Quality Assurance and Digitalised Testing: interview with AZIMUT|BENETTI GROUP
Quality control and testing: why digitalise?
This is how the Azimut|Benetti Group has optimised its processes, speeding things up, cutting costs and improving its product quality.
We present the interviews conducted during Seatec 2019 with the Quality and IT Department of the Azimut|Benetti Group, the largest private group in the international yachting sector. Azimut|Benetti Group is the world leader in the construction of megayachts, as well as offering the biggest range on the market. Its products range in length from 10 to +100 metres and the group offers ten different collections comprising thirty-three different models, three of which are gigayachts.
- Claudio Gai, Head of Quality at Azimut Yachts
- Gianluca Santevecchi, IT Manager at Azimut Yachts
- Alessandro Vagelli, Head of Quality at Benetti Yachts
- Danilo Longoni, CEO and Founder of Focus Informatica
Quality Assurance and testing goes hand in hand with value and competitiveness. The products made by the Azimut|Benetti group are extremely complex and of very high quality. How have you implemented these concepts in your processes?
“The real challenge has been maintaining shared standards while promoting the differences between the various boat models. We looked for a digital solution able to give us checklists dedicated to each model, to provide us with documentation to support the testing process and to quickly archive all the information collected during the tests.”
“There is a Quality Assurance procedure that indicates which checks to carry out when building, fitting out and testing the boats. These checks are performed using checklists completed by the tester on board.
This was quite a long process at Benetti because it involved filling in sheets of paper or using a computer (Word, Excel sheets). These sheets were transformed into PDFs and stored on our SharePoint corporate sharing system.
We have worked with Focus Informatica to digitalise this process using Audit Manager. Thanks to this app, the checklists have been digitalised and the tester can perform all the steps directly via the tablet. All the reports enter the system automatically and are shared with the rest of the company.”
Where did this need and requirement arise?
“The request to speed up and digitalise our work fortunately came from the quality department. We looked around and found Focus, which already had the solution. This solution grew with us and embraced our specific needs in the yachting sector. However, it’s not stopped at yachting, but has now gone far beyond.”
What was the path you followed when implementing the various digital solutions so as to integrate the new quality system with the other areas of the company?
“Fortunately, this path was mandatory. Having found the solution, we had to find a repository for the data. This repository already existed within the company in the form of SharePoint 2013. The big helping hand, the big implementation was all about providing the quality department not only with a tool, that is to say a tablet, but also with a solid database, accessible to everyone, where data was easy to find. We worked alongside Focus to make it possible to extract the results even more easily and visually, separating the extractions by environment and differentiating the checklists for each model as much as possible. It’s therefore not a mere list of problems. What is more, the app installed on the devices can also be used offline in complete autonomy and does require any kind of connection. As soon as there is network coverage again, the information is synchronised.”
E l’integrazione di sistemi e hardware verrà perseguita anche nel futuro?
“I’d say so. The integrations for gaining an understanding of whether the work on the vessels has been carried out correctly are already present: the system is connected to a roll & pitch detection sensor and to the wave scan to check the paintwork. It seems highly likely that other measurement-related implementations will be developed.
Another direction involves using the software in Android and iOS environments too. This will improve the app at the user interface level. We’ll also be opening the system up to our sales and after-sales colleagues.”
“I would add that we have also added acceptability indicators to the data collection process. It no longer simply involves data collection as an end unto itself, but also an automatic vessel compliance assessment. This is the biggest objective as regards integrating the measurement tools.”
I really like a quote by the great American quality expert Philip B. Crosby , who says: “It isn’t what you find, it’s what you do about what you find.”. What do you think about that? /em>
“I completely agree. It’s important to manage non-conformities, just as it’s important to take suggestions on board and pass them on to the people involved. This system enables us to obtain the data and enter it into a structured ‘to-do’ list, which can be seen by everyone and used by corporate bodies and external suppliers. As a manager, I can have direct control over progress being made in terms of controls, non-compliance correction and improvement work carried out both internally and by external suppliers.”
“Once the report was activated and the supplier notified, the most complex thing was to follow up the corrective work and make sure everything was done properly. Thanks to continuous monitoring, we can see the non-compliance status at any time and contact the supplier if necessary, archiving all the reports without losing any information.”
What benefits have you reaped from digitalising the testing and quality control processes?
“Ultimately, we had a number of goals for Benetti: to simplify and speed up testing, to digitalise the issues and to avoid data loss. All this has been resolved thanks to Audit Manager.
Archiving takes place automatically, we speeded things up and our documents are always up to date. The indicators are another big advantage offered by this tool: precisely because everything is digitalised, the indicators not only provide us with non-conformity measurements, but also tell us which are the most critical points in which the yard should invest more energy, analysing and resolving the problems. These indicators also allow us to explore things in greater detail, looking at a specific job rather than a specific subject or even going all the way to the supplier. This is another parameter that has helped us and is continuing to help us assess suppliers to see which ones perform the best.”
“It used to take around two days to check a boat – during the initial stage in the pool – and to create a report. We have now managed to reduce the procedure to just one day, a 50% reduction in time. We can make better use of resources: my staff can work individually on individual boats, but if necessary – perhaps in the case of a larger boat – they can synchronise and work together on different points.”
“Knowing which quality indicators need to be achieved is a huge benefit for a company. You have to set yourself targets and in order to do so you need tangible data. This was extremely difficult to do before, extremely laborious. It’s now become very easy thanks to this system. It also involves knowing where to intervene. Colleagues in the technical department who develop new models – or modify the construction of existing models – have had their job made much easier. They have photographic documentation and feedback on how problems have been resolved.
From an IT point of view, the environment is probably benefitting from the drastic reduction in printouts. I can only thank Focus for the support we have received, particularly as regards the integration of this system.”
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