Today was out first major business adventure! We started the day at the heartbreaking time of 8:30 when we all met in the lobby to head out to the Montero Spa. Now I was pretty excited for a spa day since the jet lag was still pretty tough on then mind. When we got there however I was surprised to fine clothes everywhere instead of luxurious massage beds and steamy springs. Apparently this “spa” is actually a place where they work with silk and cloths in order to make different apparel. While it may not have bee the spa day I was expecting, I have to admit, the whole thing was definitely worth the trip.
We started by being introduced to the company itself. Apparently this company has been around and actively producing goods since 1902. Obviously, with that much experience, you will make a name for yourself. This company actually has deals with big name brands such as Lois Vuitton. After learning about their history we went on a tour of their facility.
The first thing we were introduced to were their collections of designs and materials from both the past and the present. We were allowed to take any pictures however to protect these ideas and plans but the sheer number of designs was incredible. There were too many rows to count willed with their ideas, and many of these were found in books that could have contained numerous others.
After seeing the archives we saw their main plants where they actually stain the materials and create the patters. The sheer size of the rooms used to house the machines necessary were enormous, one more than doubled the size of the first. We even saw where the materials were cleaned and prepped for selling.
After all of this, however, we stood outside and found out the true nitty gritty of the inner workings of the company itself. For example, we talked about the different methods they use to actually produce the clothes. These two methods are printing using screens and the other being computer printing. Ever since this profession was started, the screen method has always been present and it allows a beautiful and hand made look to be applied to whatever product is produced. In recent years, however, computer printing has come into use because of its increase in the speed of production and reduction of human error. Our tour guide explained to us that she believes that the traditional way of printing using screens will become obsolete as computer printing becomes more and more effective and detailed. We even learned about how they charge for the different patterns. If the screen method was used, for example, the price would be based off the amount of laters and sheets used in the product. For the computer method, however, the price is based off if the amount purchased in meters.
Another major idea we learned about is how the company handles its supply chain. We learned that the company as a whole is very vertically integrated. It only differs in this field when it buys its silk from china or sometimes it will purchase basics from other companies. The company itself produced all of its own materials from the labeling for their companies to the clothing itself. This means that the company itself has almost complete control over its products and complete control over its logistics. This allows them to keep their company in control and to be able to quickly and effectively fix problems when they arise because they will be internal as apposed to being external. They are the producers and distributers of most steps of their supply chains, making the company very efficient and self-sufficient.
After we left the spa, we traveled up to Lake Como for the day. This was one of the pretiest and most amazing sights that I have seen so far in Italy. The boat ride around the shore showed us such incredible Villas that would make any person jealous. We even had the chance to see George Clooney’s Villa! After the boat trip we ended with a final, beautiful view of the city from the top of the mountain; providing an excellent end to another action filled day in the incredible Italian culture.