Spain barely produced masks When the coronavirus began, it impacted Spain, which at first made it impossible to access this vital product for the entire population. However, some visionaries moved quickly to start manufacturing these protections. One of the companies that took the step was Textiles Sánchez, who took advantage of their experience to launch themselves into manufacturing masks.
At what point do you decide to start manufacturing masks?
Around mid-February we began to consider new projects, due to the pulse we had of the situation in China, and that the new path went hand in hand with the mask as an essential future element of the world economy. Just by feeling how it was developing in Asia with the growth (in China and also in Korea) of concern about Covid-19 and the recommended use, and also mandatory in some countries, of the mask in the population, we decided that this it was a highly recommended way to complement our production unit. With the months of March and April we have verified that it is not only a seasonal complement, it is an almost structural productive path that has come to be part of an important time in our social life.
What changes did you have to make to start making masks? Did you need new machines or material?
The main structural basic element was to look for the form of production: to look for new machinery; together with it all the components that are needed to make the level II surgical masks with maximum filtration that we wanted (and in fact already do) to manufacture. For this we look for the best fabrics, we prepare all the certifications, we create the brand, the corporate designs, the the packaging, all the image of the signature etc.
"As a family entrepreneur with a long tradition, it is a pride to make a country and feel that Spain has an industry again"
Have you been able to get everything you need in Spain?
Unfortunately the machines that we can get then, and now also for prices and times, are from abroad, from Asia. While the fabric, the only company that did it in Europe It was Sniace and entered the contest a few months ago. So we have taken two routes: one to bring the fabric from outside while, and the second is to meditate on how to reactivate the production of specialized fabric in Spain as well.
Is the process very expensive?
If you want to do it well, yes, the investments are high, the staff takes time to train and everything takes time. The result is worth it because as a family entrepreneur with a long tradition, it is a pride to make a country and feel that Spain once again has an industry. I fully agree that the need to have it on our territory and make us less dependent on third countries, especially outside the EU, is vital in our economy and also as a society.
What are the main difficulties that you have encountered?
The purchase of fabrics, this process has been cumbersome and difficult, as well as expensive, since China stopped authorizing the sale of this type of textiles outside its borders to avoid competition (the excuse was to supply its factories before the possible health emergency with sprouts, the reality is different) In addition, it managed to force the market to buy from its manufacturers directly.
The other great difficulty has been the maintenance of the machines, since there were no specialized personnel and we have had to reconvert professionals from the textile sector so that they learn to operate these machines
What support have you had?
We are very grateful to the municipality of Béjar and the Community of Castilla y León; Although for now we have not used public aid, we are processing it, because in addition to the machinery, we have had to reform our facilities with a very important cost of work, and all this from personal and family effort.
How has it affected the squad? Has the conversion been easy?
Our staff has been family for years, wonderful. They have adapted fantastically well and in Béjar we have great people, qualified, hard-working and eager to move the town forward, with which the facilities have been the best.
What productive capacity do you have?
At the moment we are manufacturing 150.000 a day, but as of June 8 we will be at a million a day. That is, 30 million a month. We are preparing, for this, 24-hour shifts, seven days a week and we have made an investment in new machinery that will complete up to 6 masks production machines. We want to be the largest factory in Europe by production and quality.
In addition, we will soon begin to test the machines that make FPP and we hope in July to be able to offer 100,000 daily of FPP2 and FPP3, to grow month by month.
In June we also want to start with gloves, although it is difficult for us to put the machinery to work as it should, but we are taking risks in that line as well. And finally we will highlight that the objective is to industrialize the country in something as basic as sanitary textile products, we cannot depend on other countries 100%, at least Europe cannot afford it, and this serious sanitary crisis has demonstrated it.
You bet from the beginning on online sales, why? What difficulties does this medium entail?
We love online sales, we have been with our line of pillows for a long time www.profundosueno.com selling for Amazon, etc. and we know that it works very well. We also think that the ideal was to get the product direct to the consumer, it is much more complex and logistically more difficult, but this way we help more people who need it in such difficult times.
With the pandemic, online shopping has grown, at times the delivery companies collapse. How has it affected you?
The truth is that it has affected us a lot, but with some patience from the clients, we have supplied all the orders. Even so, it is true that some people reach a level of demand or aggressiveness that we cannot understand. Unfortunately we are in a state of health alarm and it entails a few months of saturation of the messaging networks with all its companies and throughout the country. We have suffered a lot seeing that we could not do anything with certain deadlines, and above all, the messaging provider has the law on its side in this state of alarm.
What role do social networks play for you?
Social networks are an essential communication vehicle in the XNUMXst century, not only to reach potential consumers directly and with freedom of message, but also a mechanism to build their trust. It is also a constant pulse of opinion where we can lead each state of mind, feeling of our product in their opinion, and of course a way of being in communication with all customers up to the minute with image, audio and sound. The truth is that it is the best vehicle in the world to know what, how, when and what someone wants something for and with it we can grow in every way: quantity, quality, appearance, care of delivery, the packaging, sensations of the product when receiving it, joy, anger, sadness ... and they are a mechanism, in addition, to advertise our product with emotion, something that in traditional advertising is not always the result of a dialogue with the consumer, but of a perception individual, sometimes successful and sometimes not.
"The industry in Spain was very important and we have all let it fall"
The health effects of the coronavirus are subsiding, and at some point they will disappear. How do you think it will affect your business? Will we continue to buy masks later? Or do you have other plans?
The idea is that the business stays, when the pandemic passes (hopefully it will be soon) the health sector will continue to buy masks and if we can supply them from Spain, at prices very similar to the Chinese and with better quality, more security, etc. We think that they will buy from us and that our company and brands will have a future throughout Europe and the world.
You are great defenders of the reindustrialization of Spain. Do you think that the shortage of certain products during this crisis can drive this movement?
Our partner believes that the only way to help the availability of products grow is by creating companies, and the industry in Spain was very important and we have all let it fall. From the dumping In 2005, after the fall in tariffs, and because of all governments, it has been relaxed until more than 60% of the production of consumer goods and essential goods in Spain has disappeared. But it is also true that entrepreneurs have a lot to blame in this process. It was much easier at that time, comfortable to manufacture abroad and to be distributors than to continue fighting with our factories. I think this pandemic is helping us all to realize that manufacturing close to our customers is a great advantage.
Not only essential products, but all kinds of products, from clothing, machinery, textiles ... we can make everything practicing as competitive as in any country in the world, if the Government, trade unions, employers and research come together.