Avio Aero's Pomigliano plant, just over 15km from Naples, came into being in 1938 as Alfa Romeo Avio. Destroyed in 1943 in the course of a Second World War bombing campaign, the plant was rebuilt a few years later. Over 1000 people now work at the Pomigliano plant, which includes offices and factories that occupy 80,000sqm out of a total site area of 170,000sqm.
Avio Aero's work at Pomigliano includes the manufacture of turbine blades and other structural components for low-pressure turbines, combustion chambers and afterburners, and Components Repair and Overhaul (CRO) for components designed and manufactured by Avio Aero. Pomigliano has two aircraft engine test cells, one for tests on combustion chambers under development and a second, larger unit for testing large civil aircraft engines. The GEnx engine was tested here for the first time in late 2010, and the same cell will be used next year for testing the new LEAP engine.
We met the new Pomigliano Plant Leader, Serge Couture, and asked him a few questions about his impressions and future plans for this important site.
What is your role and your team's mission for Avio Aero?
I am a mechanical engineer of French Canadian origin, with over 20 years' experience in the aircraft engine industry. Before joining GE at the age of 26, I worked for Pratt&Whitney Canada for nine years. Over the course of my career with GE, I have held various posts, including Plant Leader in Germany, where I moved to from Montreal, and then SKF Engine Leader in North Carolina in the United States. I have spent much of my life living in different towns and countries, and I have already had a chance to appreciate the positive sides of Europe and its culture.
I am delighted to have been appointed as Plant Leader at Pomigliano, and I am determined to make a success of the job, both for my own satisfaction and for the benefit of the company and the local community. My team is highly pro-active, and I know that everyone is ready to do what they can to ensure that the right things are done in the right way. Lean manufacturing is one of our particular priorities.
What impression did you get when you first visited the Pomigliano plant and met the people who work there?
I immediately noticed how motivated and pro-active everyone who works here is: everyone wants the best, and they all take a positive view of the improvement actions that we are implementing.
What do you think are the strengths of the Pomigliano plant?
The active involvement and commitment of the people.
And what are the main areas for improvement?
People often work in self-contained units, and we need to find an effective way of improving cooperation and communication. On the communication front, the clearest opportunities lie in the area of communication aimed at the manual workforce, and I think the GE Production System will provide an excellent starting point for talking about KPIs, results achieved and targets to attain.
Is there anything in particular you would like to say to your colleagues, especially the ones working at the Pomigliano site?
My goal is to guide Pomigliano to ever higher levels of achievement. To win new contracts, we need to be capable of producing high-quality parts at competitive prices. We are in the right business, because it is seeing solid growth at present. The future offers plenty of opportunities too: it's up to us to do what’s necessary to reap them!