Photocredit: Official US Navy Imagary's Photostream
An MBA gave scientist Stefano Curti the courage to start a business transporting heavy goods around Europe from a base in rural Romania, far from his home in Italy!
Stefano, 39, is co-founder of DSF Delivery Freight Solutions.
He grew up in Italy and gained a degree in Industrial Chemicals in 1998.
He spent over a decade with GlaxoSmithKline as a scientist before joining the full-time MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano
in 2010. There he chose to concentrate in Entrepreneurship and Global Business.
Romania is well-placed for a logistics start-up: "Low taxes, low cost, and great location", said Stefano. He runs DSF with two other co-founders, one of whom is a classmate from the MIP MBA, out of Zalau, located in rural central Romania.
The small town of around 70,000 people is perfectly situated to move goods: it's close to the main Romanian railway for international freight and close to the A3 motorway for road deliveries.
The countries served by road are Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Benelux, Romania on a regular basis and Great Britain, France, Slovenia, and Hungary occasionally. Curti typically recommends rail transport for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Zalau is also close to the Rhine-Danube shipping route: Stefano says it's one of the cheapest and most environment friendly ways of transporing goods. DSF Delivery Freight Solutions also operates from Constanta Port in Romania.
Stefano explained that logistics providers render very specific services to particular companies so operators have to maintain a clear-cut strategy.
DSF focuses on cost reduction helping its clients with business strategy: “Our approach is to combine our expertise when consulting with companies. We want to help them cut costs and to enter new markets.
"We started with multinational companies and are exploiting all our connections in different areas of the world including South Africa, North Africa, Middle East and the Europe", said Stefano.
Three must-dos to run a logistics business are "Keeping to time, maintaining customer relations, and good marketing activities”, he said.
The biggest challenge DSF had was to get its first customers. The team talked with their network, family, friends and university alumni. They also started a website, and created a presence on social media. Stefano said they gained two clients via Facebook within the first two months!
At the moment, they are moving energy products for a company that provides hydrothermal services. They are also working with a furniture company and a company in the food industry.
Stefano believes that the MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano
allowed him to brush up his financial management skills. “There is a lot of cost involved so you must be very good at monitoring costs and being prudent”.
He also took advantage of the MBA projects and the chance to gain hands on experience with STMicroelectronics and Diligent, a start-up that provides SAP services and customizations to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
These opportunities allowed him to feel more confident about going into the world of entrepreneurship.
Their immediate goals are to grow their customer base (of course!) and to include an online procurement service. Stefano feels this will be very well received by their clients. In the meantime, he is enjoying learning Romanian and life in a small town!
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