Today was a great way to end this trip and was one of my favorite overall. Our first visit was to Grupo Sinergia, a shipping company. We got the chance to see the behind the scenes of this crucial step in the supply chain. Online orders come in and are displayed on monitors above the packing room. Workers get the item that needs to be shipped and pack it into a box specific to its size. A machine wraps it up and prints out a barcode to identify it before it is loaded up to be shipped out. The room is filled top to bottom with precisely organized packages ready to be sent out. The representative giving us the tour told us that they are not as fast as a company like Amazon but many customers still prefer them for there personalized service and went on to say that in all their years of shipping they have never lost a client.
The second visit was to Sartoia Cavour, a small suit factory. They specialize almost entirely in making high end suit jackets. The jackets can be tailored for anyone with the money or made in bulk for fashion companies like Saint Lauren. Seeing such a highly specialized factory was interesting and shows how a simple business model can go a long way. At the end of the visit we were given a snack provided by the company, including delicious strawberries picked moments before from the fields out front of the factory.
On the way to the third visit we stopped at and old bridge surrounded by ruins. A castle sat overlooking it atop a hill in the distance and below us ran a river accompanied by a small picturesque town. A café was busy serving people next to the jade green water. It reminded my of a an even more upscale version of River Inn in California, which I have fond memories of visiting as a kid. This was my personal favorite stop on this trip.
The final visit was to MF-1, Mario Foroni’s knitwear factory. The tour was given in part by Foroni as well as his wife and other representatives from he company. They are a fairly large factory that mostly produces sweaters for companies like Gucci. The process starts with the company telling the designers the general idea for what they are looking for. The designers then create the item digitally using advanced software and this is then sent to the factory floor where the product is made by automated machines. Students must first learn how to operate the machines manually before being allowed to use the automated ones. Getting to see products being made that will be part of this fall and winters fashion lines was really cool. MF-1 also has made knitwear for celebrities. Foroni showed us an elaborate pair of pants from there extensive archive and told us about how Madonna asked for them to make her a pair of pants to wear for a concert that was only two days later. The pants required 400 hours of collective work to make so they fired up the factory and made the pants with each worker doing a small section that was put together at the end. They did this completely free of charge but of course after Madonna wore them on stage they massed produced hundreds of pairs and sold them all. This was a great tour because I got to better understand the steps in the design process as well as look at the innerworkings of the knitting machines from an engineering perspective.