Massimiliano Niselli
December 25, 2018

Steps: a story of progression within Stevanato Group

Massimiliano Niselli has written an article on his interpretation of the Global State of Operational Excellence Survey Report - Critical Challenges & Future Trends - 2018/2019.  Click here to download the full Survey Report 2018/19.   

The Most Comprehensive Study of Critical Challenges and Future Trends within Operational Excellence

With nearly 1000 respondents, 37 insightful questions, detailed analysis & insights from 40 industry thought leaders, and the BTOES Insights executive team, this 130 page report is recognised as the most comprehensive study of critical challenges and future trends within Operational Excellence, and is considered a key resource for the industry. Areas covered include:

  • The Critical Operational Excellence Challenges faced by executives.

  • The Current Scope of Operational Excellence.

  • How is Operational Excellence success measured?

  • Key Findings & Roadblocks.

  • What are executives focusing on over the next 12-18 months?

  • What have been the greatest developments?

  • What are the key drivers pushing change in Operational Excellence?

  • Industry Perspectives.

  • Small, Medium & Large Corporation Perspectives.

  • Detail Analysis & Insights from BTOES Insights Executive Team.

  • Detailed Analysis & Insights from 40 Industry Thought Leaders.

  • Analysis of key themes, including Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding.


Research report front cover


Complete form to access Report now



Steps: a story of progression within Stevanato Group

1. 2014: OpEx is born

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, working together is a success".

(H. Ford)


The Operational Excellence team was established 4 years ago at the will of the CEO to streamline processes in different plants placed in different continents. This to meet the needs of customers, that is the pharmaceutical companies.Click here to read the full Survey Report 2018/19. 

The company decided to put together:

  • a plant manager as function manager

  • 2 senior engineers with their Lean Six Sigma experience to coach on method

  • the decennial experience of 4 "wizards" of glass, the product’s technicians who are truly familiar with the production process

  • the energy and the desire to change of 6 young engineers between 25 and 30 years old


At the beginning, the team took part of an envisioning workshop that led to the creation of the “OpEx group Mission”.


“We are a multicultural, passionate and sparkling team of change agents supporting the achievement of Stevanato Group’s long-term strategic goals.

Every day we drive improvements and create value for internal and external customers, working shoulder to shoulder with SG people in all processes.

Everywhere we strive for excellence by bringing standards, methods, and data-driven approach.

Everyone of us brings enthusiasm and contribute to allow SG people expressing their potential."

[OpEx Team Mission, Stevanato Group]




2. 2015: Setting the basement

"When you are able to measure what you are talking about and express it in numbers, you know something about it. While when you can not express it in numbers, your knowledge is poor and unsatisfactory."

(Lord Kelvin)


2.1. Live the Gemba

The first challenge was to get the young engineers into the heart of the processes, thinking together with the most experienced technicians on possible optimizations.

Therefore the boys worked in the departments of the Italian factory for almost a year, with the aim of getting familiar with the production processes, watching and experiencing daily the shoopfloor and putting the first standard practices to the ground.


2.2. PCS: data first

To overcome the normal hostility and skepticism of the initial phases, pilot areas to create a system for measuring and managing performances were created.

In several areas we had some roadblocks: old department leaders had their own reporting systems and did not want to change the way they looked at KPIs and other standards. We had to work with the people to standardize the method. Click here to read more Articles on The Global State of Operational Excellence: Critical Challenges & Future Trends - Research Report 2018/19.


Steps: a story of progression withinSteps: a story of progression within Stevanato Group 

2.3. 5S: involving everybody

We started many 5S process in different departments. To reach the goal, we used the so called “standard approach”, which means selecting a pilot area, training people and starting with the 5 steps. This until the control phase. The first successful cases generated passion and excitement both in the OpEx team and in the departments.


2.4. Six Sigma training: the belt program

Belt program course was a necessary educational path and at last certification to Lean Six Sigma.

The program was this built:

  • three groups of people, for an amount of 30 people, achieved the green belt certification.  They were “certified” after the presentation of their own project, which had to be money saving

  • nine groups of people, for an amount of 110 people, achieved the yellow bel certification.



3. 2016-2017 The customer

"There is only one supreme leader: the customer. The customer can fire everyone in the company, from the president down, simply by spending his money somewhere else"

Sam Walton (Founder of Wal-Mart)


3.1.Going to foreign plants

After 9 months-training in the Italian plant, three of the six young engineers mentioned above got to work to other countries: China, Brazil, Mexico and Slovakia became their new homes. In these places they developed the first improvement projects, based on the experiences made in Italy.

