by Adrienne Selko
I just arrived home after a ten-day visit to both manufacturing companies and manufacturing trade shows across Italy.
Arranged by Machines Italia, as part of the Italian Trade Commission, I saw a variety of innovative products and production floors which I will write about over the next coming weeks.
A few things struck me as belonging particularly to manufacturing in Italy. The foremost is everyone I met, including company presidents and trade association representatives, view themselves as artists.
Manufacturing is an art in Italy.
Custom-designed machines (as well as production lines) are a result of craftsmanship. For the most part manufacturing is done by small to medium-sized family owned businesses that have passed knowledge from generation to generation.
And much of this knowledge is the ability to solve problems. Customers come to these shops seeking solutions and the companies create a machine to solve the problem. It is an approach different from how many people view manufacturing.
And with any craft, improvement is key. These companies will band together in a collaborative effort to further improve the overall knowledge of the field. While competitors, they view themselves as coming together to create a general standard which will improve the industry as a whole.