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An interview with Head of Spare Parts

Alberto Frusca has over 25 years’ experience with Italpresse Gauss spanning electricals, equipment servicing and spare parts management. Here we talk to him about his role and find out how getting strategic with spares can help customers achieve big business benefits.

Welcome Alberto. How would you sum up your role with the business?

Busy! But that’s how I like it. My role is to support our global customer base with their aftermarket needs in terms of original spare parts. When you consider that for a single machine, this can involve offering around 2000 different parts you can see why we are a very active department. It’s my job to oversee all this; to monitor lead times, order tracking, customer contracts – for instance to see what maintenance needs they might have coming up, refreshing parts lists, and also to help identify specific parts that a customer might be asking for.

What do you mean ‘identify’ specific parts?

As I mentioned, a lot of parts go into making our die casting machines perform as they do. Coupled with the fact that our machines also have incredibly long lifespans, you can imagine how easy it is for customers to lose track of specific details or paperwork relating to replacement parts they may need. With our team, this doesn’t matter. Even without the right codes, or part information, we’ll be able to help.

As long as a customer can take a photo of the part, or even just describe it to us over the phone, we’ll be able to find it for them. My background in the servicing and maintenance team is invaluable here. In this role, you really need that engineering knowledge - awareness of how each part of each machine functions.

Have you ever not been able help?

No, we always work out what’s needed. Though some cases are harder than others. I remember one instance where a customer contacted us to say that a part they’d purchased wasn’t working properly. Naturally we wanted to resolve this as quickly as possible but we couldn’t find the order. When the customer sent an image of the part through, we realized why. It wasn’t an Italpresse Gauss part and had been purchased elsewhere!

Though it looked almost identical, the slight differences in the design had caused the operational issues the customer was experiencing. In fact, if they had tried to keep it in use, it could have caused major complications in terms of premature wear, so it was actually a good job they contacted us. At this point we were very quickly able to source and supply the right part to help.

It goes back to what I was saying about how important technical knowledge is. These are highly-engineered machines with each specific part integral to overall performance. It’s why, for example, we work hard to ensure a close working relationship between our Spare Parts team and our Maintenance team of engineers. Our Italpresse Parts Agreements have been built on this foundation.

What are Italpresse Gauss Parts Agreements?

They are a super convenient way for customers to have the spare parts service they receive from us more cost-efficiently tailored to their individual needs.

All our customers are different. The specific parts they cast, alloys they use, and the production volumes at which they regularly operate are all factors that have a direct impact on which spares are going to be the most important to long term productivity. Updating the right parts at the right time…especially heavy wear parts…will significantly extend the service life of equipment.

When creating a parts agreement we analyze their set-up including all operational machine parts, maintenance requirements and business objectives, from which we create a tailored parts list comprising the most relevant original spares and order volumes. Prices and lead times are then fixed on these parts for the next 12 months. In other words, customers know they are paying the best price for parts they will receive quickly (because we know they will be needed).

Our ethos at Italpresse Gauss is to make high quality casting as easy and cost-effective as possible for the companies we work with and that definitely applies to our Spare Parts team. We aren’t just a reactive resource – we’re constantly looking at ways to support customers proactively!

"We aren’t just a reactive resource – we’re constantly looking at ways to support customers proactively and the Italpresse Parts Agreement is a great example!"

Are there any other new developments in terms of Italpresse Gauss’ Spare Parts services?

There are always new developments as we are continually evolving what we do and how we do it based on customer feedback. Sometimes that means launching bigger solutions, but a lot of the time it’s about making small changes that add up to an easier life for the foundries we work with.

For example, we’ve recently made ordering original spares online far more straightforward and also set up a dedicated spare parts email parts@italpressegauss.com to ensure processing is more efficient. Simple things that make sense.

We are also working far more proactively to anticipate potential issues or problems our customers might have in order to help them avoid potential downtime or productivity loss. We do this, for example, by keeping track of orders placed against parts the customer anticipated they would need. If we see a discrepancy, we can check in and see if everything is OK. It’s all about relationship building for us…making sure we are doing everything we can to anticipate any needs.

Coupled with existing services like expert spare parts installation and our growing global network of distribution facilities, the result is that we are able to ensure customers get the original spare parts they need, quickly and with minimal need for machine downtime.

That all sounds great. One last question, what is it customers could do to help you?

The only thing I want customers to do is to know we are here for them. And that it is always worth speaking to us about any specific needs and their individual circumstances. As well as hopefully being able to offer a solution to help, it’s conversations with our customers that mean we can keep adapting too. We’re about continuous improvement and the great relationships we build with customers are crucial to that.

Thank you Alberto!