When it comes to the gear industry, Rich Piselli just couldn’t stay away.
Piselli is president and founder of Piselli Enterprises, a venture he started in 2016.
But Piselli’s expertise with the gear market reaches back decades, and it is that extensive knowledge that is a major crux of his most recent foray into the industry.
“What I’ve done and been able to do is assist as well as supply the industry with good used and remanufactured equipment,” Piselli said. “I’ve also been able to assist groups and then mentoring them as they buy and sell their different companies.”
Piselli Enterprises, based out of Statesville, North Carolina, offers up high-quality new and used gear machinery along with associated manufacturing equipment. In addition to helping companies find the best ways to meet their goals and future projects, Piselli Enterprises offers solutions to its customers’ gear, spline, and gearbox manufacturing needs, according to Piselli.
Piselli’s passion is selling gear machinery as well as gear companies.
“I’ve found a few purchasers for other groups when asked and enjoy helping customers and companies who are looking for more strategic partners, and I’m able to assist and consult in that avenue as well,” he said. “Not only for their equipment, but actually for entire businesses and better partners. So, I enjoy doing that, and I’m for hire for that as well. With the vast amount of connections I’ve had over the years and the top people I’ve known in the industry, I’m able to really assist more so than I thought I could, in fact. And I enjoy it. I enjoy finding things that help people over time because I know when it’s time for groups to either forge ahead themselves or seek other ways to expand. In this day and age, if you’re not growing, you’re shrinking. And sometimes that’s good, if that’s where you are in your stage of what you want to do as an individual or as an owner. And at times, you look the other way and possibly look to sell. And I might be a good source for people thinking about that as they look toward the future and to what they really want to do.”
Newer, leaner company
When Piselli started Piselli Enterprises, a goal of his was to make sure the company functioned at a more streamlined pace.
“With the changing times, we needed to change, so we became more lean and able to withstand the ever-changing economy and environment,” he said. “Finding solutions for people, that’s really what I do now. And being that we’re lean, I’m able to spend the time to go out and do some of these other things as well.”
Having been in the gear industry for almost 30 years, Piselli said he has quite a lot of experience in helping other companies see how to grow their businesses.
“I hate to say it, but I’ve seen it all,” he said. “I’ve seen the good ones, and I’ve seen the bad ones. I’ve got a lot of insight into ways to do things and ways not to do things in a short time frame.”
For each customer, how to get to the end result can differ, according to Piselli.
Helping the customer
“Each customer’s got a different swing on just about everything in regards to what they want or what they’re expecting, or just getting simple information,” he said. “To truly understand it, most people ask a question with a question, or they may not truly understand, or maybe they don’t want to hear the answer. But they do want to hear something.”
A lot of times people want something, but they don’t know exactly what they want, according to Piselli. A lot of people say they want to grow, or they want to sell, but there are many factors that need to be considered with those generalities:
- Can it be done with more or better equipment?
- Can it be done with more people?
- Can it be done with robots?
- Can it be done with more insurance?
- Can it be done by going over the 50-person rule?
- Or does it really need to be done at all?
“Do you want more sales or do you just want better margins?” Piselli said. “Because more isn’t better; bigger isn’t better. Sometimes more flexible means more profitable. And there are just a lot of challenges, too, with the way things are changing. You need more people to get more things done. But the issue is finding employment and the people.”
Labor, and in particular, skilled labor has become more of a deciding factor when Piselli mentors companies seeking growth or change.
“The users today, they’re good at pushing buttons and phones and computers, but there’s a lot of difficulty in training the older people to get in there and start running the CNC stuff,” he said. “They just don’t want to do it.”
And another factor when considering CNC equipment is that it can quickly become an expensive prospect, which could be problematic to smaller companies.
“The new machines compensate for ‘operator error’ or mistakes, it’s all CNC controlled, but those are big money,” Piselli said. “That’s expensive stuff. And you just can’t throw anybody on it. And at the end of the day, it’s a different type of operator.”
Working up a game plan
Having an almost innate knowledge of the inner workings and changing industry allows Piselli to talk to customers and work up a game plan.
“There’s so many people I talk to in any given week, that I might be able to find somebody looking right now to expand and grow their company,” he said. “For them, it’s a fairly simple process. They pick up a phone; we talk; we look at certain ideas in sales and volumes, some profit margins and just really go into some minor details and take quick bits of information. From that, I’m able to take it to the next level and put together a conversation.”
Piselli’s previous business endeavors, which most recently included RP Gear Technology Enterprises, have made names for themselves, particularly in developing gear gashing machines that used the new form milling cutter technology and by being a leader in the buying and selling of used gear equipment as well as its industry name recognition.
“Being the RP behind RP,” Piselli said. “And the same thing now, being the Piselli behind Piselli. And we look to do those same things, but with a little more care and a little more understanding and not as driven by the almighty dollar.”
Piselli Enterprises is housed in a 150,000-square-foot facility 40 minutes from the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport. Primarily, Piselli Enterprises serves the gear industry, however, the company also assists manufacturing companies with turnkey solutions for their gearing and gearbox needs.
Gear industry liaison
Piselli considers himself a liaison of sorts to gear companies and the industry they serve.
“I’m just coming back from the AGMA delegation to China,” he said. “Our group of 13 visited 10-to-12 companies in China during that 13-day mission. We met with the CGMA, the Chinese Gear Manufacturers Association, and discussed many ways to work together, and also, while visiting these companies and being a liaison for the industry, I can be out there and see what other countries are doing in their gear markets and in their manufacturing processes. Not only am I able to assist companies here in America, but I’m able to step out of that box and take the time to go visit and learn more about other manufacturing groups throughout the world.”
By having the time to venture out beyond his facilities, Piselli has been able to keep his finger on the pulse of the gear industry.
“Things are going to change; our industry is going to change,” he said. “Consolidation will happen with other companies, which means there’s going to be less and less buyers out there that we deal with today. As we get less and less of those buyers, technology is going to play a role in how we deal with these customers and these buying groups. And the same thing with the services, and there’s going to be opportunity with that.”
There’s going to be a growing need for more service people, because as more companies merge, the OEMs won’t have the people necessary to take care of the equipment, and they will have to focus on the bigger groups that buy more equipment, according to Piselli.
“And the little guys will get left behind,” he said. “I think there’s going to be some niches in the future where we can either expand in those areas to assist the ever-increasing requirement for service and continue to grow with technology in mind. And that ever-changing technology is the real question mark.”
But Piselli said that challenges such as these are what keep him energized and ready to help any gear company to prepare for them, and it is what drew him back into the gear industry with Piselli Enterprises.
“We are back in the business and looking for more,” he said. “We can offer a lot to the people who are reading this article for the first time, and the ones who know me from the past, give me a call at 704-609-0766 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org; I’d love to catch up.”
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