From the provisioning of raw material to the proximity to customers, at Askoll the company’s organizational and manufacturing processes find new development and innovation opportunities in the eco-sustainable approach.
The history of Askoll Group consists in a successful technological transfer. The Group was established in 1978 with the application of the permanent magnet synchronous technology on electric motors, technology initially developed for the aquarium sector and afterwards successfully extended to the world of household appliances, heating systems and finally to the urban mobility world. The offer evolution boosts the growth of operational sizes: today Askoll Group counts around 1,100 workers and 11 companies operating in the business of appliances, aquarium and urban mobility, with a range of electric vehicles that go from e-bikes, to e-Scooters and to the last implementation, the e-Kick-Scooter, and a new three-wheeled product that focuses on the share world with a “safe-urban-mobility” concept.
Competitive by quality
Askoll has been present for over forty years in the household appliance world, sector that represents about 80% of the Group’s turnover. It collaborates with all leader household appliance manufacturers on a world scale, with a product portfolio that today boasts a complete range of products: from drain and washing pumps for washing machines and dishwashers to drum motors for washing machines and dryers, up to axial and tangential fan solutions for ovens.
A market where a strong presence of Chinese competitors has been present for several years now, with an aggressive price policy and also the capability of providing customer support and its product quality. In this context, Askoll has had to face important reviews of its manufacturing asset, to deal with the challenges of this sector and to maintain a relevant ranking.
Sustainability, at Askoll’s, is the password for the product and process innovation and the ranking on international markets. They start from the raw material to reach final customers with a single integrated approach, which is mirrored in the business organization on a global scale. According to this strategy, Askoll has localized its productions in strategic areas for the supply of the various markets. The Group has maintained its Corporate in Italy and five production plants headquartered in Brazil, China, Mexico, Romania and Slovakia.
Manufacturing factories are headquartered abroad in strategic zones for business: Brazil supplies the whole South-American market, Mexico is dedicated to the supplies for the local and United States market, China – with its new plant at Qingdao – has its focus on the domestic market but it can offer competitive solutions for the whole world. Finally, the European factories, in Romania and Slovakia, essentially intended for the local market. Besides the advantages that this Strategic Footprint brings from a logistic point of view, the company’s choice was standardizing the entire production with identical manufacturing lines and processes in all factories. Due, in fact, to the support of a unit dedicated to this business (Askoll Quattro designs and implements the Group’s production lines), Askoll can supply the same identical product from all of its production sites. This allows customers to choose where to buy goods according to their requirements, maximizing the cost/lead-time balance and facilitating internal approval procedures.
This strategy implies a relevant impact for sustainability. Askoll promotes with determination the localized supply, which, besides being unbeatable in the lead-time, decreases the environmental impact. In this way, not only transports are optimized at best but returnable packages are proposed, with investments paid back in very short times, avoiding wastes for both suppliers and customers that must not engage resources in the packaging disposal.
From the control of power consumptions to Ecodesign
Innovation and sustainability go hand in hand, to face the challenges that product New Energy Labels go on bringing. All products are conceived with an intrinsic Ecodesign concept, innovative materials and couplings among parts are chosen and devised to permit the full disassembly at the life end and the 100% recovery of products used.
The attention to consumptions, constant focus for Askoll products, is today extended to saving, to standardization and sustainability, with an all-round vision. Concerning this, we speak of process innovation, such as the introduction of the electric welding and the elimination of harmful fluxing agents and fumes, besides benefits in repeatability and process quality, standardization of manufacturing processes according to “one-piece-flow” vision, that is to say the introduction of product controls since the first phases of the manufacturing process to identify potential defects, limiting rejects as much as possible with the reduction of costs and wastes. Still from this point of view, the Paper Less digitalization project is active, providing for the complete elimination of paper use from manufacturing processes, besides, the introduction of photovoltaic and led lighting systems in all factories has been implemented. A course that is involving all business areas towards an overall model of responsible business.
Sustainability as competitive advantage
For a long time now, Askoll has paid attention to the relationship between sustainability targets and business competitiveness goals. They are, in fact, two dimensions that not only are converging but also generate value when they take the form of a real integration. In this context, Askoll confers a central role to the technological innovation, entrusted with the enabler role for the achievement of business and sustainability targets.
The sustainability strategy that Askoll is going to implement finds its natural origin in the Agenda 2030 signed in 2015 by United Nations Countries, Italy included. Focusing on reference Sustainable Development Goals, Askoll has organized its activity on four pillars and by declining it on the industrial plan, on work teams, on the product development and on logistics.
The sustainability strategy is not limited to collaborators and to the business perimeter, but it intends to have a wider scope, being extended to the Supply Chain, with the involvement of customers, stakeholders and the various industry players.
In other words, sustainability meant in its broadest and most global sense, confirms to be the heart of a constant project of research, innovation and industrial growth on which Askoll will go on investing, thanks to its expertise and manufacturing know how.