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Q&A: Fontana Gruppo - Special Fasteners tightens up global operations with G Suite

Editor’s note: We spoke to Alberto Fontana, Owner and Global Operations Director of Fontana Gruppo - Special Fasteners, about the company’s growth strategy and how it’s supported by G Suite collaboration tools. Founded in 1952, Fontana Gruppo - Special Fasteners is one of the world’s leading producers of industrial fasteners. The Fontana family business has more than 4,100 employees, 19 production plants on four continents, and an annual turnover of $1billion.

Why did you choose Google Cloud’s G Suite to help you grow?

In 2014, our annual turnover doubled when we bought one of our main competitors. This helped us expand pretty rapidly. Today, we have factories in Italy, Mexico, Brazil, India and the United States, and we produce more than 10 billion industrial fasteners per year. This rapid global expansion brought fresh challenges we needed to overcome: we had two separate email solutions, our on-premise server system felt outdated, and different locations were using different IT systems. We looked for ways to unify the company and G Suite was a perfect fit.

How was the migration process to G Suite?

With outstanding assistance from Innext, our Global Change Management Service Partner, we began moving 14 terabytes of files from our servers onto Drive. We wanted our teams to choose G Suite rather than to be forced to make the change, and within just six months, all 4,100 of our staff had Google accounts and Gmail. Data migration was only a part of the whole “Project Innovation” we undertook with Innext, whose team of Google Cloud credentialed trainers educated our people on G Suite features and best practices.

How did G Suite impact your office-based teams?

Staff at our 19 sites can now work together simultaneously on single, continually-saved documents using Docs or Sheets. No more worrying about having the wrong version or losing information when people fail to save. On top of that, management now has oversight on up-to-the-minute progress, and can leave feedback in clear and simple comments.

How have your factory teams benefited from G Suite?

Our factory staff surprised us by using G Suite in interesting ways. One example is they use  Sheets as an alternative ). The staff installed large screens in the factory on which operators can upload information on a live Sheet, such as daily goals and progress in real-time.

How has this helped your teams work together across borders?

With G Suite, our managers now use mobile devices more than desktop or laptop computers, even when they’re offline, so that they can stay in touch when they’re visiting sites and clients. At the same time, Hangouts has reduced unnecessary travel, and meetings are easier to arrange on Calendar and at our facilities with Chromebox for Meetings.

How do you make sure everything's running smoothly?

Unlike with our on-premise servers, we never experience outages or have to spend time on maintenance. For staff feedback, Forms is ideal for collecting vital data from our sales team and global HR.

Can you tell us about your experience with Google’s security and compliance?

Following a discussion with James Snow, Head of Google Data Security, we’re convinced that Google’s security meets our needs, and is certainly better than our previous servers. One major benefit is that we can partition our information and share it with third parties, such as auditors.

What’s next for Fontana Gruppo - Special Fasteners?

Beyond universal adoption of G Suite in our Italian HQ and in our foreign branches, we keep improving our new “collaboration and communication experience” by evaluating new initiatives provided by Innext, like our CSS project and customized Transformation Labs. It’s our intention to be more than the biggest industrial fastener company — we want to be the most innovative, too. And because G Suite is regularly updated, we know Google will keep us ahead of the curve.