An entrepreneur's point of view: Luca Torre of Gea Soft
What is Gea Soft's business philosophy and how do you fit into the Italian fashion supply chain?
Gea Soft is a software house that has been verticalized on footwear and leather goods for 30 years now, an IT partner of more than 300 companies. The philosophy behind our work has always been to put ourselves in the shoes of our clients, to know perfectly the internal processes and problems of their companies, precisely so that we can provide the most suitable solution, which accompanies them step by step in a tailor-made digitization path, adapted to the specific needs of each reality. For us, it is crucial that the entrepreneurs we address (shoe and leather manufacturers) understand that we speak their language and know their issues very well. If they come to us, they will not run into a wall of technical IT terms and complex, cumbersome, and incomprehensible interfaces. We want to be full-fledged IT partners in order to optimize every business process: from pattern making and order management to production cycle monitoring and planning and logistics.
How do you see the current landscape of Italian manufacturing companies and the main challenges they face today?
Today most Italian SMEs work mainly for big luxury brands, important but also very demanding clients, no longer only in terms of product quality, which is now almost taken for granted, but also and above all in terms of business organization and services that guarantee the proper management of production, quality control, monitoring of external workers, consumption, stock and everything else. Nothing can be left to chance or the subjective experience of an operator anymore, no matter how experienced and competent. This is why being in possession of solutions designed to meet-or anticipate-the real needs of brands and companies in the supply chain can give enormous benefits in terms of simplification and speed of all processes.
In what ways can Gea Soft support the growth and computerization of companies?
Let me preface this by saying that at the moment there is still a lot of misinformation on the subject; instead, investing in the digitization of one's enterprise, the so-called Industry 4.0, can really be instrumental in contributing to a real quantum leap. We therefore also position ourselves as popularizers, demonstrating to companies what we can do in a practical way and in clear words. That said, two of our software in particular, Gea Quality and PPA (Assisted Production Planning), can make a fundamental contribution since they have specific functionalities that are particularly relevant and innovative, respectively for quality control and for automation and control of the production plan. For example, Gea Quality allows in a quick and intuitive way to check the quality on raw materials, semi-finished products, and finished products during the production process by creating a check list of verifications and controls (combining these with images, movies, etc.), a very useful step to detect and mark in a database the "nonconformities" and thus make the production department take the correct steps to make the appropriate corrections. In contrast, PPA, the most important module in our product suite, enables detailed control, proactive and automated planning and management in order to manage each stage of the production process in advance and create a forecast budget that is useful for achieving company objectives. Also valid for organizing subcontractor schedules, but not only. To give an example, orders are spread out over an ultra-precise calendar and the planning system automatically can hold firm on the delivery date and the necessary commitment of labor and processing cycles., but also calculate exactly what it may entail in the master plan if production constraints and/or forecasts change.
Do you have plans and news in sight for the second part of 2023?
We definitely plan to implement our flagship software, Gea Quality and PPA with new steps and thus make them even more efficient and customizable. We also plan to accelerate even more on the concept of Industry 4.0 through even closer interconnection between machinery, labor and production processes. As Gea Soft, we have set ourselves the task of helping companies to become increasingly "smart" and digitized, thus also supporting them in the area that concerns cost control, a factor that-with the energy price hikes of the last year-has become increasingly crucial.