Carlo Bernasconi, production manager of Davy, answers the questions ha factory asks to his company because, as he is telling us, he has spent and is spending there most of his time in this period. At the emergency start, after a lockdown of a week and a half, Davy, which is included in Ateco codes authorized to work, restarted its activity with the complete team, due to a notable organizational effort.
Davy is specialized in the production of brushes for vacuum cleaners, accessories and nozzles for industrial, professional and household wet and dry vacuum cleaners and steam aspirators. If the part dedicated to the household ambit has stopped, we cannot state the same for the accessories intended for the sanitization chain. On the contrary: the company achieved a rise of orders and had to manage them in addition to the usual planning, in a context of strong health and logistic criticality, with suppliers not in activity and then unable to deliver goods. A noteworthy increase of job orders: “Customers accustomed to selling ten or twenty machines were asked to sell 500, with high organizational criticalities for both them and us”, Bernasconi in fact explains.
In the first days, when they provided for sanitizing premises, provisioning masks and all that could guarantee workers’ safety, Bernasconi took care of the most various activities in all corporate ambits – from filling in packing slips to equipping machines and calling couriers – trying to limit as much as possible the inconveniences that might derive from the situation.
“We are a hardly replaceable supplier, and this was very important: the customers to which we could not deliver immediately the material waited for us. However, it would have been unconceivable to stop the activity longer: we would have risked that customers, waiting for our restart, could find an alternative” Bernasconi explains.
The company engages 11 employees, who are all at work today; the distancing regulation is assured by the structure itself of the production site: “Davy was founded in 1941, when all machining operations were carried out manually: today 10 people work in spaces that at that time hosted 125.
Another element that resulted topical in this emergency was relying on the constant possibility of stocking up, then having the vast majority of the material at disposal for deliveries. Non everything: and in fact, precisely concerning some components that were instead unavailable, Bernasconi is already thinking of how to draw lessons from this critical time: “Perhaps we will organize the in-house availability of the components and then we will assemble them. What we have learnt, and we are still learning, is that the organization is fundamental to face emergencies and the organization is expensive. Reorganizing the production, having stocked up material, arranging the net to allow the smart working when possible are costs that enable you to face the unexpected events with more tranquillity, but often they are not acknowledged by the market. All look for the lowest price.”
What about the turnover? What does Davy expect at present?
“On one hand the orders connected with the domestic market have decreased, on the other hand the ones concerning the steam sector have increased, so achieving a certain compensation”.
Carlo Bernasconi explains that in this difficult time he has also assessed something else, i.e. the value of the apprenticeship made in the family-owned company since the beginning of his activity: “My parents, and my grandfather before them, believed the owner had to be able to more or less everything, because it is the only way of really knowing the company, of acknowledging the right value of what your workers do and, in case of exceptional emergencies, to be able to solve operational problems”. A very precious lesson, Bernasconi recognizes: “In March we succeeded in fulfilling deliveries because I was always present in the company and along the years I have learnt to do a little bit of everything, with my staff’s support, also at the phone, for what I was not able to do. Precisely this allowed us to avoid a dramatic turnover fall in March.
It is hard to hazard hypotheses about the future. “We will have to understand end-users’ attitude. This emergency might share in increasing the importance of hygiene and cleaning and the steam sector, which has always been strong in Italy and France but not so much in other Countries, might benefit from that. However, it would also be necessary to understand how much this crisis will influence end-users’ purchasing power. I hope that one thing will be saved, after this crisis, i.e. final customers’ perception that is important to support Italian companies, also to preserve workplaces”.