After a necessary self-analysis of the company, Somec has only grown stronger through its subsequent restructuring. From the corporate structure to the production line, the company has seen a complete turnaround, placing it solidly in the market and on the path to success.

An important player in the cruise ships glazing supply market for over 20 years, more than 90 sailing passenger cruise ships are glazed with Somec products. Located near Venice, in Italy, the company provides turnkey design, production, project management and installation of balconies, doors, windows, continuous glass walls, skylights and glazed roofs, windscreens, wheelhouse glasses, fire-resistant glazing and many other custom products for new buildings and refits.

Playing to its strengths

In September 2013 the group underwent a significant change, introducing a new board and corporate structure. The new board, comprising chairman and CEO Oscar Marchetto, chief operating officer Giancarlo Corazza and chief finance officer Alessandro Zanchetta, subsequently decided to concentrate exclusively on the naval sector, and set up a restructuring programme to enhance the business in the cruise ships sector and upgrade its operations.

"Long-term success can be achieved only with a new way of thinking and new ways of doing things," explains CEO Oscar Marchetto. "Our strengths have always been our expertise and our offer of bespoke products created in response to individual clients' demands, but the organisation needed to be renovated to look towards new horizons."

Somec's evolution was launched from a rising awareness of the rapidly changing market; it became clear that a restructure was needed. It was determined that this change could be achieved through comprehensive self-analysis, identifying the shape the new organisation would take."A large-scale organisational change has to start from a deep internal analysis, but first of all we needed to recognise our willingness to bring into question the whole structure," says COO Giancarlo Corazza. "We have examined what clients are looking for, our added value and capabilities, and set up a corporate reorganisation to satisfy market expectations and bring innovation, with the support of an investment plan."

The whirlwind of changes driven by these starting points aimed for the continuous improvement of the company.

Improvements across the board

The key points of the restructuring programme involved the set-up of new enterprise resource planning suitable for international business, integrating each of the company's departments and implementing new cost control resources.

The design department has been split into design teams with one dedicated to every customer, so as to guarantee continuity to the client from a personal and organisational point of view. Meanwhile, the engineering and R&D division, devoted to the study of new solutions and products, avail themselves of new human resources and new certified testing equipment, which autonomously arranges internal tests simulating adverse climatic conditions and measuring products' performances.

After a deep analysis, production was revised by setting up new assembly lines in the aluminium department, with new machining centres working at full speed. The upgrades to the aluminium and glass departments, along with the new production arrangement, brought several tangible benefits to production performances. The flexibility of the new system can allow a further increase to production capacity of 30-35% when it becomes necessary.

The quality assurance department also received new resources in order to increase and reinforce control at all stages of the production cycle, starting at suppliers' facilities and materials-receipt stations, during production, until shipment and on-site installation.

The project management and site management departments have been reorganised in much the same way. The role of installation teams was recognised as crucial, being Somec's final interface with the client. In this division is Sotrade, a company based in Slovakia, with 45 employees filling a part of Somec's requirements for international installation works.

Somec is working daily on permanent shipyards in five different countries: Italy, France, Germany, Finland and Japan. Somec is currently supplying and working on 14 newbuilds and five refit projects. For its refitting projects, the company established Navaltech in 2007, based in Miami, which is dedicated to refit and maintenance activities and plays an important part in Somec's economic standing.

High-capacity facilities

The total area occupied by Somec offices and production facilities is 20,000m², subdivided into the offices, and the aluminium and glass production departments.

The offices include six employees in the sales office, 20 in the technical department, ten in the administrative office, ten employees dedicated to project management, ten in the purchasing department and quality assurance and 15 involved in site management operations, as well as 25 members of staff in other departments. Further supporting Somec's commitment to its clients' needs are 70 workers in the production department, while 40 employees are currently working at Sotrade. Taking its sister companies Sotrade and Navaltech into consideration, Somec boasts a total of 206 dedicated employees.

Innovation in design

The design and R&D department has always been the heart of Somec: a foundry of studies and ideas, dedicated to improving existing systems, designing new products and supporting the sales department to offer customers the products that push the industry to thrive.

The R&D division analyses project specifications and identifies the products to be proposed, then evaluates their performances in order to meet regulations and requirements. The division then performs internal and external tests to ensure the best results are achieved.