Resilient & reliable

From the August 2020 issue.

Assali Stefen CEO, Giovanni Bertagnoli, met with Global Trailer to provide an update on operations and key innovative developments.

Italian OEM, Assali Stefen, draws on its strengths – flexibility, customisation, reliability and direct relationships with industry partners – to develop and deliver steering axles optimised for truck and trailer applications. For the CEO of this enterprise, Giovanni Bertagnoli, the motto ‘you can load on us’ could not be more appropriate right now.

“Indeed, we are an OEM that differentiates itself for our customer-oriented attitude and our ability to meet the needs of our clients both in terms of product and lead time,” he said. “Flexibility is in our nature. Now, more than ever, it is important to be flexible and adapt to change. Assali Stefen’s organisation and attitude make it possible to adjust quickly and easily to particular situations in order to give continuity to the supply chain of our customers. We commit to support the transport industry as a whole in order to help the entire world to be connected. The transport market can count on us. We stand by our customers and partners to face together current and future challenges.”

Italy was the first country to discover Covid-19 cases in Europe. Bertagnoli’s immediate concern was the wellbeing and safety of his employees.

“Safety measures have been strictly enforced to safeguard our employees’ health in order to assure a safe work environment,” he said. “For instance, we have encouraged people to work from home, handed out safety disposals, assured appropriate distance from person to person and we also increased the number of shifts in order to avoid gatherings. Furthermore, we have signed a special health insurance coverage for all our employees in case of Covid-19 infection.”

It was also important for Bertagnoli to support his customers and the entire transport system during this unprecedented time.

“Transport on the road – especially delivery of first necessity goods – has never stopped,” he said. “Truck drivers have worked tirelessly in order to assure food and medical equipment where needed. We as Assali Stefen have committed to support in every possible way both trailer manufacturers and after-sales so to guarantee business continuity and minimise the impact on our customers’ supply chain.”

From an operational standpoint, Assali Stefen prides itself on his flexibility, particularly during a challenging global health crisis.

“Our flexibility to adapt ensured quick and easy compliance to the new measures and regulations brought forward by the coronavirus pandemic,” Bertagnoli said. “As a result, we have reorganised part of our production processes. For instance, in order to avoid gatherings and extra hours as forbidden by government regulations, we have increased the number of shifts so the production line has never stopped during the day. By using the same resources but extending the working time, we have increased our efficiency by 10 per cent. Employees have responded with great collaboration and sense of responsibility. Despite the difficult times, our people have shown motivation and determination while joining forces to make all of this possible.”

Despite this critical time, Assali Stefen continues to invest in technological innovation.
“One of our latest investments is in the automation of our assembly system which now counts on new electronical machines from the industry 4.0,” Bertagnoli said. “Each work station has a computer and a comfort-designed screwdriver so the operators can register the identification number of the axle and associate to it the data referring to the torque tightening of brakes, wheelends and suspension components. This modern assembly line improves ergonomics and allows the best precision and reliability of the final assembly process.”

Assali Stefen offers a wide portfolio of products ranging from standard to customised axles and suspensions.

“We first started in 1984 as a manufacturer of self-steering and special axles, so we have a long experience on that side and we are now one of the major manufacturers,” Bertagnoli said. “In 2011 we became the exclusive producer of ROR standard products, thus widening our range of products and later giving new impulse to this brand.

“Over the years we have developed new solutions that meet the needs of the transport market, as for example the Stefair air suspension, the GB axle series for heavy duty applications, and our latest innovation – the SL9 suspension. This integrated air suspension has an innovative and patented clamping system that allows a weight reduction of 20kg per axle and increased roll stiffness by 20 per cent compared to the CS9 suspension. The SL9 suspension loading capacity is up to 9 ton and it is available in different configurations depending on the application area.

“Assali Stefen differentiates itself because, beside standard axles and suspensions, we offer to our customers a different, customer-oriented service. We have a direct relationship with our clients and offer them customised solutions that can be tailor made.”

Last October, Assali Stefen received a ‘Champions of Veneto’ award, which was promoted by ItalyPost and L’Economia by Corriere della Sera at the prestigious CUOA Business School.
The award was conferred after a study by ItalyPost’s Research Center and the selection was made on the basis of a series of indicators deriving from the turnover of the last six years, such as growth, financial soundness and credit rating.

“It was an honour to be awarded by such well-known and esteemed institutions considering the very high competitiveness of Veneto,” said Bertagnoli. “The award means very much to our company because it acknowledges our trustworthiness and the great results of our business plan and rewards years of hard work and passion.

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