Insights - Up Through the Gears

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In its near hundred-year history, Italian group OCMI-OTG has developed into an industry leader in its own right. Filomena Nardi interviewed Mr Andrea Colombo, the Sales Manager of OTG, the group division dedicated to the manufacturing of gears for different applications throughout the oil and gas sector and beyond, to find out how the group has applied the principles of quality, flexibility and innovation to establish itself as a leading player on the international stage.

Defined by Mr Andrea Colombo, Sales Manager of the OTG division as, "two entities that coexist under the same roof, but that are completely different from one another", OCMI and OTG are the two main components of the OCMI Group; an outstanding Italian business headquartered in Via Venezia Giulia, Milan and run by the third generation of the Gusti family.

The core business of the group is broken into two divisions: OTG specialises in manufacturing made-to-order reduction gears and overgears specifically for applications in the oil and gas industries; and OCMI - a leading manufacturer of machineries and finishing lines for the production of pharmaceutical and cosmetic glass containers from glass tubes.

With just under 60 employees, a turnover of around &EUR;20 million and with almost 90 per cent of its production dedicated to exports, OCMI-OTG can be described as a pocket-size multinational, a typical family-run SME that has managed to succeed in international markets.

"OCMI-OTG is, in fact, a small company, but our success is definitely closely related to our size," claimed Mr Colombo. "Being small means that we can be flexible and make whatever internal changes are necessary to respond rapidly and effectively to the changing customers' needs. Flexibility, innovation and quality are three of our key strengths that have enabled our company to take on some of our biggest competitors and their vastly superior budget."

Different Companies, Same Goal Mr Colombo explained how OCMI and OTG ended up under the same umbrella: "The origins date back to 1921 when Mr Alfredo Gusti founded the eponymous company Gusti Alfredo SpA - a business dedicated to the manufacturing and engineering of mechanical components, with a special focus on gears and transmissions for the automotive, maritime and railway industries," he said.

"The firm continued to grow and in 1977 the Gusti family decided to undertake a new adventure and launched OCMI, a new company dedicated to engineering and manufacturing of glass machines. The two businesses coexisted and developed separately for several years under the leadership of the Gusti family."

In the late 1980s Gusti Alfredo SpA became OTG - Organi Trasmissione Gusti - and moved into new premises.

But 2005 was the historic year that marked the beginning of a new era for the Gusti family. "This was when the two companies OCMI and OTG were placed into the same building," added Mr Colombo. "As I mentioned before, these two businesses are completely different, but they live well together as they share a common goal: to continue to grow albeit on two different paths."

The OTG Division
OTG's product portfolio includes PTMb horizontal parallel gears for API centrifugal pumps, turbo generators or compressor applications, GR right-angle gears, HS parallel shaft gears, high speed parallel reducing gear boxes for turbo expander applications and many auxiliaries for turbines and compressors

"Our division through the years passed through many different paths, starting with custom gears and gear units for sport cars, such as Ferrari and Porsche, ending with industrial applications for oil and gas and heavy duty services," explained Mr Colombo. "Our main reference sector is the oil and gas followed by the power generation and the paper industries. Within the oil and gas sector we have been worked for over 50 years with companies like GE Nuovo Pignone as well as some of the most important manufacturers of turbines, compressors and pumps and top engineering companies across the globe."

Brands such as Fincantieri, Dresser, Sulzer, Elliot, Man Diesel & Turbo and Worthington are only a few prestigious names within the who's who list of OTG's customers.

"We work with internationally renowned brands because we are always available and ready to work with our customers in order to delivery solutions that perfectly mirrors their needs within very short deadlines," commented Mr Colombo.

"Apart from a few standardised items intended for the paper industry, our company does not have a product catalogue. Just as a tailor produces tailored clothes for their clientele, we also manufacture gear and gearboxes that perfectly meet the needs of our customers. Everything is customised according to client's specifications. Each components of the gearbox is completely developed and manufactured within OTG and we guarantee to manage client's projects from A to Z."

Small Business, Big Vision

Despite the recent global recession, over the past few years OTG has experienced mind-blowing growth.

"Looking back at our trend in revenue, I must say that over the last ten years we have almost tripled our turnover, we have doubled the number of machines produced and we have reached unthinkable peaks, mainly within the oil and gas sector," proudly stated Mr Colombo.

"Unfortunately, the recent sharp fall in the price of oil has prompted major producers to drop oil and gas projects and we have noticed a reduction in orders. Like everyone else, we are now waiting for the situation to recover."

But OTG is a proactive company which is not known to sit and wait for opportunities to knock at its door. While waiting for the oil and gas to regain its former glory the company continues to invest in the future and in new machinery. "Many of these recent investments have improved the overall speed and increased the capacity of our manufacturing process as well as enabling the company to produce in-house some components previously provided by a few sub-suppliers."

As part of the company's plan to achieve a lean manufacturing process, OTG is also currently implementing a new SAP management system.

"We are indeed a small company but with a big vision. Our owners are constantly looking for new opportunities for expansion that will help our business to go far and beyond," revealed Mr Colombo.

"Our strategy for the future is to continue to be what we are, by passing the acquired know-how to new generations and by continuing to invest in new technology and management systems. Our goal is to be even more flexible and still maintain the level of quality that has enabled us to work with big names in the market."

 

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