From Key4biz: ‘Tiesse: Quality and Assurance system, here's how the Made in Italy Router is born'. Interview with Vincenzo Luciano Lucrezia

Vincenzo Luciano Lucrezia, Tiesse Technical Director: 'Ensure product quality and support for complex systems in real time at the centre of our strategy'. That's how the Quality cycle works in the Ivrea Laboratory.

How to build a high-tech Italian product and ensure quality levels equal to or higher than those of the most aggressive and powerful global competitors? This is the case of TIESSE, the Ivrea-based company specialising in ‘Made in Italy’ fixed and mobile corporate networking systems, broadband routers, M2M devices and IoT applications, which has made support to its customers with real-time interventions on installed networks and devices one of its major strengths.

TIESSE produces some of the best routers and M2M devices in the world for the main Telcos and major Systems Integrators on the market. But today, product quality must be accompanied by quality of support. We spoke with Vincenzo Luciano Lucrezia, Tiesse Technical Director.

Key4biz. How do you ensure adequate quality levels for products and customers?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaWith constant investment in time and resources to improve the Quality and Assurance system, already ISO 9001 and CSQ IQNET certified since 2001, and thus ensure optimal performance of our routers and M2M devices, which allow us to be adequately competitive on market and to reassure our customers with a superior quality of service.

Key4biz. What does the work of the Quality and Assurance department represent for TIESSE?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaIt represents a mandate, that of our Quality and Assurance which is a flagship of the relationship of trust built over the years with customers, because it has the primary objective of establishing standard flows and procedures and creating ever new test environments, to improve not only product quality, but the entire supply chain, starting from the sale of our routers and M2M devices up to pre and post-sales support.

Key4biz. With which objective?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaWith a technologically advanced product line, TIESSE aims to preserve the investments of its customers in network configurations to the utmost, while ensuring a "cost-effective" migration to new technologies, such as Smart Grid Networks – see tender won with ENEL for Smart Grids in Puglia – strengthening the interconnection between user and device. Without a constantly evolving and customer-oriented Quality and Assurance System, all this would not be possible.

Key4biz. What are your latest innovations?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaAmong the innovations of this year is certainly the strengthening of the Pre and Post-Sales Technical Support area, in order to promptly respond to customer needs. In particular, the objective is to implement a structured Trouble Ticketing escalation mechanism, in order to manage on-the-field problems, alongside the toll-free number and the dedicated call center.

Key4biz. How important is your Laboratory in Ivrea?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaOur Laboratory in Ivrea has become the veritable core of Quality Control. The focal point for TIESSE is obviously continuous professional development of technical personnel and external partners, but the core of the process is precisely in the Quality Control Laboratory at the TIESSE headquarters in Ivrea.  And it is here that the company has decided to compare performance in the various network environments and usability of TIESSE devices with those of its main competitors. By the end of the year, the Laboratory area will be upgraded with the best simulation and benchmarking instrumentation and technologies. Collaboration with faculty and students of the Politecnico di Torino to define scenarios and methodologies is also envisaged.

Key4biz. To be competitive, the test area must be precise and sophisticated, how are you moving in this direction?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaAmong the main activities carried out in the Laboratory are tests and inspections on firmware and software releases, subsequently loaded in the production phase on all router and M2M device families. There are 14 areas within the Laboratory, in part designed and configured to specific customer requirements, thus enabling custom tests and simulations on the real environment in which the devices and software will be operational.

As test support system, TIESSE has chosen an open source system that ensures the required flexibility and maximum openness to custom features developed by the R&D Department.

Key4biz. Real-time support has become one of the indispensable service elements, how are you addressing it?

Vincenzo Luciano LucreziaIn a simple and effective way. The ticket management system is based on a support database and on a customised web-based user interface for software project management, bug tracking and any problems identified during testing or reported from the field. It comprises an integrated wiki that incorporates and tracks all changes to individual projects. TIESSE has chosen a widely available and used open source solution to manage technical and commercial documentation.

TIESSE has a group of Front-End and Back-Office operators, not to mention the activity in the field and that of our Partners; to improve support, continuous improvements to the Trouble Ticketing system are ongoing, involving the creation of a dedicated Call Center and a toll-free number to optimise customer response times with new functions of the corporate CRM and better serve the growing user base.

Key4biz. What is the value you give to your human resources?

Vincenzo Luciano Lucrezia. Human resources are the key factor, that is why we organise customised training courses according to the expertise of individual resources with an individual "skills verification" system to develop skills at all levels. This is the standard programme agreed by the Management with the Quality Department in order to control and continuously improve the skill set of all company resources which, according to the analyses, can follow specific training programmes.

For example, the TIESSE support group undergoes regular proficiency testing of technical skills based on Networking principles and on emerging standards and technologies. Analysis of the "overall skills matrix" has made it possible to organise courses and seminars, at various levels of detail, addressed to external partners and internal personnel, with particular emphasis on new Networking technologies.

Key4biz. Is Made in Italy the centre of your Product Quality Management?

Vincenzo Luciano Lucrezia. Also to meet the much appreciated quality standards of "Made in Italy" products, all company procedures are subject to continuous improvement and rationalisation, from hardware supplies Incoming Inspection procedures (with particular attention to AQL - Acceptable Quality Level) to end of line controls (with OOB-Out Of Box inspection) for each production batch manufactured in plants, from management and analysis of Non-Conformities of both supplies and internal processes to management of customer-specific configurations through an Inventory on a shared system and, finally, procedures relating to ad hoc production for specific customer requirements.

In short, nothing is left to chance and, alongside a methodology based on rigour and use of industrial processes, we continue to consider ourselves highly specialised professional craftsmen of Hi-Tech Made in Italy products.