Quality: the Goal

“Quality is us” this is the payoff chosen by Galgano group for the 31st National quality campaign 2019. The first meeting was held in Milan in December and saw the presence of three players of excellence in their respective fields: Rettificatrici Ghiringhelli, Pagani Automobili and SKF Industrie.

by Laura Alberelli

There were a great number of entrepreneurs and top managers present at the first event of the 31st National Quality campaign in Milan last December, promoted by the Galgano group. During the session, the three companies involved, Rettificatrici Ghiringhelli, Pagani Automobili and SKF Industrie (whose experience will be recounted in this article), shared with those present their Quality direction, showing that there is no single route to follow but rather an approach based on a company’s individual context.: “The ethical value of Quality, an example of the social wealth of a country – explained Mariacristina Galgano, Galgano group CEO – can be measured by the quality of its services, that any individual, irrespective of their social or economic circumstances can receive a quality service. The ethical value of Quality means there is partnership between a company and its suppliers. This is fundamental for Italian firms. The ethical approach allows suppliers to grow and be involved in product and service development. Many companies look to improve the level of supplier management profile.
The client can be the deciding factor, stimulating progress, where they express their rights in a civilized way, indicating where a problem or disservice has occurred. Questions of local territory, networking and environmental aspects are also key points.
An ethical approach means trust, independence, allowing people to focus on purpose, what their company is looking to achieve.
At management level, quality is setting an example, being available to those creating client value, what is known as servant leadership. The humility to listen and observe. At an individual level, feeling responsible, understanding your scope.
This is where the Lean approach is born, and with it, its two fundamental cornerstones: continuous improvement and waste reduction. The worst form of waste a company can experience is that of worker intelligence and skills.
Another crucial aspect of Lean is competitiveness and speed; today process improvement cannot last long, speed means being effective”.

A virtuous cycle eliminating waste
If Rettificatrici Ghiringhelli is an example of a typical SME, SKF (global supplier of bearings, seals, mechatronics, lubrification systems and services) is emblematic of a global player with branches in 130 countries around the world.
For many years now, SKF has been focusing on the Lean Production system incorporating rules and tools in each SKF plant meaning every location is “speaking the same language”. During his presentation, Antonio Molle, Global Operations Manager at SKF Industrie, demonstrated the connection between Lean and innovation. “The fact of heading up 11 plants around the world means I am able to get a global vision of trends in place and take decisions to improve company performance in areas in which we are not currently a leading player. As we all know, production is increasingly based in Asia, especially India and China. Europe has to react to this and reorganize accordingly. Comparisons with China and the production levels they are churning out are sobering for us here. There, everything is digitalized at breakneck pace, in Europe there is a different speed, slower undoubtedly, with less investment in digital. Studying the overall market, European industry is starting to show its age, it can count on reliable technology, high levels of stability and automation but with “dated” approaches especially in “connected” industry. In my opinion, every company is responsible for organizing its competitive approach which, together with digitalization and quality, are the three keystones of Lean Production. At SKF we have our way of implementing Lean Production, starting from a single point of excellence, the centre of everything we do is the person, the process, the client and the supplier. A virtuous process of reducing waste and eliminating operations not contributing to added value. Our intention is simple: to be “world class” in everything we do.

Inter-connected production lines
To keep labour and material costs under control, and in so doing, increase competitiveness, SKF launched its Digital 2twin pilot scheme in 2018. This foresees an entirely digital transformation of its company in Cassino into an Industry 4.0 plant.
“The goal is to define the standards which will then be transferred to other plants focusing on rigid radial bearing production. Through remote production processes and the use of IoT, waste will be reduced and added value increased”, underlines Antonio Molle.
“Digital 2twin is akin to an orchestra, creating data, making process decisions, self-learning and providing feedback. This means we can guarantee a client product traceability and safety as well as predictive maintenance.
The aim is to eliminate waste entirely, with Lean production and quality standing at the base of digital factory future.
The next step will be to read and exploit the quantity of big data now being produced in each plant. Not forgetting that within this digitalized process, the person is still at the centre of the operation, including the question of skill conversion. A psychologist is currently working with teams to analyze points of strength and weakness among team members.
All stakeholders will be involved in the project, although we recognize that we are in the initial stages with 2020 bringing the creation of digital clusters, which dialogue and work together in parallel. This transformation will require personnel with excellent digital motivation and these are the people we are investing in right now.
Thanks to consultancy with the Galgano group, we are beginning a pathway toward excellence which will involve all those present inside the company as well as external collaborators (such as suppliers) without distinction of role or level. Another aspect of the partnership with Galgano that I find particularly stimulating is the opportunity to come into contact with a great variety of companies and collaborators. I believe networking is the best way to achieve results. Let us not forget that the term digital transformation does not only refer to technology but to people too.
Lean production is a person based approach, just as quality is”.