And Béjar reinvented its textile potential

The Fibras Textiles Sánchez company specializes in the manufacture of masks due to the pandemic and already produces one million a day

Alberto Sánchez, CEO of the textile company bejarana

In biology, the species that best adapt to change are those that survive. In the world of economics, versatile companies capable of responding to the changing demands of the market, too. Like a natural selection that followed Darwin's postulates. In the Salamanca town of Béjar, with a secular textile tradition that barely survives in a testimonial way with half a dozen businesses in the sector, the arrival of the pandemic, with the urgent need for masks, has disrupted the usual production schemes for reorient yourself towards this requirement. A very illustrative example of "resilience" is found in Fibras Textiles Sánchez, a firm that emerged 25 years ago dedicated to the manufacture of pillows and other rest elements, third generation in the trade of weaving and darning, which in a matter of months has known "Resetting" its model towards Mascarillas Béjar, an industry that today produces one million masks a day after the successful commitment undertaken by their owners.

Where before there were six workers, now more than fifty work. The goods produced until February were mainly directed to the domestic market, but now, thanks to collaboration agreements, the sale is being opened to other countries. Alberto Sánchez, young and restless CEO of Mascarillas Béjar, noticed at the beginning of the confinement that only the transformation of his activity “was the key to withstand a hitherto unknown crisis, which required radical and risky decisions, such as buying a machine to to manufacture the masks in the second half of March, imported from Asia, without the certainty that it would arrive in Spain and we would know how to assemble it ». That audacious bet paid off well, as it managed to manufacture 10.000 units a day, to the point of later arriving at another six similar machines. An unusual paradigm of industrial reinvention in Spain.

“We did it,” explains Sánchez, “assuming the risks and with an unusual capacity to work, aware of the serious situation of need due to the crisis. We rely on our partner, ICW, to which we participate from the first moment of the lack of sanitary and protection material against Covid-19. That perception allowed us to make the absolute turn, to reorient our productive force in this sense. Today we can affirm that this Spanish company manufactures 30 million surgical masks of the highest quality per month, with full guarantee ”. A first approach to pitch in, in the scariest weeks of spring, which has resulted in an expanding business, “because we launched ourselves with the intention of helping, and then we realized that it was necessary to create a solid industry around basic sanitary products ».

The very public health crisis derived from the pandemic was aggravated by the lack of basic sanitary material, a circumstance caused by the absence of an industrial fabric in Spain capable of meeting, even temporarily and exceptionally, a demand for items such as masks, essential to protect against contagion. “The citizens were aware of this, but not the administrations or some companies, who do not care to support the national industry. In Spain, more than 50 million Chinese masks have been sold, brought by another 50 distributors, who have used false certificates, when the price difference with one of ours is 0,04 euros, ”explains the manager indignantly.

The best strategic alliance

In this regard, Alberto Sánchez recalls that a company in our country with more than 500 workers recently became interested in an order for 11 million masks, “which in the end they have bought in the Asian market when they recognize that ours are better. All to save 55.000 euros. This only happens here. In Europe there are other moral limits, employees are protected in another way ”. It also records a similar complaint regarding the raw material from which the masks are made, originating from China and Turkey. «We have spent four months negotiating the tender for one of the most powerful firms in the world in this type of material, which is also Spanish. If it is achieved, we would achieve the best possible strategic alliance in our growth forecasts. It would be the most powerful mask manufacturing project in Europe. '

Like all citizens, in the Béjar company they would like the Covid-19 to disappear as soon as possible, but until that day their purpose is to specialize in this article and to be a guarantee against the Chinese market. In fact, there are online sales. Their references are also expanded with the manufacture of gloves, the latest addition to this unique entrepreneurial adventure, and they plan to reach a workforce of one hundred workers. In addition, the entire health system in Spain, from hospitals to basic care health centers, dental clinics and other private centers, will continue to demand masks once the pandemic disappears. "If we continue to work with quality and price, we will be able to gain a foothold in the market," concludes the CEO.

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