Giulio Ricci used to practically live out of his suitcase. He reels off a list of countries: “Japan, Brazil, South Africa, USA … Except for Australia, I’ve been almost everywhere.” That means wherever customers of Fabio Perini, the market leader in machines for manufacturing and processing tissue products, operate. All those places from where they call to say, “Lucca, we have a problem. Things are at a standstill.”
Ricci and three colleagues provide customer support from Fabio Perini’s headquarters in Lucca, Italy. They can be reached around the clock if ever a paper web tears, a motor malfunctions or a warning light flashes somewhere in the world and the local technicians can’t deal with the problem. “Machines are constantly becoming more complex,” Ricci says. “Today it often happens that several engineers are responsible for a single machine. Just a few years ago, only one engineer was needed. But today a single person can no longer know every detail.” Meanwhile, some machines have already been in operation for up to 40 years — and experts like Ricci are needed to get them going again. Ricci can correct many malfunctions via telephone, Skype or e-mail, but some problems are too complicated to solve in these ways. “In two cases out of five, I used to have to travel to our customers — and sometimes I’d work there for only a very short time,” he says.