Everything changes (including automation)

STRATEGIES Business organization, market policy, technologies, products and services: to continue being a leading provider of industrial automation Schneider Electric has improved its way of doing business, focusing on max flexibility. Food for thought from their latest "show" organized for the OEMs in Munich. Stefano Lavorini

As well as products, Schneider Electric can do things on a grand scale and has proved so once again organizing the event Machine NOW 2011 in Munich. Around 1,100 European OEMs (plus 200 staff members) took part, from 14th to 16th September, at the show-conference held at the M.O.C. Events Center. Updates were available on how to design machines faster, to make them more flexible and more efficient in terms of energy, reduce time to market, but visitors were also able gain a firsthand view of solutions implemented on machines up and running.

A truly unique project

The market of coffee, tea and herb tea capsules is in ferment and seeking reliable suppliers for high-performance systems. The UNIQUE project was created and has been developed to meet this demand, fielding a first-rate technology offer, successfully covering the needs of an entire segment.

UNIQUE establishes the collaboration between three Italian companies in their respective fields of excellence: Sarong (thermoforming systems), Opem (capsule filling systems) and Cama (cardboard packaging lines).

The future? It’s already here

New machines, optimized procedures, stronger partnerships, good sales performance during the first months of the year: the morning after massive restructuring that has brought new members, Rovema looks optimistically to its future, leveraging its first-rate technological knowhow, the development of cutting-edge solutions and service.

According to Thomas Becker, managing partner, Rovema’s “new course” seems to have begun under the best of auspices:
«The Fernwald facility currently employs 340, the volume of orders is even more than expected, and our expectation of exceeding 45 million euro in turnover proves realistic».

Brazil: the New World

Following through on a strategy of delocalizing its production and commercial activities, Etipack “disembarks” firmly in Brazil and founds Etipack America.

The prospect of a better life drove this generation of Italians’ grandparents, one hundred years ago, to seek their fortune in South America, particularly Argentina and Brazil. Today the statistics paint a picture of São Paulo as the world’s biggest “Italian” city; in fact, this place, which offers incredible opportunities for work, is home to nearly 5 million Italian citizens, and Italian entrepreneurs, politicians, teachers and artists have operated for years in Brazil.

Growing in Quality

CERTIFIED AND RESPONSIBLE The ISO 9001:2008 quality certification attained last April testifies to the process of profound renewal enacted by Acma SpA (Coesia group), and that will soon involve the other related industrial concerns.

As Robert M. Pirsig writes in the book Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: «The quality and the stimulus continue with our environment that urges us to create the world we live in». In company terms, the concept obviously needs to be interpreted in a less abstract way: thus “Quality” becomes a work method whereby the application of more efficient working and production principles leads to an evermore successful satisfaction of customer demands. At the same time, the quest for Quality leads to the development of a human scale professional working environment where policies of cooperation and teamwork are pursued.

The strategic role of prices

Prices represent the most effective and important leverage in a concern’s marketing strategy: on one hand it is the most powerful and effective tool for communicating value, on the other hand it plays an essential role in the formation of the concern’s profitability. In industry, for example, the margins are generally so limited that a price increase of 3%, or even 2% or 1%, without a decrease in volume enables strongly increasing profitability.

… A paper future

INTEGRATED GROUPS Sensational growth, sustained by intense business and millions invested in new installations, both in corrugated cardboard and in paper converting. Innova Group is beating performance records and betting on…

A 2010 turnover of 67 million euro - the highest in the group’s history - with 37% growth and a 20% increase in volume. Innova Group (Caino, Valtrompia, BS) came away with these results from a period of activity which is being recorded as the year of the post-crisis shift, but which many concerns lived with the apprehension of market instability. The situation was worsened by the relentless rises in raw materials prices, which, almost month by month, proved a hard test for customer relations and profitability.

