In the following interview, Alessandro Moras, CEO of Alta, and Luca Favretti, Production Manager, tell us about the changes that are happening within the company, the transformations in 4.0 perspective and the projects for the future.
1. What does it mean for Alta to do business in 2021?
Alessandro Moras: For Alta to do business in 2021 means social and environmental responsibility, attention to the people and the territory that surrounds us. It also means respect for rules and regulations on safety.
2. What have been the turning points in the company in recent years?
A.M. One of the turning points for Alta was definitely the transition to a just-in-time production, then based on incoming orders. Three other key elements were, then, the adoption of an integrated system to design the kitchen, the transfer of the company in the new headquarters where we are now and the start of the digital transformation that we are continuing to carry on.
3. How did the “Digital Transformation” affect the company?
A.M. Digital Transformation has interested Alta at all levels, in a transversal way, from the purchase, to the sale, to the productive process.
4. Why and how was the new internal layout of the company born?
Luca Favretti: The need to create a new layout within the company was born to give concrete answers to the market in terms of volume, quality and flexibility. Our type of product always requires to realize customizations and to meet the most varied needs of customers. That’s why we introduced new machinery and analysed the company’s performance, with the aim of giving shape and defining the new layout. A central sorting area has been created for all the material to be supplied, which is ordered based on kitchen reference and which, then, goes to feed drilling and assembly machines.
Always at the same location, the operators pick up the material from the pallets, check the quality of the supply, label the product (because each component is identified by the kitchen order) and, by reading the barcode, make the receipt of the goods. In this way we are aware of all the material arrived and we can constantly keep under control the arrival of the elements needed for production. This subdivision reflects the flow of materials: the concept behind the restructuring of the company’s layout is to produce a unidirectional flow towards the output of the finished product from the arrival of materials.
5. How does the Japanese Kanban Method, also adopted by Alta, work?
L.F. The Kanban system is a method of visual management of the supplying and the productive flow, based on the reintegration of the supplies in real time. In practice, it consists in the use of a tag that allows to report the lack of material or the need to supply the components on board the line. When the use of the products is about to be completed, the operator picks up the tag and deposits it in a special visible envelope, in such a way that the warehouseman, carrying out cadenced passages during the day, can realize the need to refuel the components on board the line.
6. What are the requirements of the new out-of-measure department?
L.F. The new layout of the bespoke elements department has been designed to meet the customization needs of the product requested by the market. We have created a flow within the department that goes from the arrival of raw materials and follows the various stages of production, up to the packaging of furniture. The sector has been equipped with new machines that allow us to customize the product, to be able to count on greater flexibility and to have an area of prototyping where we go to study innovative solutions or improvements to the product itself.
7. What are the advantages of automating the assembly line?
L.F. The new assembly line has been built with maximum automation to ensure that operators no longer have to perform manual handling of our products. In this way we have accelerated the construction of the furniture and eliminated some unnecessary activities, so that operators can focus on value-added activities such as, for example, the control of the construction and completeness of the furniture and the cleaning of the same.
8. What role does man play in this transformation?
A.M. Man in this digital transformation has a central role: for us human resources are fundamental at every level and, supported by the right technologies, represent the essential factor of every company.
9. What is the goal that Alta wants to achieve and what is the vision of the company?
A.M. Our goal is to constantly improve our products and services and to create a network of qualified dealers all over the world to promote the brand and Alta’s creations. Creating modern and timeless environments, spaces where people love to stay and live their daily lives: this is our vision, which we translate into facts through integrated furnishing systems.
10. What is the direction in which the company is moving? What projects is Alta working on for the future?
A.M. Alta’s plans for the future are many and the company is working on several fronts: implementation of digitalisation in view of 4.0 and, consequently, setting up the factory from a technological point of view, setting up the new showroom and a dedicated area where we can train our customers, both technically and graphically, and developing the next products for 2022.
11. Customisation, internationalisation, sustainable slowdown… what do you think is the watchword for the future?
A.M. Sustainable slowdown, that is, creating high quality products, respecting the territory and the environment, with the right timescales to make a quality product and to give people the chance to work well. Another very important aspect is to succeed in conveying to the consumer the great value that the home has and to make him understand the importance of investing in high quality furniture, a guarantee of comfort and durability.
12. What is the source of inspiration for Alta Cucine’s creations?
A.M.Less is more: this is the source of inspiration for our products. A strongly minimalist and modern style, with refined materials and finishes that dialogue with each other in a harmonious and coherent manner.
13. Following the pandemic, the home has gained a new centrality in our lives: how has the way of thinking (or rethinking) and designing the kitchen changed?
A.M. Actually, the pandemic has not influenced our way of thinking about kitchens very much, because Alta’s philosophy has always been to design minimal spaces, which fully reflect the concept of “less is more”. Our kitchens are highly ergonomic, usable and functional spaces, with no extra objects that are not needed for everyday life, for cooking or for being together in the kitchen. Because, over time, this room has become a place of conviviality and socialisation, the nerve centre around which all the life in the home moves and is concentrated.
14. Alta is an ambassador of Made in Italy throughout the world: what is the company’s relationship with the foreign market?
A.M. Alta’s relationship with foreign countries has always been very good. Exporting is in our DNA: in fact, we are perfectly at ease in markets all over the world and we can boast of many countries where our company is present. Our primary goal? To reach new outlets on the international scene.
Watch the full video of the interview with Luca Favretti, Head of Production at Alta.
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