ATS and CFT: our strategy for the future
I would first like to say thank you. I’ve been to CFT many times last year, I’ve met many of you and I can’t thank you enough for your openness in working together to make, for ATS and CFT, “tomorrow better than today”!
We’ve been working hard over the last few months, visiting clients around the world together, working as a team and posing some questions to ourselves: what are we doing right? Where do we need to make improvements? Where should we be focusing? And that brings us to today, where we’re really focused on our strategy for the future, which we can summarize in three points.
Number one: defend. So we focus on the aftermarket as a central part of our strategy. You may have noticed the recent reorganization with Stefano Tonti and Stefano Romei, with the aim of gaining more control over the aftermarket in their departments. We’ve had several open positions for which we have now hired new people, and we are continuing to take people on so that we can build our aftermarket service and support team and be the best at taking care of our customers.
We’ve also started a project with a sister company, NIMCO. We’re developing a platform of digital solutions with them for our customers. We’re starting with Mutti as a key customer, to launch this platform that connects all the equipment on an integrated line, giving them the data they need to improve their performance and activities. This system connects Raytec equipment, all the CFT equipment and even has the ability to connect third-party equipment. Adding value and defending our business means taking care of our customers first.
We are continuing to try to invest in field service in Raytec, as well as in Comac and the whole Beverage side. It’s really a cross-organizational process, which aims to answer the question: how can we be in the best position to take care of our customers and improve the aftermarket as a percentage of our revenues? So, defend.
Number two: differentiate. ATS is an automation company, and when we look at our main competitors, we have access to resources, companies and technologies that they don’t have. We have the opportunity to develop great products such as Galileo, which Stefano Tonti worked on, using our Super Track technology, an ATS platform for transport. Or the great innovations Raytec is working on, involving all sorts of technology in the field of optical and X-ray sorting. This is how we’ll differentiate ourselves in the market, through new products using the best technology available.
Number three: diversify. We’ll continue to be the best in the world at processing tomatoes and fruit, that’s for sure. We’ll continue to look for ways to diversify into secondary processing and be the best in different areas that are adjacent markets, so as to also balance out the seasonal characteristics of the crops. A big part of our job is to understand those markets and ask ourselves what technologies we could get involved with and what areas we could innovate in to be the best.
We want to build a great company with great people, but do it the right way. So at the beginning we focused a lot on compliance and integration, and that’s an important part of being a big company. But it has to be done in the right way, making sure that we understand and respect trade compliance laws and our contractual procedure. But even these processes are not dogmas. They can all be improved on and they will be improved on through our ABM.
ABM is the way to go for continuous improvement. When we do it right, our employees and collaborators, our customers and our shareholders will benefit. There may be things that go wrong or that we’re not doing as efficiently as we’d like. They have to be solved, and who’s responsible for that? All of us. We’re all in charge of ABM, and this is the best part of our business model. As we continue to work on it, I’m inviting you: get involved! Get involved, because each of us has a role to play in the changes.
The best changes in a given sector come from the people who do that work every day. Because they know what needs to be changed, they know what doesn’t work and what can be improved.
I’m extremely excited to see ABM become part of the CFT Group, because we can really make this the best place to work throughout our global organization. So, to sum up, let’s carry on measuring, identifying problems and moving towards solutions.
Finally, I’d like to conclude by reiterating what will be one of our main areas of focus for the coming period: internal communication. We can never tire of finding different ways and means of communicating with all of you. As you know, I record a quarterly video that is then sent out as a company update. I’ll continue to do so, just as I’ll continue to meet with you whenever I’m here, either in groups or face to face, certainly with whoever asks, but ideally reaching out to people in a more proactive way.
Greta Corrigan, my vice-president for human resources, has set up several working groups to talk about engagement, and about what works and what doesn’t, and how we can improve. This will continue, because we really want to get to the root cause. Let’s try to understand: what do we really need to improve? And we all know who is responsible for this improvement. It is up to all of us to lead the way and make sure that this is the best possible company.
So, with that, thanks very much, again, for the last few months and for letting me get to know so many of you. This period has passed really quickly, but I look forward to continuing to get to know you and to implementing our ATS business model together.
Jeremy Patten, President of ATS Food and Beverage segment