Fabio Perini in Brazil is growing: The new production hall covers an area of 2,800 square meters. “Now we’ve got room for two more production lines,” says Dineo Silverio as he gazes with satisfaction at tidy rows of machine components that are ready for assembly. Silverio is the President of Fabio Perini Brazil, which is located in the city of Joinville, about 500 kilometers south of S?o Paulo. A new production line for folded paper napkins — the first of its kind in South America — will also be built in this hall.
Fabio Perini, which has its headquarters in Lucca, Italy, and has been part of the K?rber Group since 1994, builds machines for the production of toilet paper and paper towels. The company’s location in Brazil supplies the entire continent of South America from its factory in Joinville. In 2017 K?rber acquired the MTC company, which produces machines for processing tissue paper and paper napkins. Now production lines for folded paper will -expand the product range of the Business Area Tissue in the Brazilian market. “South Americans are using more and more paper napkins, for example,” Silverio explains. Thanks to the new production hall, which has increased the production area by more than a third, Fabio Perini Brazil is optimally set up for this trend. “We’re prepared,” he says.
lSouth Americans are using more and more paper napkins. We’re prepared. r
Dineo Silverio, President, Fabio Perini Brazil
This is the mindset that makes K?rber stand out. It anticipates future developments and addresses them early on in order to provide customers with the right added value. Boosting efficiency in production: Above all, K?rber is creating a work environment in which employees can fully develop their creativity and commitment for the benefit of the customers.
About 180 employees work in Joinville. The factory halls are large and bright. Daylight streams through the skylights. Gilberto Arndt, the assembly process coordinator, points to two hydraulic cylinders that are used to lift the enormous paper feed rollers. “We developed them together with a Brazilian supplier,” he says. About 60 percent of the components installed here were produced in Brazil — most of them by manufacturers located around Joinville, Brazil’s fourth-largest industrial center. That results in cost savings of 25 to 40 percent per component and avoids delays due to customs. “We’re always on the lookout for ways to become more efficient,” says Arndt.
Digital Tissue is part of the digital offensive of the Business Area Tissue, which is taking it in the direction of the smart factory. In Joinville, many digitization projects are in the preparation stage or have already begun. They also include the Material Tracking System and Skynet, which are designed to ensure that each work material is lying in exactly the right place. These systems also make it possible to check the production status of every machine in real time, so that additional components for the assembly process can be ordered promptly. At their work stations, the assembly workers can see on their tablets which components have already been delivered, and can plan their work accordingly. In the past, they spent 15 percent of their working time searching for information. This time has now been freed up for production.
The key to the success of these digital efficiency projects are the people. As the employees walk through the factory, they use a painted green path that’s known as the Avenue of Constant Improvement. Employees like Gilberto Arndt are motivated by the goal of becoming ever better. There’s a good reason for their strong motivation, which often generates ideas for innovations: The employees enjoy working here and identify themselves with Fabio -Perini. “We’re growing together, and we’re a strong team,” they say. In early 2019, Fabio Perini Brazil was honored for the third time in a row with the “Great Place to Work” award of the certifier of the same name. In the survey, the employees had anonymously expressed their opinions about aspects such as the company’s working atmosphere and leadership style. They gave the plant a very positive evaluation of 86 percent. This satisfaction is also expressed by the low rate of staff turnover. In comparable companies it’s three percent, but at Fabio Perini Brazil it’s only 0.7 percent.
The positive working atmosphere is based on many factors. “We’re guided by the 5S philosophy, which originated in Japan,” explains the Head of Human Resources, Silvana Dallacqua. The five pillars of this philosophy are: Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. The assembly workstations in the factory are uniformly organized. They are brightly lit, clearly organized, and safe. No tools or cables are lying around. Shavings that have sifted down from a milling bench are swept up right away. “Everyone takes on responsibility for pleasant cooperation and a productive daily work routine,” says Dallacqua.
lOur employees feel that they’re important. That motivates them to keep getting better. r
Silvana Dallacqua, Head of Human Resources, Fabio Perini Brazil
Equally important is the employees’ continuing professional development. Every year, several employees from various units such as assembly, project planning, administration or sales spend up to four weeks at the company headquarters in Italy in order to learn new techniques and working methods. It’s an enjoyable trip for the employees — and at the same time it helps the company to standardize its production methods. “In order to continuously improve our efficiency and come up with new innovations, we need people who are well-qualified and highly motivated,” says Dallacqua. Small details also strengthen the sense of belonging in the workplace: fresh fruit provided daily, weekly fitness sessions, a running group, an air-conditioned breakroom with pool tables, and high-quality food in the canteen. “Our employees feel that they’re important,” says Dallacqua. “That motivates them to keep getting better.” And that benefits the employees, their employer, and ultimately the customers. It’s a win-win-win situation.