the fca award cerimony was held On 17 december 2018 and sapa received the “supplier of the year 2018” award. the reason for this: “because of its proactive search for technological excellence and for product cost optimisation”.
this was an important acknowledgement of the one-shot® method:
would you like to find out how we got to this?
The first few steps are easy. After the fourth step, my foot trembled a little before resting on the floor. I know that feeling: before taking the next step, I don’t even want to lift my shoe!
“Come on!” I say to myself and my foot, “only two more steps to go, the hard part is behind us”. The foot refuses, it feels as if it was made of lead, and so does the knee, which has turned into a useless lever.
My mouth is drier than a river in August, but I was expecting this. I contract even the smallest muscle, and I know this because I keep my hands closed in fists, and I never hold them like that.
It feels like my body is against me today, but it’s the mind that rules: I keep on going.
I make it to the stage to receive the award: SAPA is awarded the best supplier of the year 2018 prize.
This award is an acknowledgement to SAPA “for always being supportive and proactive and for always seeking for technological excellence, innovation and product cost optimisation” – this was the reason.
Indeed, I am nervous but first and foremost I am proud. Now my feet move of their own accord, they almost slide and if they could, I’m sure they’d start to run!
Come to think about it, these feelings last but seconds. A few but very intense seconds.
Yet how long was the journey to get to this? How much effort and how much commitment were necessary?
In 2015 my brother Antonio proudly collected the FCA Continuous Improvement Award. We were happy, and we thought that the journey from there would be a walk in the park. Not long after that and still in this state of mind, we contacted an important potential foreign client. I still remember that feeling.
We were sure of ourselves, and that it would be a success.
Still to date I could not tell whether that was one of the worst or one of the best moments for our company. Of that moment, I only remember our long faces and our being at a loss for words: the potential client had rejected us, and we went back home empty-handed.
The reason for the rejection was simple: there were a lot of good suppliers like us, but the client needed something more, something different. They needed true innovation and the ability to look to the future.
I could not explain this to myself: how did that happen?
We had worked hard, and we had been rewarded for our commitment…. yet, all this was not enough.
I remember the torment of those days. We looked at one another and we could not understand what we were lacking and what our next steps would be.
This was a pivotal moment for our business and we only had two options: we could either change direction or we would always only be one among many other businesses. The rejection by that client had certainly shaken us to the core, but it had also given us the solution.
We understood that for us to stand out from the crowd, we could not be content with being just enough, we had to give up doing well what everyone does well.
On the contrary, we had to offer something different, something that could not be found anywhere else. So, we got to work starting from this new awareness.
What appeared to us to be the best thing to do, was also the most difficult one: we had to make a difference.
If I were to summarise the two following years, 2016-2017, I would say that they were years of deep study to find innovative solutions to meet our quality standards.
At that time, we came up with the idea of instituting the Affinita Prize: the prize is awarded to university students or PhD researchers who write the most innovative thesis in the automotive sector.
The same year, we also organised a workshop in Turin that for us was also an important occasion for sharing ideas and for opening to new ideas: something was changing inside of us and the right path was opening heading of us with each step we took.
We always had the wish to create our very own work method. And now we were obtaining the first results: the first prototype with the One-Shot® Method (the One-Shot® Window Frame) was awarded in Detroit at the TPO Automotive Conference.
The efforts of the previous two years were beginning to bear their fruit. And from that moment, we decided to change our face: new method, new logo.
And a new way of thinking, too: we no longer were a small business trying to make its way among the big ones of the sector, but we were something different than anyone else.
Here we get to 2018.
If I were to summarise this year with one image, I would compare it to a table tennis match played alone. Ball after ball, stroke after stroke, this was the moment when everything we had studied, prepared and perfected over the previous two years was put at everybody’s disposal.
We participated in the Global Automotive Components and Suppliers EXPO in Stuttgart, in the IZB and in the Plastics in Motion conference. On these occasions, the One-Shot® Method was the absolute protagonist, precisely because of its power of innovation.
As a matter of fact, the One-Shot® Method is to date the world’s fastest method to produce car parts with:
- Less weight
- More cost efficiency
- High quality standards
This unique innovation made it possible for us to obtain several patents, three of which are parts industrialised for FCA:
- One-Shot® C-Lower Pillar on Alfa Romeo Stelvio
- One-Shot® Bicolor A-Pillar on Jeep Renegade
- One-Shot® Engine Beauty Cover on Alfa Romeo Giulietta
But this is not it.
Thanks to this research, we were able to examine some aspects of our work that sometimes are mistakenly considered unimportant, but that, I assure you, were never as critical as they are at this moment in history.
I am talking about environment-friendliness and training for employees.
Together with FCA, we kickstarted two projects that demonstrate how important the issues above are to us.
The LIFEBIOBCOMPO project summarises our commitment to research: its objective is namely to reduce waste in the next two years by adopting environmental-friendly solutions, in line with Horizon 2020.
The PON (National Operational Programme for Research and Competitiveness) project invests in people, i.e. the most precious resource for a business. We truly believe in this. We started researching on new materials (also recycled, with an eye to the environment) for 4 interesting development areas, in order to boost research and create jobs.
If you think about it, it is the ability of looking to the future that makes a business great.
Together with FCA, we deemed it necessary to invest in our future, not only as businesses but as people. At SAPA we always say that people make the difference. As you can imagine, this was not an easy endeavour.
Growing requires commitment and very often it requires being able to give something up.
I think it was all worth it and the prize that FCA awarded us with not long ago proves that it was.
As I said on that occasion:
“This moment is like being patted on the shoulder in acknowledgement of the efforts one made. Whilst it is me who collects the award, anyone who shares SAPA’s outlook is collecting it with me.
Receiving this award certainly motivates us even more to carry on working at the One-Shot® Method, as we are sure that it will always bring concrete advantages to our customers. We are optimistic that also 2019 will be a stimulating year that will bring accomplishments to us and FCA.”
People and innovation: this is the future that we will keep investing in.
Executive Director and Member of the Board of Directors at SAPA
FCA AWARDS SAPA AS THE “SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR 2018”