"WHAT NUMBERS TELL US"
Interview to Anna Bortoluzzi
Auditor and Business Operator
Lecturer at the University of Milan
1) Dr. Bortoluzzi, what was your career path in labs?
2) Do you work more often with companies or associations?
I started my own lab 20 years ago and ever since I offered services to companies, as a consultant in the areas of innovation and management. At the beginning of my professional activity I believed it would be wiser to target SMEs, but soon after I had to change my mind. In a few years the interest of medium and large companies for the services I offered grew and completely changed my customers network. Today I develop very challenging projects for very large companies and it’s a great satisfaction. I learned a very important lesson: if you know how to listen to your customers needs, they will show you how to maximize the services you can offer. As far as associations are concerned, I can say that they approached me recently, following the “word of mouth” of large companies or driven by such specific needs that no other professional on the market was able to meet with adequate experience.
3) What are the most common requests of companies? Do they have any knowledge gaps? Which corporate roles do you work with more often?
Requests from companies are very different, but they all relate to innovation and strategy. In fact, those who contact me more often work in the top management. They heard about my work and ask me to develop a specific project for them. Regarding the gaps, a common denominator is the lack of skills in promoting basic technical knowledge: analysis and statistics.
4) Why do we need statistics?
Statistics is often perceived as a more complicated form of “mathematics”. But statistics is part of everyone’s life and has an irreplaceable role. Statistics describes each phenomenon in our life, from car insurances to electoral surveys. In companies, statistics is even more valuable, because it’s often the only tool able to make us understand the factors that influence business results: both technical and economical. Statistics allow companies to broaden horizons and find new solutions. The effect is equivalent to what you get by wearing a pair of glasses, they suddenly make see what you could not even manage to imagine. Those who renounce to the statistical approach, do so only because they do not know its power. As a “cultural mediator of statistics” I assure you that, once companies use statistics, they no longer take decisons without it. This shows “statistics” are not so complex. All it takes is the right guidance at the beginning and a bit of motivation!
5) When can we consider a product as compliant?
6) What do you mean by uncertainty of measurement?
7) What is an interlaboratory?
8) Which are the Standards that regulate an interlab?
9) Who can participate to an interlab? What is the advantage for the labs?
10) What is the difference between accredited and non accredited laboratories?
11) Do you need to be accredited to participate to an interlab?
“…an interlaboratory test provides a clear answer to the doubt that many companies have: why if I send the same sample to more than one laboratory, I get different and often contrasting results?”
“…uncertainty is always determined through a statistical study, while tolerances rarely have a statistical approach”
“… if knowledge is power, then quantifying through numbers is the best way to support business decisions, even the most critical and strategic”