F for Factory

F for Factory

When Giovanni Battista Pirelli opened his first factory for processing elastic rubber in 1873, it employed 40 workers and five clerks. In a single manufacturing plant of 1,000 square metres in Milan’s Via Ponte Seveso, they made belts, valves and hoses from rubber. From this was born an international company that has always had the factory at its heart. Today Pirelli has 18 plants that prioritise the environment, sustainability and wellbeing, including Settimo Torinese in Italy, Silao in Mexico, Campinas in Brazil, Slatina in Romania and Yanzhou in China. Industrial sites where the digital revolution is generating new predictive abilities thanks to Big Data, automated manufacturing processes and new organizational models that mark the birth of Industry 4.0.

to love

In ancient mythology Cupid was the god of love, always seeking ways to make romance blossom. But it’s fair to believe that as the world’s population grew, Cupid needed a little help in his task: in fact, the help of a whole factory...

Welcome, welcome. I’m just delighted you could all make it. We are so pleased to show you exactly what we can do here. Let’s get this tour started, shall we? Come this way, mind that gondola. Watch out, turtle doves. Oh, and look out for those roses. Lovely colour, aren’t they? I think that’s the most beautiful scarlet.

Now, where should we begin? As you can see, there are four production lines. Serendipity, that’s over there on the left. Then there’s Romance and ACR, that’s Across a Crowded Room. Then there’s, um, Lust, of course...

Sorry, do you have a question, lady at the back? Yes, please do put your hand up whenever you want. We’re very informal here. Oh, I do beg your pardon, I thought it had been explained already. Well, of course. This building is the Cupid Factory. What we do is a key part of, well, everything, I suppose. All over the world, every day, there are millions of people looking for love, and our job is to help them find it.

Gosh, I completely forgot to introduce myself, too. Hopeless, I must apologise. I’m Mr Amor, Director of Meet Cutes and Special Projects, EMEA. That means I’m responsible for everything from passion in Paris to yearning in Yerevan. Ha ha, sorry, just my little wordplay there, obviously you can have passion in Yerevan too… and indeed yearning in Paris.

How do we do it? Excellent question. Excellent. We start with the Designers, that’s this group over here. They’re absolutely key to the whole factory, to everything we do, really. The best way of putting it is that they brainstorm new ways of falling in love. Everything from tripping over your shoelaces and into the arms of Mr – or indeed Ms – Right, to finding that your new desk in your new office just happens to be next to someone who shares your interest in amateur dramatics, fishing, home renovations, you name it. Sorry? Oh gosh, yes, you’re so right. Covid made things tricky. Very tricky, indeed. Anyway, these designers are so creative. Just brilliant. They get their inspiration from all over the place. They’ll be coming up with something connected to a tour group right this moment, I bet you. Design is where I got my start. It’s all about teamwork.

Right, so after the Designers have come up with their idea, it goes through to Concept Development. That’s the people sitting over there. They go through every aspect of the idea, make sure it will actually work in real life, that sort of thing. The Health and Safety team operate alongside them. No point in something being a brilliant idea if it leads to disaster, is there? We had one set-up right on the edge of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Stunning, you know, and so photogenic, which is always helpful. But then... well, that one had to go all the way back to the drawing board, let me tell you.

Where was I? Oh yes. Well, of course, then we work up some prototypes. Iron out any little glitches. We had a certain Celtic Love Knot necklace which kept on ending up with people being Friendzoned, which was disappointing for everyone, quite frankly. We had to scrap the whole line in the end. Could never quite work out why it wasn’t working, to be honest, although Market Research suggested people might have thought the whole Love Knot thing a bit… overdone.

Right. Now, on to the production lines themselves. Aren’t they wonderful? Yes, we’ve just updated them. These are absolutely cutting-edge. Groundbreaking. Mind that cobot. Yes, this line can do 20,000 love affairs in less than 24 hours. It’s just extraordinary. Remarkable.

But what do they actually do on the production lines? Well, they make the props. So instead of your usual dog leash, for example, we’ll substitute a different one for a day or so. Just sneak it into your house while you’re asleep. And then, as if by magic, at exactly the right moment, one of the team in Remote Activation presses a button and the dog leash – or whatever it may be – deploys. Suddenly you’ll find you are out on a walk and your Dalmatian’s leash is all entwined with that of another dog. And the next moment, you’ll be sitting in a scenic café, enjoying a hot chocolate, with the owner of a rather dashing Schnauzer.

Back in the day, we had teams and teams of people, working away on these production lines, but now it’s almost all done by these machines. Technology has been so helpful. Apps too. I don’t know where we’d be without Tinder, for example, although you don’t want to get too dependent on it, do you?

Then finally, there’s Sales and Marketing, in those offices up there. Whisper it, but those teams have quite an easy time of it. It’s not exactly hard selling love, is it? Of course, they’ll always moan about being rushed off their feet come February 14, but the rest of the year, they have it pretty easy, if you ask me.

Well, that’s that then. Thank you so much for coming round. I must dash now, so sorry, I’ve just had a wonderful idea about a balcony...

Language needs clarity and the Pirelli slogan is a perfect example Language needs clarity and the Pirelli slogan is a perfect example