“I personally guarantee every component”
Smooth interaction among people, machinery and materials lays the foundation for good products. Egidio Maschio explains how to form a harmonious trio.
Maschio is synonymous with modern agricultural machinery. What is your manufacturing concept like?
For years now we have put our faith in lean production, also known as the “Toyota method”. We produce only what is actually called for, in response to orders. That way we minimize waste and warehousing. In 2011 we worked a record-breaking amount of sheet metal — 5,600 tons — but all of that was in small batches. Lean production lets us guarantee quick delivery and a broader product line. It does require maximum flexibility in our production operations, but it also involves many benefits. We optimize time and resources and turn out high-quality products.
Do automated machines help “slenderize” manufacturing?
Automated machinery forms the basis for our production and it runs around the clock. Our laser cutting center is comprised of five machines and a storage system. This automated center is offline just twice a year for scheduled maintenance. One employee each supervises operations during the first and second shifts. At night and on holidays, the system works for up to 24 hours with lean staffing. To do all this, the machinery, storage system and software have to perform perfectly and be highly flexible so they can fulfill our production requirements. The fast and precise TruLaser machines built by TRUMPF are definitely the best suited for our purposes. That supplier stands for quality and guarantees superb support — for both the machines and the software.
Don’t you sometimes lose track of things when so much is happening automatically?
We use the automated storage system to warehouse not only sheet metal, but finished products, too. This eases fine tuning for various processes. We monitor material withdrawals in real time. That speeds up getting the parts required for day-to-day work. All of the sequences are under central control. The results are a better overview of the material being processed and optimized delivery periods.
How do the four companies in your corporate group interact?
Each company has a specific task and function within the group’s logistics network. At the Campodarsego headquarters we manufacture rotary tillers, power harrows, mulchers, mowers and hedge cutters; in Morsano al Tagliamento we make sowing machines. Terranova produces all of the mechanical parts and in the factory at San Giorgio delle Pertiche we concentrate on processing sheet metal. The four companies Maschio, Gaspardo, Terranova and Grinta work together to achieve synergies. There is daily contact among their employees. That lets us trace the “growth” of our machinery, from the raw materials to the finished product. This is why our motto is: “Together to win!” One example of this is “Combinata”, a seed drill that both tills the soil and sows the seed. It is the result of synergies between the Maschio and Gaspardo brands.
So great manufacturing depth is essential?
That’s right. It is vital for us to guarantee each and every part. We work to the same exacting standards at all of our plants. Over the course of time we have accumulated the expertise needed to become a world leader in the market for agricultural machinery. All of our production steps are based on this knowledge.
Agriculture is changing and your machines have to keep pace with the transition. Has the Maschio Gaspardo company changed at the same time?
I wouldn’t say that it has changed, but that it has been “up-dated” instead. It’s true that farming has changed and continues to do so. The needs, requirements and suggestions put forth by our customers are fundamental in this regard. Before we put any new machine into production, we conduct field tests — in the truest sense of the word — to be sure we have the perfect design. We have enhanced our spare parts service and expanded our customer service. Our service hotline can deliver any information needed in a short time, at no cost for the customer. And so we strive to achieve excellence in every area: perfect material, flawless processing, and skilled operators to turn out implements that hold their own in the market.
And research enjoys a prime position at Maschio Gaspardo?
Every product is the result of careful studies and close team-work. We see research as both an engine for innovation and an instrument for improvement. With a respectable result: every production site produces skillfully designed agricultural equipment. Uniform processes in all the corporate divisions ensure that our work is fully focused on corporate goals. This ensures continuity and state-of-the-art manufacturing sequences. That supports our unique selling position — particularly when introducing new products.
You mentioned the team. How important are the people behind the machine?
Efficient manufacturing operations are the product of many factors and, above all, of our human resources. We select our employees on the basis of their skills and their focus on the work. They give their utmost every day. They operate modern, reliable machine tools. Thus the people, the machines and the material form a harmonious trio. Our philosophy is to refine these interrelationships, always keeping our human resources in the limelight. Important is that they work in a safe environment, using high-tech machinery that simplifies their efforts.
What will the factory of the future look like?
Development will always be oriented on the needs of the end users. They work the soil and know best what they need. I envision the factory of the future as an incubator for the ideas from which our products grow. This would be a place where tradition and technology merge, where people work in a safe and secure setting. At Maschio Gaspardo this future has already dawned.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in spring 2012.