In this long period every engineer faced different mentality and attitudes, because of different cultures. For example, engineers tried to apply the Italian standard in each plant, but every country interpreted differently. Different cultural contexts have to be deeply analyzed and understood to apply method and build success.  


3.2. The VOC (Voice of the customer) and the Six Sigma Approach on Quality

“Put Customer @ Center” was launched as a new program that involves 8 cross-functional groups that works closely with Top8 Customers listening to the Voice of the Customer. These eight groups meet every month to analyze Service Level, Internal Quality, Complaints, R & D Projects.

The focus was Quality: six sigma projects were launched and led by the OpEx team. Thus, thanks to its expertise network in several plants, has collected good results and has quickly exported them to all plants.




4. 2018: a Global Program

4.1. Why

Before OpEx the Company’s complexity was growing very fast: we started to have different businesses, many production sites, increasingly demanding customers to satisfy.

Operational Excellence Team had already used some TPM elements, but not in a comprehensive way: in 2018 the CEO decided to adopt WCM tecniques, in order to have more structured journey to excellence: “By applying recognized standardization metrics worldwide, we do want now to be recognized by the market and by the customers as the best in quality, safety and efficiency.”

It will be a long journey, which will take us step by step to:

  • increase the exchange of information and experience between functions and establishments;

  • create a common spirit of optimism and proactivity;

  • harmonize and standardize all the Stevanato Group processes, towards the same direction;

  • improve our performance;

  • guarantee the execution of our activities in the most flowing way possible, thus defining a whole world of excellence instead of different “islands of excellences”.

4.2. Stevanato Progression System (STEPS)

STEPS are literally the steps that we all have to climb to reach the goal of excellence. These steps are up hilling, because we further improve the way we work, in all its aspects. It is therefore a continuous progression: for this reason we named it STEPS.


4.3. One

The Steps Program gives us the chance to have one common improvement philosophy, which is to eliminate losses in all process though the active participation of all the employees; one common language, which is building up the same KPI’s and standards; one common Roadmap.


4.4. From function to process

Before STEPS our production organization was too much organized by silos: Production, Quality, Safety, Logistics. All these departments have something in common : the value stream map.



5. Challenges of next years

 it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself (Charles Darwin


5.1. Change Management

Managers are more difficult to engage than shop floor worker, although managers say the opposite. Leadership and delegation are key-points to be worked on in this program, especially because the deepest impact  concerns middle management.


5.2. More resources? It’s not true!

At the beginning of the STEPS program, many colleagues reacted saying: "We do not have the resources, we cannot do it”.  It’s time to improve processes: we can do the same things differently, more efficiently and systemically.

When we installed the first PCS (Performance Control System), many argued that there was more work to do. Monitoring KPIs and the actions to be taken on “off-target plants” was an activity still made by the production manager, the foremen and the shift leaders. Only this was unstructured. Through a cascade meeting system that brings decisions to the correct level, STEPS brought order and rigor. Today this system allows us to keep our plants under control, and everyone has the responsibility of KPIs.

You do not have to do more things, but to do the same things differently.


5.3. Digital Mismatch

STEPS has another focus: following the transformation implemented by the "philosophy" of the industry 4.0. To achieve significant results in terms of business and productivity, it’s not enough to increase the intelligence of things (to paraphrase what happens inside the Internet of Things), whereas it’s necessary to increase human intelligence, covering new professional skills.

In this period we are guiding the roadmap of technological evolution towards the generation of value (according to a lean approach), a theme never tackled before. We need engineers that know how to evaluate new technologies and what impact they will have on the production systems. Engineers have to be able to streamline production processes digitizing them, this being the key element in the future decade.

And how about the operators? They will gradually learn how to interpret quantitative and graphical data (ie. OEE loss  deployment), how to identify solutions to problems and how to interact with collaborative robots, devices, systems and sensors. Finally, in a remote future, they will have to learn how to use virtual and augmented glasses and use exoskeletons and other wearable devices.

We will have to equip ourselves to not be surprised by this great revolution. From the technical point of view everything is ready; it’s mandatory to create the right skills.

In my opinion the “4.0 chapter” is a great opportunity: older employees have deep technical knowledge and experience, on the other hand the youngest know everything the technologies.

This diversity, if exploited in an intelligence way, can become a marriage of wealth.




