25 years of sustainability and innovation

Interview with Ivan Cattaneo, co-founder and General Manager of Rational Production.

Interview with Ivan Cattaneo
Co-founder and General Manager of Rational Production

This year we are celebrating the twenty-fifth anniversary of our company, Rational Production, which since 1998 has been at the forefront of the institutional meal distribution sector. During these years, we have made sustainability a fundamental value, designing long-lasting and technologically advanced products, while maintaining a strong commitment to social issues. In this interview, Ivan Cattaneo, co-founder of the company, takes us through our history, our commitment to sustainability and our prospects for the future.

Since its beginning, Rational Production has stood out for its sustainability-oriented approach. How has this commitment evolved over the years?
From the very beginning, we wanted to create products that would last for a long time, in contrast to the philosophy of planned obsolescence. We have designed solutions with reliable technological parts and robust mechanical components, while ensuring that they can be repaired and regenerated even after many years of use. To this day, we still service equipment that has been in service for more than 20 years. This approach was further developed in 2012 with the introduction of aluframe: a seamless aluminium profile frame that distinguishes our current range, completely dismountable for 100% aluminium recycling, easily repairable and at the forefront for its lightness and strength. Over the years, we have continued to improve and refine this approach, integrating sustainability into every stage of our production process.

Could you tell us how this attention has evolved and consolidated over time to become a central element of our corporate philosophy?
The acquisition of Rational Production by Rossella Po and Giorgio Tedeschi in 2016 gave a further boost to our commitment to sustainability. We have strengthened our environmental activities and extended our attention to social and governance aspects. We are committed to giving back to the territory that has supported us, creating a pleasant and stimulating working environment where profit is combined with a broader purpose. This is the case, for example, of our solid collaboration with the Koinè Cooperative in Bergamo: a non-profit organisation that helps empowering people with disabilities by facilitating their access to the workplace. We consider the Cooperative to be a fundamental partner to whom we can outsource part of the production of our product range.
We have also adopted a Code of Ethics, which we share with all our partners and which guides our actions, based on the fundamental values that have always distinguished us, such as transparency, inclusiveness and honesty. This has led to us being awarded the maximum score in the Legality Rating by the Competition and Market Authority (AGCM), a certification that adds to the existing ISO9001, ISO45001 and ISO14001 certifications that attest to our commitment to quality, safety and the environment.

Rational Production has adopted Lean Manufacturing to optimise its processes for a number of years. Can you tell us about some of the benefits that our company has obtained thanks to this methodology?
The implementation of Lean Manufacturing actively involved all employees, who felt they were part of the change and helped to define new processes by combining theory with practice. The first benefits were therefore motivation and the company spirit. An important step in this direction was the definition of a training plan to increase the flexibility of the departments.
Three years after the start of this transformation, I am proud to say that we have increased productivity, optimised the use of resources and improved customer service.

Rational Production is constantly developing new technologies. Can you tell our readers about some of these innovations and our goals for the future?
We are committed to the search for innovative solutions, as we have done with the patented zeroeffort motorisation system, which offers particular advantages in terms of ergonomics and ease of use. Looking to the future, we intend to strengthen our commitment to innovation and sustainability by combining research into market needs with modern tools for analysing the environmental impact of our products (Life Cycle Assessment), which we have already begun to use as part of our circularity project. In the medium term, we are setting ourselves increasingly ambitious targets in order to become a reference for our sector.

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