After joining, at the beginning of 2019, the TSS multinational group, a company that acquires software houses specialized in various vertical sectors all over the world, RTS has decided to take a further step forward by innovating its organizational structure and assigning to Robertino Piazza the position of general manager of the company
It was February 2019 when Gastone Partisani and Mauro Mercadante, the founders of RTS, which this year celebrated its first 40 years of activity, announced the entry of their company into the Total Specific Solutions (TSS) Group, a multinational which belongs to the Canadian Topicus (3.5 billion dollars in annual turnover) and specializes in the acquisition and development of leading software houses in their respective countries and specialized in various vertical sectors. In the specific sector of corrugated cardboard, RTS is the first company of the Group, while the other companies operate in neighboring sectors, such as paper mills.
TSS is headquartered in the Netherlands and controls 109 software houses throughout Europe, with a turnover of over € 450 million. RTS is the first company that the TSS Group has acquired in Italy; two more were then added: one specializing in software systems for the management of lifts, and one for call centers.
The office that deals with carrying out the acquisitions of software houses in our country is based in Milan and has already foreseen an important investment plan for the next 5 years.
The acquisition of RTS did not change anything in terms of company name and collaborators, while it predicted that after about 3 years there would be changes in management: today Gastone Partisani holds the role of consultant for new acquisitions, Mauro Mercadante, with his great experience, carries out “coaching” in the R&D department, and Robertino Piazza, in RTS for several years, is the new general manager.
Face to face with Robertino Piazza, general manager of RTS
Let’s talk about these first three years in the new Group?
“From February 2019 to today, many changes have occurred, starting with our entry into the new reality, which has taught us a new way of managing the company and business with customers, more akin to a multinational. We familiarized ourselves with new concepts of monthly budget forecasts, finance management, but above all, many opportunities for training and comparison with the other companies of the Group were created. This aspect represented for the collaborators a moment of great growth opportunity, because even if the shared experiences come from different application sectors, there are common problems that apply across the board to everyone. The sharing of best practices is very important, but above all bad practices, that is all those negative experiences which, if shared, allow you to avoid repeating mistakes.
A further extremely positive aspect, which was also one of the objectives of our entry into TSS, was to achieve greater financial solidity, an indispensable condition in order not to be affected by market fluctuations and to offer an ever greater guarantee of continuity, both for the people of RTS and for customers.
Can you tell us about the business model that your Group is using?
“The business model applied by the new owner is decentralized: the company structure, employees and customers remain unchanged, so much so that no one has practically noticed this step since, in fact, nothing has changed in operational terms. The former owners initially become managers of the new business unit which, after about 3 years, aims to identify within the staff figures to let grow, ensuring continuity for the company. In this specific case, I had the honor of receiving this proposal which I accepted with great enthusiasm, confident that it will allow me to continue to grow further where I feel like a home”.
How have your customers reacted to this news?
“From this operation, customers have had and will have important benefits: solid financial structure, guarantee of continuity in the future, new projects and solutions. A product like that of RTS is extremely delicate and strategic. By managing all the contexts of the company from the commercial area to production and shipping, if a problem arises, the risk is to stop the customer’s operations putting him in crisis. A partner like RTS, with a solid structure and 40 years of expertise behind it, is the guarantee for current and future operations”.
What is the aspect that you appreciated the most thanks to the new working method?
“Thinking of helping customers to anticipate their eventual needs, we have always studied and designed some customized solutions that could not cover the complete needs of other companies. Our parent company suggested that we should change our approach, involving customers right from the initial analysis phases, asking for their opinions already in the design and development phases. In this way, solutions answer to more specific but also more general requests to the benefit of the end user, who can therefore count on an ad hoc solution at a much more convenient cost because it is distributed to various customers who have joined our proposal. We are therefore able to be further focused on the needs of the sector and very competitive also as regards the cost/performance ratio”.
How did you manage the Covid emergency?
“Having made the transition a year before Covid allowed us to face the emergency more structured and with more peace of mind. Customers have not experienced any problems either in receiving our services or assistance. Furthermore, in this period we took the opportunity to deepen many training aspects, adopting new working methods that we intend to carry out, with the right balance between smart-working and working in the presence, favoring a good balance between work and private life. I don’t know if we would have come to this decision anyway without this emergency, but this ‘new normal’ is giving us enormous ideas for improvement”.
What are the plans for the future? What are you developing for cardboard packaging customers?
“We are developing new advanced solutions to optimize commercial and logistical processes to speed up operations, through the standardization of processes, and the proactivity of information systems. The innovations will concern new workflow products and highlights, with reports, easy-to-understand KPI dashboards; all to respond to customer requests to increase the speed of internal processes and efficiently manage batches that are increasingly reduced due to extremely variable market conditions.
In particular, the new module that we have released in recent months is the Customer Dashboard, a new feature linked to the Global RTS platform that allows you to see all the most significant economic data of a particular customer in a single screen and allows you to quickly find main information related to a customer with the ability to go into detail of each value. This feature allows agents to access data remotely and have all the information they need when talking to end customers. This is the first feature fully developed on the Global RTS platform which, with its intrinsic potential, will allow us to further expand the services made available to our users, especially by developing the remote part, increasingly necessary for a fluid management of processes. which must be faster and faster to respond adequately to market demands.
We also renewed the partnership with Induvation, a managerial consulting company in the field of Operations and Innovation Management specialized in processes for Lean Production, which will also be extended to the Spanish market.
We pay great attention to cyber security, both for our internal development processes and for the products offered to customers. We are also developing new Analytics features in order to enhance forecast information.
We have come from two years of strong overall growth and the forecasts for the future are to proceed on the path of process and product innovation, confirming ourselves next to the cardboard packaging industry for the next forty years.
This year we participated in Gifco and Fefco congresses in Copenhagen and we are planning our presence at CCE International which will be held in Munich in March 2022. After the most dramatic phase of the pandemic, the resumption of these events is of great importance, as it allows us to return to meet customers and partners from all over the world. An auspicious sign of recovery of that social and relational aspect that is such a significant part of our professional life.
Induvation GmbH is a German management consulting company with operational headquarters in Italy, specializing in the corrugated cardboard sector with a focus on the box factory.
Born in 2007 as a spin-off of Fraunhofer IML – the largest logistics institute in Europe, dedicated to research and applied development of business procedures.
Their experience in the sector is based on a long and fruitful collaboration both with box factories, integrated and producers, and with their respective suppliers of technical and IT services.
Their managerial approach called “LeanBox” is a model developed and approved over the years in the box factory world and aimed at increasing the performance of the entire production system in order to achieve Operational Excellence.
For more information, please visit the website www.lean-box.it – dedicated to Operational Excellence in the Box Factory.