Time to Put the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

With the conclusion of the legal authorization, the FEDETEC federation is officially born. This body will represent the Italian motion & power transmission sector in full integration. An open project that will act as a fulcrum for external companies inside the wider supply chain. We spoke to Marco Ferrara, ASSOFLUID director, and Fabrizio Cattaneo, ASSIOT secretary, the deus-ex-machina of the project.

by Silvia Crespi e Fabrizio Dalle Nogare

With the assembly of 23rd January, the birth of FEDERTEC has become a reality, while ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID had already undertaken their journey towards fusion. From the new HQ to event organization, to participation in InMotion projects, where are you on this pathway?
Ferrara: The formalities were brought to a conclusion on March 20th with legal approval. FEDERTEC is now a reality that will “house” ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID as sub-associations and which will be an ideal incubator for such organizations. Right now, we are working on following board directives to get the project off the ground.
This starts from the choice of logo (presented on May 8th, see box), to the set up of the new website, to the election of the new president and other board members during the assembly in June.
Cattaneo: The tricky part will be to fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. FEDERTEC is not a simple algebraic sum of the ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID parts, but the result of the technology and skills present in our macro-sector, including electronics, software and consultation.
This represents the entire power transmission supply chain. So, not only manufacturers but designers, assistance, service as well: a much wider overall scope.
It is an open platform and the goal is to attract other associations to us: this is the need we hear coming from companies as well as being a direct consequence of market evolution with an ever stronger technological integration. Today, systems have never been so complex, interfacing with each other through new technology. The FEDERTEC project is ambitious, but we are fully behind it.

What added value can resource sharing bring?
Cattaneo: The project foresees a shared finance and organizational structure, focusing on optimization of resources. The potential grass roots of the organization will be strengthened too. All this will allow us to do what we did before, but better through shared best practices. Association nature will not change: we will continue to be “an association” but a greatly improved one.
Ferrara: May I give an example, that will clarify the situation. As ASSOFLUID, excepting the CETOP training programme, we have never put a training programme together for members. ASSIOT, on the other hand, has always been highly involved in such projects. This will become an example of shared values, which, under the FEDERTEC umbrella, will have a far greater reach than under the previous set up. This will be equally true for services and other operations.

FEDERTEC strives to bring other supply players under one roof. Concretely, how do you intend to attract these groups, whether they be federations or associations?
Cattaneo: FEDERTEC has come from a clearly felt requirement for increased networking and the carrying of greater vocal impact from some of the biggest companies in our sector. This coming together across the sector must have its roots in the companies themselves, it is they who are the best promoters of the federation, bringing more and more firms into the group and participating in its activities. We are convinced that having this range of representatives who are constantly interacting will lead to the brightest decision-making process, one fully in line with cutting edge strategy.
Over the coming months we will need to be at our best to pass on to associates the real added value of FEDERTEC, as well as creating the new, desired image of the association. We are rolling up our sleeves, there’s plenty to do!
A risk that is always part of any merger is that of losing independence and identity. What steps do you intend to take not only to put members at ease, but, above all, to convince all those skeptical, of the benefits this fusion will bring? In other words, how would you respond to the fear of losing two well known, consolidated brands like ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID?
Ferrara: Risk evaluation in these contexts was undertaken and for this reason the federation format was selected as the best approach, in so doing, the two heritage brands ASSIOT and ASSOFLUID can be kept in fine fettle. It goes without saying that members will have to get used to a new approach and the assembly in June will be a great moment to swap opinions. We have invested much time in explaining the reasons behind the creation of FEDERTEC.
Cattaneo: I believe that the best medicine where opposition to a proposal exists is to use reason. Today we speak greatly about industrial automation and Industry 4.0, but it is essential to consider that transmission and fluid power are key elements in digital industry. Enabling technologies. To use an evocative image, where automation is the cream on your cappuccino, what is immediately visible, transmission and power are the milk and coffee. There is no cappuccino without milk and coffee! We are convinced that a sector of such high revenues and technological expertise must have strong visibility.

FEDERTEC aims to increase the weight of the sector’s influence in the definition of industrial political policy. Creating a network to be stronger together. Do you also believe that Italian companies must finally overcome the business model of “small is beautiful”?
Cattaneo: I don’t believe that the “small is beautiful” concept is either a fact or axiomatic when describing the set up of Italian production, while, undeniably, SMEs make up the foundation of the national industrial fabric. Surely, a lighter structure can improve flexibility, but this should not be confused with a company’s size. A bigger company is not synonymous with dragging bureaucracy. Company networks, something often talked about, are based on a contract, albeit one which has relative value where one party refuses to cede to decision making collaboration.
Ferrara: The world of business is increasingly complex. What we look to do with the creation of FEDERTEC is to optimize resources and strengths offering members the best possible service which is in line with their present day industrial needs.