The Mondi way

PAPER, BOARDS AND PACKAGING Technology update, safety, better product quality and lower environmental impact. These results obtained with the implementation of the STEP project, thanks to which Mondi Syktyvkar has become a state-of-the-art mill. Daniela Binario

STEP is the name given by Mondi to the project that lasted from July 2008 to September 2010, which involved investments of 545 million euro in one of its production sites, that of Syktyvkar in the Komi Republic, Russia.

Strategy for the SMEs: Blue Ocean?

From the fierce competition of saturated markets typical of the “red oceans” to the new markets without competitors where growth is unopposed as in a “blue ocean”. How to make the change? Here are the rules.

The Blue Ocean Strategy is the theory by which the markets where enterprises of any type operate are metaphorically seen as two parallel oceans of different colors, one red and one blue, according to the way in which one decides to operate on the selfsame market.

Packaging everything Coesia: a cohesive group

CREATING MEANING AND VALUE Coesia chose Interpack to affirm its identity as a group, with a structure and management capable of solving the packaging problems of many manufacturing sectors at a global level. And it did so in great style, with 40 machines operating, including - an absolute premiere - a complete Acma line for producing and modelling chocolate, integrated with three different packaging machines. The stand was an important meeting point, where we met persons the calibre of Terry Davies (Unilever), who explained to us the expectations of a brand owner at world level. S.L.

Raw materials: how costly you are

INKS Fabio Deflorian, CEO of Sun Chemical’s italian branch, reasons on the rise in raw material costs that are affecting the entire packaging segment (and not only there), constituting an obstacle to activity planning and jeopardising profits. This despite a recovery that, in terms of volumes, appears to be truly considerable.

In brief, we can describe the phenomenon in these terms: the raw materials that the packaging industry uses in many processing segments - including inks and, upstream, their ingredients - are becoming constantly more expensive month after month, to the detriment of turnover and profitability (and unfortunately the same thing is happening in many other manufacturing segments).

Customer potential, appealing and ….. accessible

Measure the Purchasing Potential (PP) of the customers is the impossible dream of all company heads, especially if they deal directly with the markets.

If we remain in the practical world of business we can start by saying that the PP coincides with the short term market potential.
To begin to do something concrete, commercial management should try to assign each customer their specific potential and start from the idea, what is more intuitive, that within a year the sum of all the PPs will coincide with the total market potential (TMP). This is what is called the bottom-up approach.

And now … one looks far off

Some advice on how to measure the purchasing potential of current or potential customers.
In our past issues we traced out the path that might plausibly lead top management to formulate commercial policies that are conscious of the product and the customer.

A well-set administrative control with constant, detailed updates gives a general picture of the profitability of ones typical activity along with managerial profits. The perception of direct costs enables the formulation of profitability objectives for each product line, while the knowledge of the ABC of costs, the costs of serving the customers, enables the company to consciously assign a correct level of company resources to each customer and consequently to each segment. Theoretically we are by now capable of building a price policy for product lines based on expected profitability, and an accurate price policy for the big customers and per segment, basing ones calculations on service costs.

Filling machines the way things should be

ENTREPRENEURSHIP In 2010, CMI has increased its turnover and, in 2011, predicts it will make the great “leap” in terms of size. The secret? The will and the faith to get on with doing things, that engenders coherent and constant growth in products and technology, sales network and organization. Maximizing the benefits of the tailor-made approach and the ability to serve the many different sectors as experts. Stefano Lavorini

CMI SpA (Oleggio, NO), turnkey machines and filling lines, presents itself as a company of substance, built on the passion and desire to act, where everything is in the right place, including the fundamentals.
The international crisis has indeed had a relative impact, thanks to the broad spread of the company’s offer, and the company has quickly returned to growth, doubling turnover in 2010, with expectations of further sizeable increases for the current year.

Learning to distinguish between customers

Measuring profit for a customer is not impossible
In last issue’s Crystal Ball we mentioned the importance of basing one’s commercial policy on concrete knowledge of direct product costs, while also concluding that… this is not enough.
Indeed, also necessary is no less accurate information on the costs which each customer generates for the concern in being resupplied, known, assisted and “coddled”, as all customers now expect.

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