On the fourth day in Italy, the group went and visited Mantero Spa, a fashion company in Como. Unfortunately, there was a mix up in the morning and I wasn’t able to go on time, but I was very interested in what my peers got to see from this site visit. The Mantero Spa specializes in fabric printing, which would make the Mantero Spa a downstream supplier in the supply chain, as it sells fabric to companies and consumers.
Through conversation with my peers, I have learned that the Mantero Spa has complete control over their supply chain, making them vertically integrated. When it comes to making fabric, their whole process takes about 12 weeks to complete. The supply chain starts with buying silk made by silkworms from China and ink from Italian companies. It then continues with a designer coming to them with an idea, then they will make the design and the designer buys it from them. They then have a weaving department so they can weave the fabric, and they also have high quality print screens to print designs on the fabric. In order to print, they use a two technical screen technique which ensures the process to be both more modern and cheaper. The company still commonly uses designs from the 18 and 19th centuries and their archives date back to 1802, and they have the ability to print these older designs with very high quality. The Mantero Spa also makes slight changes to their supply chain depending on the customer as they often print out large quantities for big brands. The process can also be quicker if the customers have a specific design that they want in particular. The supply chain also differs as some companies buy fabric and some companies buy accessories from the Mantero Spa. They often charge these companies by the amount of screens used to print the designs, so items that are mass produced often don’t end up being too expensive. To summarize the whole supply chain of the Mantero Spa, the supply chain starts with purchasing ink and silk, then continues when a specific design is given, and then is followed by making the specific design through high quality print screens.
In my opinion, the Mantero Spa supply chain is very well rounded and they know exactly how to accomplish every step of the process. A good vertically integrated supply chain often involves complete knowledge of the whole process by the people working in the supply chain, and because the representative was able to speak about the entire supply chain during the visit, the supply chain is successfully vertically integrated.
While separated from the group, I had some time to summarize my thoughts of this program to Italy and to think about the theme of my current attitude and beliefs towards travel as a whole. Before this trip, I had visited 43 countries with Italy included. I had also gone on multiple trips for school with my peers all over the United States. Even with all this prior experience, I have come to realize that this trip is unlike any of the others. On this program, we have been learning about Italy through both the business side of the country and the social side. When selected for the program I had just though of Italy as the land of pizza, pasta, and fashion but I have come to realize that it is so much more than that. I have learned through the business visits that Italy is a very developed country, and that a lot of thought is put into the fashion industry. These thoughts put into fashion are summarized by the whole fashion supply chain. I have also learned about the social differences between the US and Italy through finding my way through Milan. Me and my peers have had to navigate through the metro system and find our way to places where the group meets multiple times. Through these experiences, I have learned a lot about teamwork as the whole group often has to contribute knowledge for us to find our way around. In Italy, teamwork like this is strongly valued as the country is known for traditional practices and a strong value in family. I am privileged to have been able to learn about these values, and I look forward to learning more about them in Florence tomorrow. Stay tuned!