TBR Interviews Césare Savini, GM of ITT Friction Technologies

On January 1, Césare Savini became Vice President and General Manager of ITT Friction Technologies, reporting directly to Motion Technologies President Carlo Ghirardo.

Savini’s career has embodied the global nature of the brake industry. He spent the first year of his career in his native Italy before spending eight years in China, six years in the Czech Republic, and three years in Mexico. In his new role, he’s back in Italy, where ITT Friction Technologies is headquartered.

The Brake Report: ITT is a huge company and ITT Friction Technologies is large also. Can you provide a summary of everything ITT Friction Technologies does?

Césare Savini: We are friction material scientists, developing next generation materials that reduce noise, vibration, and harshness while improving safety and reliability. ITT Friction Technologies is predominantly know as a brake pad supplier and leader in friction material in Europe, expanding in a consistent and solid way in China and North America.

Due to our latest investments, we have a global footprint, which is one of the competitive advantages for us in our strategy for growth. And we cover all the applications, OE, OES, and aftermarket. 

We have been able to constantly grow, in the last, I would say 15 years, year over year. This is quite a remarkable success. Now we have the task to continue on this path. 

TBR: As you assume the General Manager role, what are the top goals that you have for ITT Friction Technologies?

CS: For sure to continue what this company has been able to do over the past years, which is to have solid execution. In other words, to meet and actually exceed targets with constant reference to our five-year strategy plan.

Execution implies continuous attention to the costs associated with the top-line growth. To continue to deliver solid success by improving on the cost, efficiency, and productivity side — that will allow us to guarantee the profitability of the company. That is a must for us.

At the same time, we must focus and concentrate on our customers — being able to provide always constant, solid, and appreciative service to our customers — and by service I mean in terms of product but also responsiveness to customer needs.

We also must give attention to the innovation and the future development and trends of the industry, because this will be the only way to keep ourselves ahead of the game and continue to maintain our leadership in this market.

Last but not least, it is important that we pay the proper attention to the development of our people to create a sustainable organization which works together seamlessly and effectively. Our people are the foundation of the company and key to our future success.

TBR: What is your message to suppliers of ITT Friction Technologies?

CS: Regarding suppliers, a lot of my approach comes from my previous experience in Asia and particularly China for those eight years. It’s very much related to this concept of a win-win situation. For me, it is not just a slogan, but I really have experienced that it’s a kind of path that you need to build with your suppliers. It means the concept of a partnership that you want to develop with suppliers.

For me that’s really important, because I would say that this is the healthy way of doing business. So not looking just to the very short-time span, which means, ‘Ok, I try to have the cheapest supplier, and whenever I can find someone even cheaper, I will switch.’

By doing this you might win some battles, but eventually you will lose the war. It’s very important to develop a supplier base where you can have a sort of partnership in a healthy, business condition, where you can work together maybe for different projects or different products and find the benefit for both parties. That is what I totally believe.

Of course, knowing well the roles of customer and supplier, we need to obviously try to benefit as much as we can from the partnership. But I would say this should be positive for both parties, not that one party wins it all and the other loses everything.

Long-term partnerships with suppliers are something that is of great value.

TBR: What is your message to customers of ITT Friction Technologies?

CS: Again, we are looking for that partnership, but on the other side of the coin. Meaning, from our side a constant commitment and the attention of the whole company, focused on delivering the best experience to customers. The customer needs and the attention to those are concepts that are cascaded down the organization, at all levels, as they are paramount for the premium experience we aim to ensure to customers working with ITT.

We set goals for the quality of the product itself, but the whole service concept should be guaranteed as well, in terms of on-time delivery and ability to address customer needs and requests in a fast, effective and efficient way.

I strongly believe that this focus on our customers is the only way to excel.

Ben Nussbaum
Ben Nussbaum

Ben Nussbaum, Chief Content Officer of The Brake Report, has more than 20 years experience in publishing. He was the founding editor for USA Today's line of special interest magazines and the founding editor for i5 Publishing's newsstand one-off magazine program. He lives outside Washington, D.C. Email him at [email protected].