6. Final recommendation

  1. Be Fully Aligned with company strategic decision

  2. Listen to people of shopfloor

  3. Be passionate and curious

  4. Be patient

  5. Smile and have fun!


Want to learn more? Download the full Report.
Steps: a story of progression within Stevanato Group


About the Author 

Massimiliano: Steps: a story of progression within Stevanato GroupMassimiliano Niselli

Operational Excellence Coordinator, Stevanato Group

Massimiliano is a Lean Six Sigma Belt with 10 years of experience in Operational Excellence, inside a wide variety of industries. Currently he is Operational Excellence Coordinator at Stevanato Group where he:

• is responsible for Steps Program (=WCM) strategy, design and implementation within 6 plants(Italy, China, Mexico, Slovakia, Brazil)

• selects, prioritizes, monitors improvement projects, according to Process Excellence methodologies (X-Matrix, …)

• Plays an important role in helping to foster a culture of sustainable change through the creation and embedding of Lean Six Sigma methodology. Check out his LinkedIn page.


The issues in this article are just one of topic areas that are going to be discussed at the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit & Industry (BTOES19). March 18-22, 2019, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort®

BTOES is the industry’s biggest and best, senior-level, cross-industry gathering of Business Transformation & Operational Excellence industry leaders and senior executives.

It also hosts the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Awards, which showcase globally the most outstanding organizational achievements through the application of Operational Excellence programs.

The summits hosts a number of private forums for C-Level & Global corporate-level leaders as well as business unit heads.

With over 150 speakers, over 100 sessions, 12 Keynotes, 9 Track Themes, 5 parallel tracks, 60+ track sessions, 50 roundtable discussions, 20 Interactive Workshops, 6 Thought Leader Panels, 5 Leaders Boardrooms, 5 co-located events, the Industry Awards Program, Site Visits, 20+ hours of social networking including 2 gala cocktail parties, dinners, numerous group activities, this is the ultimate event to benchmark, network and drive Operational Excellence to the next level.


Quick Links



BTOES19 Awards


There is a strong focus on Cultural Transformation, Customer Delight, Sustaining an Operational Excellence program, Need for end-to-end Business Transformation, Keeping up with new technologies/impact of digitalization and Leadership Buy-in & Understanding. We dedicated two tracks to advanced technologies, such as AI, Machine Learning, RPA, Predictive Analytics, Blockchain, Cloud infrastructure etc.


The agenda is designed to encourage active meaningful conversations though all day enhanced networking and interaction opportunities, including

  • All-day Refreshment & Themed Breaks

  • 1¼ Hour Hot Breakfast Networking Sessions

  • 1½ Hour Hot Plated Networking Lunches with Topic & Industry Sector focussed tables

  • 1½ Hour Roundtable Sessions by Topic & Industry Sector.

  • Keynote & Themes Panel Sessions

  • Hosted Welcome Receptions from 5.30pm

  • Expanded more lavish Awards Program

  • Newly launched Night Summit for attendees to meet after dinner

For more information or to discuss the summit in more detail please schedule a call below,

Click here to schedule a call. 

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards

The Largest Leadership-Level Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Event



Proqis Digital Virtual Conference Series

View our schedule of industry leading free to attend virtual conferences. Each a premier gathering of industry thought leaders and experts sharing key solutions to current challenges.

Download the most comprehensive OpEx Resport in the Industry

The Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Industry Awards Video Presentation

Proqis Events Schedule

Proqis Digital

Welcome to BTOES Insights, the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news.



Full-length speaking sessions from the Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit, accompanied by featured articles from the Speakers themselves.



Submit an Article

Become a Regular Contributor

Access all 75 Award Finalist Entires
Subscribe to Business Transformation & Operational Excellence Insights Now
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics-2
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics (2)-1
ATTENDEE - Proqis Digital Event Graphics (1)-1

Featured Content

  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Technology & Communications: IBM
  • Best Achievement of Operational Excellence in Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities: Black & Veatch
  • Best Achievement in Cultural Transformation to deliver a high performing Operational Excellence culture: NextEra Energy
Operational Excellence Frameworks and Learning Resources, Customer Experience, Digital Transformation and more introductions
  • Intelligent BPM Systems: Impact & Opportunity
  • Surviving_the_IT_Talent_deficit.png
  • Six Sigma's Best Kept Secret: Motorola & The Malcolm Baldrige Awards
  • The Value-Switch for Digitalization Initiatives: Business Process Management
  • Process of Process Management: Strategy Execution in a Digital World

