Interview with Vincenzo Morra, Service Manager Mozzanica


The term "Maintenance Service" has always referred to all activities aimed at the check and proper functioning of a fire-fighting system. However, especially in Italy, due to different interpretations and above all, due to the lack of effective controls by the authorities, we always had to compete with players whose level of technical competence was neither high nor certified. 

Fortunately, since 2008 several companies have joined forces in an attempt to create greater regulation and this has meant that over the years, not only have stricter regulations come into force than the previous ones, but the figure of the maintenance technician has also been qualified. 

In addition, our company also decided to undergo a structural change, in order to be able to better manage maintenance interventions in high-risk contexts (Industrial, Naval, Oil & Gas).  

This led to a new organization of maintenance activities.  

In fact, customers had different needs, the technology was more complex, the environments were different, the services required had new timelines, but above all, the maintenance technician needed to be better trained. 

We interviewed Engineer Vincenzo Morra, Service Director of Mozzanica, who explained the current concept of "Maintenance Service", the necessary organization and the new figure of the maintenance technician. 


How do you combine a fire-fighting system with service today? 

Today, each fire-fighting system is integrated into a more complex safety management system that includes procedures, and interactions between different systems with different technologies and is capable of operating in emergency situations and fire scenarios. 

From this perspective, choosing a fire-fighting service means choosing more than a simple maintenance technician; it signifies appointing a consultant responsible for maintaining regulatory compliance, a fundamental and substantial decision to ensure the systems in use are compliant and perform as required to protect you from the relevant fire risks. 


How would you describe a fire maintenance technician?  

The fire maintenance technician is part of a structure in which different skills and different roles are in place. These days, doing maintenance means taking on the responsibility – even criminal – that a system, at the time of need, works. A maintenance technician must surely know the technical maintenance standards, but certainly not only those. Their objective must be, in addition to verifying the functionality of the system, to identify any design and/or installation errors and, finally, to monitor the gap that is created between what is installed and the relative compliance standards.  


You are therefore entrusted with the task of guaranteeing a "safety reserve", preventing the system from being inadequate. 

Of course. To do this, we must act like partners to our customers, working together in the long term, helping them to choose the most appropriate solutions for their realities and dynamism, and making sure these solutions are neither under nor oversized. We at Mozzanica have always embraced this philosophy because of our origins and DNA of consultants. This explains – incidentally – how large industrial groups have been our customers for decades, in some cases for thirty years. 


We have mentioned the regulations; does the regulatory paradigm shift moving from prescriptive towards a performance approach fit into the framework you described to us? 

Absolutely. Although this mainly concerns the design phase of a new plant or system, the service team is entrusted with the task of ensuring that the system maintains its performance over time. Our activities are increasingly moving from preventive to predictive; that is, from intervening "on malfunctions" or statistically before a component diminishes the system's performance, to an action based on diagnostic data that tells us how the component is performing and what its decay curve will be.  

The result is a reduction in system downtime and repair costs. This is helped, of course, by increasingly sophisticated tools. 


... which will pose further challenges for the maintenance technician's skills. 

Of course! Continuous training and the development of new skills have always been, in fact, a fundamental asset for Mozzanica: from the specific manual skills of a maintenance technician to the Internet of Things. Therefore, it is fundamental to be able to incorporate various figures with different skills, able to interact and collaborate effectively with one another, integrating each other's know-how. Based on these assumptions, it is advisable to measure and evaluate the entire organization of a maintenance company rather than the single qualities of an individual maintenance technician.  


You spoke about information technology and predictive maintenance. I imagine the two things go hand in hand. 

They are inextricable and will be even more so in the future. We use a proprietary solution for the supervision and control of our systems, thanks to the fact that we are able to develop customized software solutions in-house. These systems are increasingly powered by IoT devices, thus becoming essential tools for real-time monitoring of customer systems and representing, in the evaluation of our service, a certain value-added element. 


I would like to return to the question of organization. In your opinion, is a minimum size – quantitative but also qualitative – necessary to carry out an adequate fire-fighting service? 

If we are discussing industrial firefighting, then yes, absolutely; just think of the importance of safety when operating in plants at risk of major accidents, the management of measuring instruments and of IT infrastructure, or the disposal of waste materials. These are all aspects that require a robust and functional organizational structure. 

You understand that a small structure is in danger of succumbing under the organizational weight. Unfortunately, the world of fire-fighting in Italy is fragmented into many small companies and often the competition is to the detriment of the service quality; this is a fact. 


Do you mean that a small business can't deliver a high-quality service? 

I would not go so far as to say that, because it would be neither true nor respectful of many colleagues who work in smaller companies and do so with extreme professionalism. But when the service becomes complex, either on a technical level or in terms of size, the structure must follow closely behind to ensure an adequate level of service. Paradoxically, the bigger problem than that of small companies, which work with customers that are the right size for them, is that of large companies who do not have firefighting in their DNA but still manage large customers. 


Ultimately, then, how can a company, specializing in a different sector – chemical and pharmaceutical for example – evaluate a fire-fighting service provider? How would they evaluate what you called "organizational complexity"?  

Ours is a highly regulated sector with regard to products and in some cases the skills of technicians, but the selection of operators is still left to the market.  


In short, there is no register. 

No, but fortunately there are compliance standards. We – who operate in some niches of international markets – have certifications for 13 standards verified every year by 8 different bodies. This can be considered an objective evaluation criterion and is also one of the reasons why we need an internal HSEQ structure that works at full capacity. Being constantly under the lens of certification bodies means we are used to maintaining high standards. It is a more intense way of working, but at the same time smoother and more linear. At the end of the day, our customers entrust us with goods and human lives, in some cases. It's an important responsibility. 


Engineer Vincenzo Morra is the director of Mozzanica's Service; He has worked in the Loss Prevention sector for more than 10 years and over the years has held several roles in leading companies in the sector and with an international profile.

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