A Virtuous Circle

A Virtuous Circle
(l-r) Jose Maria Compagni, EFESME Secretary General Luciano Faletto and Massimo Bezzi

FEPYMA-EFESME partnership proves that multiple voices are better than one.

by Elettra Bilibio

One of the strengths and the pride of the European Federation for Elevator Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EFESME), is its continuous constructive and creative collaboration with its members, i.e., the national associations representing these small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The relationship created over the years with the Spanish Federation of Lift SMEs (FEPYMA) proves how the connection between the national entities and the European sphere is necessary for both to work at their best, enrich themselves with knowledge and use this knowledge to continue their activities in support of SMEs. This creates a favorable working and regulatory environment for all. To support this collaboration, José Maria Compagni, coordinator of the Spanish association, is the main point of contact with FEPYMA and a valuable member of the team of experts working with EFESME and its secretariat (your author) in Brussels.

FEPYMA gathers more than 100 lift installers and maintainers SMEs and manufacturers throughout Spain. FEPYMA represents approximately 25% of all companies in the entire market in the Iberian country, and its members manage and maintain a significant part of the entire elevator portfolio, with sound and competitive family-owned companies.

The partnership with FEPYMA officially started in November 2006, when the Spanish association became a member of EFESME, adding the important Spanish market and its lift SMEs to the Federation’s network. This represented a fundamental step toward full, solid and widespread representation of the interests of all SMEs in the sector at the European level.

Over the years, this collaboration has been strengthened through a series of joint commitments and events organized with a common aim: to bring the Spanish lift SME market closer to the European sphere and create a virtuous circle between these two sectors, based on the continuous and profitable exchange of information, ideas and proposals.

In fact, EFESME has often participated in internal FEPYMA meetings, from both a technical and political point of view, to present the activities of the Federation and what the latter — with the support of its national members and technical experts — can do at the European level to strengthen the voice of lift SMEs. At the same time, the two associations jointly organized several meetings and workshops and participated in each other’s events and seminars. This has meant that, over the years, an increasingly close relationship between the two has developed.

In September 2016, the national seminar on sectoral representation at the EU level was organized in Madrid by EFESME and Small Business Standards (SBS) with the support of FEPYMA to inform SMEs about the developments of European standardization in the lift sector, stressing the importance of being present to write SME-friendly standards. Introduced by then Vice-President of EFESME Massimo Bezzi, the seminar, in addition to the three organizing associations, also saw the participation of the European Commission — consisting of DG Grow (the European Commission’s directorate-general for internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs responsible for EU policy on the single market, industry, entrepreneurship and small businesses) AENOR (the Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification) and CEN-CENELEC (European Committee for Standardization-European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) — to provide a well-rounded view of the topic.

A Virtuous Circle 2
(l-r) Alexis Nadal of Nayar Systems and José Maria Compagni of FEPYMA

Subsequently, in February 2018, EFESME and Bezzi participated in the FEPYMA Congress in Madrid, a two-day roundtable of conversations on a variety of technical/regulatory topics that allowed the Federation to reach out to Spanish SMEs and share with them the activities EFESME carries out for their protection at the European level.

In March 2020, with the emergence of the COVID-19 emergency, EFESME participated in a video conference on the subject organized by FEPYMA. During the event (part of a series of shared initiatives to support the lift industry in the beginning of the pandemic due to the lack of clarity and sudden state of the emergency), it was possible to talk about contingent and specific safety measures, such as the need for and availability of personal protective equipment. The conference also was an opportunity to compare different European realities in a strong spirit of cooperation.

In November 2020, EFESME and its experts, accompanied by SBS, EFESME’s SME partners in Europe, the Commission, CEN and many other stakeholders, participated in the first edition of the European Lift SME Congress. The two-day conference and sectorial event allowed SMEs in the sector and their representatives to exchange views with major partners and players from Europe, including academia and those in the lift industry. The Congress also highlighted not only the importance of SME-friendly innovation, research and standardization in the sector, but also the crucial importance of collaboration between national and European entities — a collaboration exemplified by the strong relationship between EFESME and FEPYMA.

Reflecting this collaboration, Compagni has often been a speaker and guest at EFESME and SBS events, such as the SBS Lift Forum on Digitalization (December 2018), the SBS Lift Seminar on Cybersecurity in the Lift Sector and the SBS Lift Forum on Safety at Work (December 2020), to name a few. His participation, representing the Spanish lift sector and its numerous and active SMEs, confirms that working together with national entities is crucial. Such collaboration ensures that national positions become known at the European level and duly taken into account during debate. These positions are then brought to the most important discussion tables of high-level European institutions.

Finally, from an institutional point of view, the cooperation between EFESME and FEPYMA has been strengthened in recent years such that we can now count on the presence of Compagni (who is also one of two vice presidents of the Federation) alongside his Bulgarian colleague, Damyan Petrov. The active and direct participation of Compagni guarantees the Federation not only a direct and indispensable meeting point with the Spanish national SME community, but also a lot of food for thought and input about various activities. This is thanks to Compagni’s decades of experience in the sector and the wealth of information provided by SMEs and their technicians.

Compagni also leads the Federation’s new Membership Working Group. This internal group aims to develop more new methods to involve EFESME members in its activities at the European level to create an even stronger link between the European sphere and the different national players. Workshops, events and dialogue-rich meetings are the end goals of the ambitious project that Compagni — supported by the EFESME Secretariat in Brussels — will develop in the months and years to come.

In this spirit of continuous and fruitful cooperation, EFESME is sure to be able to rely more and more on the important input from the Spanish market to create a useful synergy between the parties to bring more and more benefits and support to lift SMEs. From the national to the European and from the European to the national, EFESME is convinced it can develop an even-stronger virtuous circle with FEPYMA, as well as with its members and experts all over Europe.

Elettra Bilibio

Elettra Bilibio

Elettra Bilibio is EFESME secretariat and policy advisor.

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