The price of the gearbox

Every ceramic producer uses it, but what is the real price of a gearbox? Read how, in the Middle East, a test revealed that the cost can actually be a real investment.

The story at a glance

The investment choices are essential elements in the companies life, they depend on both costs and revenues. It seems a banal expression, but we often forget it in order to save money immediately on the single spares. The company of the Middle East, protagonist of this story, has identified with INTER SER an effective return on investments thanks to a reduction gear.

Every time I come back from a trip I have a feeling of enrichment. I think it’s a consolidated truth, much more countries you visit with curious eyes and the more you can grow in terms of culture and open-mindedness. And this is also true for every meeting in our company:  deeper we know our interlocutors and the more we are able to establish a partnership to support the customer in his business.

Alberto Stringi
Sales manager for the Middle- East, Bangladesh and Egypt areas.
Alberto Stringi


I deal with the Middle Eastern market, an area full of charm, where tradition and avant-garde are like tireless traveling companions: if one stops, the other encourages to keep up. Unfortunately we cannot say the same about the human situation, which, in many of these areas is always at risk in terms of security and rights. The people I meet for work are maintenance workers involved in the production lines and the relationship that, over the years, I have established with each of them allows to get the right spirit to co-operate. What does it mean to collaborate? According to me it means entering into a valuable dialogue with the customer: listening to the needs and proposing the most appropriate solution, not just a hail of “pieces with price”.

The Problem

The reducer is a component that every ceramics manufacturer knows well. It is a small but essential piece that must work, like lines, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. When it breaks down, it causes machine stops which, however short, represents big costs for the company. The components that INTER SER proposes are products by Motovario, a company made in Italy, internationally recognized for reliability and quality.We have always supplied Motovario gearboxes also in the Middle East and in particular to one of our historical customers. I noticed, however, that for some time the requests for maintenance and supply of this component had stopped altogether, so I decided to share a reflection with the maintenance technician during the usual visit to their plant.   “The cost of Motovario is high, the purchasing department has found a component that costs less and has the same technical features”.Actually, observing the component it seems completely the same as Motovario, even the color is the same, and the customer pays it 30% less.As I look at the component, my interlocutor adds: “Of course, there are several stops, but the component costs so little that we can replace it with a new one”.Just his last sentence contains the real problem for production: the machine stops. This is a cost that, even when it is low, must be multiplied for all the times it happens and must be added to the investment for the spare parts.A production manager knows the problem very well, who deals with purchases not always, or better often, only concentrates on the cost of the individual component

The Solution

The maintenance manager is in close contact with the machines and he knows them in every detail, even in terms of total production times: how long it takes to get out a piece, how much time will be spent in every step and also how much time is lost in the replacement of a component. How many times it happens. Giving this last information to the purchasing office means to collaborate so that the total cost of a spare part can be calculated, also considering its life time, its quality. We, as INTER SER, chase the opportunity to help our clients to invest their budgets correctly, also facilitating the dialogues between the various sectors such as, in this case, the technical and administrative ones. After some mails, while highlighting the total cost aspects of the component, we made sure that the maintenance manager suggested to the purchasing office to ask us a proposal. A proposal that we have agreed in ‘test’ mode.

The Result

We decided to do a test by installing the Motovario component on one line and, meanwhile, the other piece on a second line with the same features.After the tests, the objective data gave the result that the Motovario gearbox has a duration of 3 or 4 times longer than the one with the lowest price, improving the business continuity in favor of a higher productivity.Collaborating with the client, for INTER SER, means building a business partnership by facilitating the dialogue between the sectors for a truly effective return on investment.  


Alberto Stringi

Sales manager for the Middle- East, Bangladesh and Egypt areas.

The strengths of his way of working:

  • Transparent, direct and honest: in sales, liars never prosper.
  • Make promises that can be kept.
  • Always available to listen to the customer’ needs and propose solutions.

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