Gabriele Pece

Product Owner

Product owner of the smart manufacturing team at the Data Science and Analytics, Pirelli Tyre Spa. The team is in charge of developing innovative digital products for all Pirelli factories in the world (19 factories).
Data enthusiast engineer with a big crush on data science, coding, startups, innovation and agile. In love with the hands-on approach they require.
With an academic background in mechanical engineering, I have co-founded a start-up aimed at developing new products for the industrial sector, using thinking design and inventive methodologies.
Following this experience, I have attended an MBA at collège des ingenieurs, where I had the opportunity to learn business development, organizations and traditional project management.
In 2013 I have joined Pirelli, where I have been involved in developing new technologies for manufacturing mainly in the field of computer vision and process controls.
Finally, two years ago I have joined the new Data Science and Analytics department with the final goal of creating a Data Driven Culture in Pirelli through the creation of digital products and dissemination of new digital skills.
This was the first experience (and love at first sight) I had with agile methodology, and after a demanding path, it has finally become the pillar of our daily activities.



(exposed in italian)


Bringing agile back to manufacturing

The challenge of agility in the factories: creating digital product development teams around the world.


Description (soon will be translated in English)

I would like to share the experience of a digital transformation in a traditional company, focusing on the key role of agile methodologies, pillar of this transformation.
To me, the take-home will be an absolutely non-obvious insight about how small teams – in a company of 30.000 people – can have a huge impact (and disruption) on the traditional value chain of a manufacturing company.

Through my intervention, I would like to present the evolution of the smart manufacturing project at Pirelli Tyre. This has been made possible thanks to the adoption of the agile methodology, that has created an extended digital product development team in our factories.

During the 90s, the manufacturing sector had to face a deep transformation through “lean manufacturing”, and Pirelli proved to be an European pioneer of this process. Ccontinuous improvement become part of our DNA.
Two years ago we started our digital transformation, another big and important challenge..but way more difficult than the previous one.

However, traditional lean manufacturing is not enough to face the current market challenges.
New challenges require to design and develop new solutions, in order to increase the product value for our customers. Mass production is over, it is not anymore just about making the perfect tyre…it’s about perfectly matching the user needs and expectations in a world of mass customization.
Manufacturing has to leverage the huge amount of data as a boost for value improvement of our products. Tools are no longer just physical machines, but also software that can monetize data coming from the shop floor.

The people working in the factories are naturally inclined to be ‘makers’, solving problems with first hand solutions made by themselves. So, how can we help them become the new digital makers? How can we empower them to create digital products and solve their problems directly on the gemba (where things happen), benefiting from the large quantity of data hidden in the shop floor?
Given this scenario, the biggest challenge concerns a small bunch of people: how can they transform the company’s way of working, from factory managers to shop-floor operators?

This is the story of an agile working digital product development team composed by data scientists, professional developers and data engineers, based in the Head Quarter of the company. Our goal was the creation of agile teams in each factory (in total, 19 factories).
After 2 years, we are in the half-way of this transformation: currently, we have 10 agile teams active in different factories, able to develop digital data products for the manufacturing department. All teams develop these data products through thinking design and agile method.

Moreover, I would like explain how a balanced approach between technical training (coding skills) and methodology training (agile) made possible the creation of a community of developers able to produce data products.
This initiative has been developed through a circle of skillify, socialize and communication activities.
First step, ‘skillification’: this was necessary to transform industrial engineers in developers able to work in agile teams.
Second step, network: the growing developers shared best practices within the network, stimulating the discussions and creating a common knowledge within the teams.
Finally, communication: new teams outcome is shared with stakeholders and the whole company in a transparent way, supporting an effective digital transformation in manufacturing.

Furthermore, I would like to describe the process of having on board a conservative management with no prior experience in agile methodologies, and the amazing accomplishment of transforming them in effective stakeholders, a relevant role in the agile framework.

A final evaluation of the key role of the agile principles in the digital transformation of a manufacturing company will bring us to the conclusion that digital transformation can’t happen only on a technical level. A renovated company culture and way of working are crucial as well.