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Colombini keeps on growing with the DNA of Porsche Consulting

Lean times for the furniture industry too

A success story in spite of the global recession. A family-run company that has successfully reinvented itself to strategically take on the global market. A business with a workforce of around 1,000 employees distributed in six different plants: with three in Republic of San Marino, two in Italy and one in China.

A company that has called on the expertise of Porsche Consulting Italia to overcome today’s criticalities and fight the recession with efficiency and quality. We’re talking about the Colombini Group headed by Emanuel Colombini, who has surrounded himself with competent personnel and implemented strategies to respond to adversities of the furniture sector, which has been particularly hard hit by the recession (figures from Federlegnoarredo show that the sector saw a drop of 18% in terms of value in 2009, with an astonishing 7 billion Euros of turnover lost in 12 months) and which has only started to show signs of picking up again this year.

The San Marino based group closed last year with a total turnover of 180 million Euros – a 5% increase over the previous year – and with plans for expanding its Beijing plant and to open a number of sales outlets in Russia over the next few months, while the group is gearing up to enter the US between late 2011 and early 2012. The results and projects achieved and completed to date, and which will be realised in future, through a bespoke method devised by Porsche Consulting Italia and based on process optimisation.

In a highly automated industrial concern such as Colombini, production efficiency is a key factor for success. This was what led to the idea of turning to Porsche Consulting Italia, initially to optimise the production process, but eventually to build a fully fledged network between the group’s plants and to redefine the disposition of machinery within production facilities. A properly trained workforce at every level in the company structure is a key factor in the success of a project.

The transfer of Porsche DNA has been a two-tiered operation: acting on a human level, with the training of production, quality and controlling personnel to arm them with the skills necessary to operate in complete autonomy; and on an internal process level, improving production planning and communication between plants. In parallel, a number of measures have been implemented to drastically reduce rejects and defects. Lastly, general maintenance was also optimised by improving its planning and specific management by operators.

Contributing significantly to the outcome of the project was the high degree of automation of the capital-intensive Colombini Group, which permitted greater efficiency in order management.
The adoption of Toyota principles to reduce waste and optimise processes, which form the foundation of the Porsche Consulting method, has allowed the Colombini Group to achieve impressive results: specifically, a 20% increase in production capacity, an increase in the quality of the furniture produced and, lastly, the creation of a Colombini KAIZEN structure to promote a philosophy of continuous improvement in the company.

“We are proud of the project conducted with the Colombini Group and of giving the manufacturing concern the tools necessary to respond to the current difficult economic climate” said Porsche Consulting Italia CEO Federico Magno. “Optimising processes, reducing waste in terms of time, resources and materials, and emphasising Italian quality and excellence represent the only winning strategy possible for standing out from the global competition, offering products at a competitive price and, in general, acquiring a competitive advantage allowing the company to expand and explore new foreign markets.”

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