Asian products, however, were of low quality, and this allowed the European companies to eventually recover the lost market shares. During the subsequent period, Farmagomma experienced a significant recovery and entered into a new positive period that continued up until the mid-1990s.

From 1990 to 2008

More recently, the company has faced difficulties on two fronts: on the one hand, an industrial concentration process resulting in the formation of large groups in the sector of rubber pharmaceutical products; on the other hand, the arrival of intense competition from China. Despite these difficulties, Farmagomma recognized the importance of customer satisfaction and of offering high-quality products, and was among the first companies in the sector to obtain quality certification in 1996. Having opted not to expand in the past, Farmagomma could not compete with the larger companies, which had extensive sales networks; on the other hand, Chinese competition had learned the importance of offering not only low prices, but also quality products.

In order to increase its number of customers, therefore, and while remaining in the sector of pharmaceutical products, the company began focusing its production on the ophthalmology and cosmetic sectors, which required high-quality packaging for their products. This led to a nearly 50% decrease in sales by the late 1990s, which the company attempted to correct by marketing small quantities of various pharmaceutical products (such as sphygmomanometers, tubes and valves). Following the death of Waldemar Bragatti in the year 2000, the role of managing director was assumed by his daughter-in-law, Giovanna Garuglieri, who was later succeeded by the founder's wife, Orlanda Cacciari, in 2004. For the time being, succession is no longer an issue, above all given the uncertainty of the market, as well as the fact that the children of Maurizio Bragatti are engaged in study programs that take into account other professional options. Today, Farmagomma has 14 employees.