Adjusting to the “new normal” was a challenge after the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic, what General Manager Riccardo Berti calls the “biggest crisis” ever faced by Magna Mechatronics Motrol in Livorno, Italy.
“We went to zero sales in April and six weeks of plant shutdown,” he said. “It was shocking. It was a challenge to communicate with our employees on a regular basis and keep everybody notified about improvements. But we were able to be very flexible in a short period of time.”
We will experience a second wave, we don’t know when, but we need to be ready. We learned a lot of lessons about the importance of flexibility and reacting quickly. It’s important to maintain control of the situation, lead by example, and be present and available to all employees – and keep the vision of the plant alive.
Riccardo Berti, General Manager Magna Mechatronics Motrol in Livorno, Italy
Berti credits the Magna MyLife app with being essential for maintaining management’s contact with the workforce, which is comprised of 558 Magna employees and around 100 external employees. In a few weeks, Motrol app users went from just a handful to hundreds. Communication with customers became a top priority, too.
“I was personally talking to BMW on a daily basis for six weeks,” Berti said. “Even during the shutdown, BMW was requesting prototype parts for side-door latches. It was a brand new contract and we were in constant touch with an important customer.”
Looking back, the Motrol successful restart hinged on “discipline,” said Berti, a former captain in the Italian Navy.
“The Smart Start playbook, which spelled out the protocols and practices for resuming production globally, provided us with disciplined tools,” he said. “And then there was the discipline of applying everything step-by-step.”
Even though the COVID-19 crisis in hard-hit Italy has waned, the Motrol Emergency Team is still in place, conducting regular meetings and lining up preparations for a second wave of the virus.
“We will experience a second wave,” Berti said. “We don’t know when, but we need to be ready. We learned a lot of lessons about the importance of flexibility and reacting quickly. It’s important to maintain control of the situation, lead by example, and be present and available to all employees – and keep the vision of the plant alive.”