Appliance Components: customers at the core of each choice

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By Lara Morandotti

There is a whole phantastic world behind this reality that shines in the Olympus of components for big appliances. Soundness and reliability are only some features that make ITW Appliance Components a key OEM, able to enhance and to innovate its customers’ products. The narrator is Gerlando Cozzo, Global Sales & Engineering Director. «The Division’s strategic goal is strengthening capabilities and representing a reference partner in the market of big appliances’ components in the themes of sustainability, energy-saving, safety and performance improvement in the three macro-areas of Actuators, Sensors and Closures».

Gerlando Cozzo, Global Sales & Engineering Director of ITW

The three business segments
«Today, the medium-long term strategy of our Division is the result of an analysis and segmentation process of our business carried out in the last 12 months according to structured Corporate methodologies. Starting from the analysis of the existing business, we have continued with the portfolio and market segmentation, to succeed in identifying the areas of Actuators, of Sensors and of Closures as “focus” business segments, on which we should work hard next years».
Besides, this process has required a reorganization of the Sales & Engineering area, redesigning its structure around the new business segments, with the target of reaching our internal and external stakeholders with a clear easily interpretable language».

Door lock device for washing machine

The value proposition of an Engineering Manufacturing Company
There are some distinguishing traits in the modus operandi of ITW, that is to say in its way of innovating, producing, managing and then generally proposing itself to the market.
«Generally, we do not invent anything that is not strictly compliant with one of the customer’s technical requirements. Our service addresses the identification and the implementation of integrated solutions in our customers’ machines». Boosting the potentialities of the Group’s business model, ITW Appliance offers the perfect combination between product development competences and its industrialization, as an inseparable and distinctive package. «We are not interested in replicating things others already do, or in doing them in the same way –Gerlando Cozzo explained. – At the same time, we engineer products exclusively to produce them, avoiding the scheme of the pure contract-manufacturing. For this reason, we define ourselves as an Engineering-Manufacturing Company. Furthermore, but not less important, we organize and we manage in-house processes according to simplification and optimization criteria, decreasing complexity and gaining in efficiency».

Gear motor for flow diverter valve

Sustainability as value
«The sustainability theme is certainly a transversal value for the whole Corporate, which has already started, for instance, projects for the tracing and reduction of CO2 emissions deriving from its productions and has already required the involvement, besides others, of all Divisions’ engineering departments. Specifically, as Appliance Division, we face the sustainability theme by addressing the product portfolio towards solutions in conformity with the technical expectations and requirements in this area of our customers. Concerning this, in the development of a product, we orient the design and the choice of materials to decrease weight, volumes, consumptions and environmental impact, also structuring production processes in order to minimize logistic flows».

The pressure sensor: a successful case
A successful case of the divisional strategy is represented by the pressure sensor. «It is a product conceived to satisfy the need of managing the water consumption in a washing cycle of the washing machine». Starting from this technical requirement of the customer, the Engineering team of ITW has developed a pressure sensor that can enable the control board to measure indirectly the magnitude of interest. The product, born as pioneering component, today has become a reference component in the area of sensors for big appliances, a real benchmark. «Currently, ITW is market leader for pressure sensors and can boast very high volumes of manufacturing capacity fully automated in the three world areas of Europe, North America and China».
Pressure sensor

The Group’s soundness: a strategic asset
One of the distinguishing traits of ITW Appliance Components on the market is being backed by a solid, global and financially sound corporation, reliability guarantee for customers. «The Appliance Division reaches a global turnover of about 215 million dollars, whereas ITW Corporate achieves a turnover of 14 billion dollars and ranks 240th in the list by Fortune 500».
The Group’s soundness exerts practical repercussions also on the time-to-market of new projects that often need multi-million investments. The Global Sales & Engineering Director affirms that «ITW can bear huge financial engagements in short times for the market, when supported by sound business cases. During 2021, we approved investments worth 13 million dollars as support of organic growth projects with medium-term time prospects».
Concerning this, one of the most consistent operations dates back to two years ago in North America: about 8 million dollars for a commercial agreement that has led, in the lapse of 8 weeks, to the product approval and in one year to a new production line for the manufacturing of the specific component.

Growth-oriented
Looking at future challenges, ITW Appliance foresees a significant organic growth in the next triennium, relying on a rich set of projects already in the portfolio and on some new developments in focus product areas. «Concerning this, – Gerlando Cozzo ended- to support growth projects, the new Sales and Engineering organization will still aim at the development of Product and Project Management teams, supported, also in this case, by the force of a Group that, due to inter-disciplinarity, global ranking and international job-rotation opportunities is a reason of appeal for young talents on a global scale».

Local-for-Local
Another key aspect of ITW is its Local-for-Local manufacturing presence: a strategy that aims at reducing the Group’s environmental impact even assuring uniform global quality. «The issue of the globality and homogeneity of transversal processes is extremely important for us: utmost force and soundness are witnessed by the capability of manufacturing and doubling such production quickly and with high efficiency degrees in the three primary world regions, such as America, Europe and China». This was, for instance, a winning aspect as response to both the protectionist policies introduced by Trump Administration and the destructive effects of the recent health emergency on the supply chain. «The possibility of replicating and multiplying productions has an extremely positive effect on the risk mitigation. We experienced that in the latter two years of pandemic: due to the capability of producing in several areas of the world, we managed to assure constant supplies to all of our customers, without ever interrupting their productions. We think this is a characterizing aspect of ITW Appliance and represents more a singularity than a rarity inside the array of suppliers, due to product features themselves».