Popular Tags

Speaker Presentation Operational Excellence Business Transformation Business Improvement Insights Article Continuous Improvement Process Management Business Excellence process excellence Process Optimization Process Improvement Award Finalist Case Study Digital Transformation Leadership Change Management Lean Enterprise Excellence Premium Organizational Excellence Lean Enterprise Lean Six Sigma Execution Excellence Capability Excellence Enterprise Architecture New Technologies Changing & Improving Company Culture Agile end-to-end Business Transformation Execution & Sustaining OpEx Projects Culture Transformation Leadership Understanding & Buy-In Lack of/Need for Resources Adapting to Business Trends Changing Customer Demands Failure to Innovate Integrating CI Methodologies Lack of/Need for Skilled Workers Lack of/Need for Support from Employees Maintaining key Priorities Relationships Between Departments BTOES18 RPA & Intelligent Automation Live Process Mining BTOES From Home Cultural Transformation Financial Services Customer Experience Excellence Process Automation Technology Healthcare iBPM Healthcare and Medical Devices Webinar Culture Customer Experience Innovation BTOES Video Presentations Exclusive BTOES HEALTH Strategy Execution Business Challenges Digital Process Automation Report Industry Digital Workplace Transformation Manufacturing Supply Chain Planning Robotic Process Automation (RPA) BPM Automation IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Artificial Intelligence Business Process Management innovation execution AI Lean Manufacturing Oil & Gas Robotic Process Automation IT value creation Agility Business Speaker Article Systems Engineering RPAs Insurance Process Design Digital Speaker's Interview data management Intelligent Automation digital operations Six Sigma Awards thought leaders BTOES Presentation Slides Transformation Cloud Machine Learning Data Analytics Digital Transformation Workplace Banking and Capital Markets Data Finance Professional Services Education IT Infrastructure IT Infrastructure & Cloud Strategies Live Blockchain Interview Solving Cash Flow with AI BTOES White Paper investment banking Analytics Insight BTOES19 Consumer Products & Retail Enterprise Agile Planning Government Operational Excellence Model Project Management Algorithm Automotive and Transportation Banking Business Environment Digital Bank Enterprise architecture as an enabler Hybrid Work Model Primary Measure of succes Relationship Management Sales business expansion revenue growth Adobe Sign Agile Transformation CoE Delivery solution E-Signatures Electricity Global Technology HealthcareTechnologies Innovation in Healthcare Reduce your RPA TCO Transportation Accounts Receivable (AR) Big Data Technology CORE Cloud Technology Cognitive learning Days Sales Outstanding (DSO) Logistics Services Operational Excellence Example Risk Management business process automation transformation journey Covid-19 Data Entry Digital Experience Digital Network Digital Network Assistant (DNA) Digitization Drinks Effective Change Leaders HR Internet Media NPS Net Promoter Score Program Management Portal (PgMP) Sustainability TechXLive The Document is Dead The New Era of Automation Automated Money Movement Banking & Financial Services Biopharmaceutical Blue Room Effect Building Your Future Workforce in Insurance Business Process Governance Capital Market Creative Passion Digital Transformation Workplace Live Digital Workforce Digitalization ERP Transformation Finance Global Operations (FGO) Financial Services Software Frameworks Hoshin Planning Human Capital Lean Culture Natural Gas Infrastructure Natural Language Processing Organizational Change Pharmaceutical Pharmaceuticals & Life Sciences Project manager Supply Chain Management Sustainable Growth The Fully Automated Contact Center Transformation Initiatives Workplace Analytics eForms eSignatures 3D Thinking BEAM BFARM BTOES17 Big Data Processing Business Analytics Business Growth Centralized Performance Monitoring System Communication Creativity Digital Technologies Digital Technology Educational Psychologist Energy Management Health Insurance Health Maintenance Organizations Hospitality & Construction Human Centered Design Integrated Decision Approach Integrated Decision Making Intelligent Document Processing Kaizen Medicare Moodset for Excellence Natural Language Processing (NLP) Offering Managers Oil and Gas Optical Character Recognition (OCR) Pharmaceuticals and Life Sciences Photographing Price and Routing Tracking (PART) Process Design Document (PDD) Product Identifier Descriptions (PIDs) Python Quote to Cash (Q2C) Resilience SAP Sales Quota Team Work Telecommunications Text Mining Visually Displayed Work Culture master text analytics virtual resource management