Fontana Gruppo: Fastening on a data integration layer that keeps HQ and customers in the know

About Fontana Gruppo

Composed of 19 production plants spanning across continents, Fontana Gruppo produces top-quality fasteners for multiple industries, covering every aspect of the product life cycle from design to production and distribution.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Italy

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About Huware

Based in Italy, Google Cloud Premier Partner Huware helps companies to evolve by introducing more collaborative, efficient, and flexible working logics.

Fontana Gruppo built a data integration layer for its stock and supply systems using BigQuery, enabling quick operational insights and the easy tracking of products for better customer service.

Google Cloud results

  • Integrates multiple supply and inventory data sources, providing supply chain insights across regions
  • Enables easy tracking of products along the supply chain, improving transparency for customers
  • Offers fast and flexible data integration, facilitating the quick production of reports in response to operational challenges

New data sources integrated in minutes, not weeks

From simple nuts, bolts, screws, and washers, to custom-designed fastening systems based on specific applications, the mission of Italian manufacturing group Fontana Gruppo is to provide the best fastening solutions on a global scale. Founded in 1952 in the heart of Lombardy by the Fontana brothers, the company has now grown to employ 4,500 people globally, supplying some of the biggest players in the automotive, aerospace, and construction industries.

“Our products are used for cars, planes, and machinery,” explains Matteo Ceccarini, Global Digital Transformation and IT Director at Fontana Gruppo. “They need to be of the highest quality and delivered at the right time, otherwise our customers’ production lines are affected. That means we need an extremely efficient logistics system.” With plants, sales offices, logistics centers, and R&D departments located across four continents, the company generates two terabytes a month of new data from many disparate operational systems, and the company expects this number to increase in the future.

“In order for our business directors to make the right decisions, they need to be able to access the right information. The goal of our data lake project is to provide visibility over different sources and processes, so we can react quickly to new challenges such as increases in volume.”

Matteo Ceccarini, Global Digital Transformation and IT Director, Fontana Gruppo

After acquiring one of its largest competitors in 2014, Fontana Gruppo realized it needed a way to manage its newly enlarged operations and sales activities. As part of a comprehensive digital transformation project, it decided to build a data lake, enabling easier tracking and data analysis. Working with implementation partner Huware, it chose BigQuery on Google Cloud as the best tool for the job.

“In order for our business directors to make the right decisions, they need to be able to access the right information,” says Matteo. “The goal of our data lake project is to provide visibility over different sources and processes, so we can react quickly to new challenges such as increases in volume.”

Integrating multiple sources for faster insights

When a company grows by acquisition, aligning systems and data outputs is crucial for the business to function efficiently. In 2015, with the help of Huware, Fontana Gruppo migrated to Google Workspace in order to make sure its employees were providing the same service in Asia as in North America, using the same platform and the same tools. The next step in aligning its systems was to create a layer of data integration to extract product information so it could be easily interpreted. “We had attempted this kind of integration with our legacy systems many times, but it was too complex,” says Matteo.

“Thanks to Google BigQuery, we’re able to put together information coming from many different systems, based on its ability to handle huge amounts of data within a small time frame. That means we can respond quickly to customer questions, providing information that we were unable to access in the past.”

Matteo Ceccarini, Global Digital Transformation and IT Director, Fontana Gruppo

To enable Fontana Gruppo to upload information from the multiple legacy systems that are part of its supply chain and track exactly where batches of products are in the production process, it built a data lake on Google Cloud. “We use Dataflow, Cloud Composer, and Compute Engine to manage our data ingestion pipelines, with Google BigQuery as our data warehouse,” says Matteo.

“Thanks to BigQuery, we’re able to put together information coming from many different systems, based on its ability to handle huge amounts of data within a small time frame,” says Matteo. “That means we can respond quickly to customer questions, providing information that we were unable to access in the past.”

In order to visualize data and produce reports, Fontana Gruppo uses Sheets and Google Data Studio. “Our business teams build specific analyses on Data Studio, drilling down or slicing data to gain new insights and address operational challenges,” says Matteo.

Working in partnership for a successful transformation

Working together with Huware has been key to Fontana Gruppo’s ongoing digital transformation project. “We started working with Huware back in 2014, when we decided to migrate to Google Workspace” says Matteo. “The switch to Google Workspace really helped us to implement a change in work culture across our companies.” Because of Huware’s expertise in Google products, Fontana Gruppo has continued to work with them on projects and training. “The relationship is more like a partnership, rather than one of service provider and client,” adds Matteo.

The team at Huware agrees. “The digital transformation of Fontana Gruppo is one of the most interesting projects we have ever worked on,” says Francesco Pedroni, Head of Sales at Huware. “The company has embraced the path to innovation, rebuilding its processes and vision with Google Cloud.”

“If a customer needs a particular part, we can use the data lake to check where it is in the production process across Europe. Rather than calling Spain or Germany to track down the part, it can be located in seconds, so the customer keeps their production lines rolling.”

Matteo Ceccarini, Global Digital Transformation and IT Director, Fontana Gruppo

Creating an integrated system for global reporting

Being able to access system information in a flexible way means Fontana Gruppo is now much faster in reacting to operational challenges. “Before, if our directors needed a particular insight, we would have had to call in consultants to build a new data set and a new warehouse,” says Matteo. “Now, we simply integrate the new data source, and BigQuery is so flexible, we can access new insights in hours, rather than weeks.”

The data lake has also improved the service Fontana Gruppo can offer its customers. “If a customer needs a particular part, we can use the data lake to check where it is in the production process across Europe,” says Matteo. “Rather than calling Spain or Germany to track down the part, it can be located in seconds, so the customer keeps their production lines rolling.”

As the next step in its digital transformation, Fontana Gruppo is planning to replace its legacy ERP system with SAP S/4 HANA on Google Cloud. “We will be one of the first manufacturing companies in our industry to roll out SAP on Google Cloud,” says Matteo. “Thanks to our collaboration with Huware and Google Cloud, Fontana Gruppo is well positioned to continue developing new solutions and making the most of tools such as machine learning to gain even deeper insights.”

While the data lake currently covers the company’s EMEA systems, it also plans to extend the system to other territories. “Then we will have a truly global solution for global reporting, which will enable us to consolidate operational and manufacturing information from all over the world,” says Matteo.

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

Contact us

About Fontana Gruppo

Composed of 19 production plants spanning across continents, Fontana Gruppo produces top-quality fasteners for multiple industries, covering every aspect of the product life cycle from design to production and distribution.

Industries: Manufacturing
Location: Italy

About Huware

Based in Italy, Google Cloud Premier Partner Huware helps companies to evolve by introducing more collaborative, efficient, and flexible working logics.

*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.