For over a year, the Brindisi plant has seen its space streamlined and the plant divided into three CoE: Military, Frames and the recent M&I.
The latter new and strategic business is specialized in repairing LM-class aeroderivative and industrial gas turbines. The growth of M&I in the latest period is the result of a strong collaboration with our partners, GE Power, GE Oil & Gas and GE Marine. The new division occupies an area of around 2,500 sq. meters, equipped with highly technological machines, such as high speed grinders, dynamic and static balancing machines and systems to assemble rotor units.
Antonio Marchesano is the new leader who answered some of our questions.
Antonio Marchesano, the new M&I leader at Brindisi plant
Antonio, you just got back from a two-year experience at Houston Oil&Gas as Customer Quality Leader. What was your professional experience like?
It was an experience of incredible professional development, due to the complexity and responsibilities of the role. As Customer Quality Leader, I was the only GE interface for aspects concerning quality with our Client Exxon. Personally, before I left for Houston, I associated the US and Americans with the idea of “The American Dream.” The truth is, that I then realized that this myth doesn't exist, and that our colleagues overseas are not that much different from us. I very much appreciated their ability to support one another, and to take the field as a solid and united team; they know how to team up and win together. I try to convey this every day to my own team.
What led you to accept this role as CoE Leader for the new M&I Division at Avio Aero Brindisi?
I almost accepted on a whim, the description of the role instantly sounded like a challenge. Plus I couldn't resist the call back to my roots. A call that goes against the trend of the exodus that seems a feature of these days. For some time, I was mulling over the idea of going back to Italy—especially of going back to my land, in Italy, in the South, to give my own active contribution to the growth of this country. I had already lived in Brindisi in the past with my family, and accepting this role was like accepting a new challenge. Or another triathlon race, my greatest passion after my work.
What was the first impact, and your first impression, once you arrived in Brindisi?
Decidedly positive. The memory I had of Brindisi dates back to 25 years ago, when I left the city to transfer to Salerno. Coming back, I found the same traditions: the love for your work, the passion, the warm and welcoming hospitality. When you leave the house, or even in an ordinary situation, like the breakroom at the factory, you always find someone who gladly offers you some coffee or welcomes you into their circle of friends. I feel particularly lucky because I found a pleasant and fun work atmosphere and efficient plants—even if they have ample room for improvement.
How important is it for you to lead a new strategic business in Brindisi and manage a team of young people?
It's very important, and for me it's a privilege to lead such a strategic business, and it's also, naturally, a source of pride to head a team of thirty-something. I feel like a research professor who, after his university studies, flew abroad and is now back in his own country to spread know-how and 13 years of experience at General Electric to young talents. I always try to capitalize on my own professional experience, as well as my own mistakes, and to spread to others the passion I have for what I do. I'm lucky to be surrounded by valuable and willing resources, who are especially eager to get involved.
According to you, what are the strong points of the Brindisi plant and, in a broader sense, Avio Aero?
Without a doubt, the technical knowledge, the rigor of the quality processes and peculiarities of the aviation world. I instantly saw the care and obsessive attention for “flying objects” and processes. It goes without saying that an improper interpretation of the concept of rigor can be considered a double-edged sword, sometimes it can be counter-productive. It's necessary to keep the strengths of the Brindisi plant solid, i.e.: processes, rigor, quality and expertise, without however jeopardizing the speed of execution. The M&I business requires us to speed up delivery times (reducing TAT: Turn Around Time), while keeping the quality of the final product unaltered.
Thanks to the financing from the Region of Puglia, the installation of new machines and the introduction of the Gate management process, the M&I business changed the face of the Brindisi plant. Which are the most visible improvements?
The current layout is the result of a series of transformations that took place thanks to the investments we obtained. It allowed us to switch from a craft mindset and become a true industrial business, favoring the necessary conditions to invest in people. The implementation of the Gate process is the result of concerted efforts and cooperation with other GE businesses, and it allowed us to simplify and facilitate the monitoring of engines in the WIP, and to better define roles and responsibilities in the process. Now, the M&I area can boast of advanced technologies, such as high speed grinding, dynamic and static balancing machines and systems to assemble rotor units.
In conclusion, the Brindisi plant has become a European center of excellence for the overhaul of LM-class engines. What future challenges will we tackle?
Our mission is to align ourselves with today's market expectations, reaching a two-digit TAT.A milestone that we can reach by improving internal efficiency, streamlining and speeding up current processes using tools from the Lean and Six Sigma schools. At the same time, we have to do a detailed analysis of current waste, with the goal of becoming the best European partner for GE Power, Oil & Gas and GE Marine.
Author: Yari Bovalino & Daniela Dell'Anna