At their plant in the Vallès Oriental, the pharmaceutical company manufactures adhesive personal-care products, which are sold in more than 130 countries.
Exports are nearly inevitable. They now make up between 30% and 35% of the company’s business volume, a percentage they hope to increase. “Sales in markets on the Iberian Peninsula and northern Africa have taken a nosedive. In Spain alone sales of parapharmacy products are down 13%. We have to look further afield, which makes you more flexible and innovative.” These are the words of Josep Torres, general manage of Cederroth-Distrex in Spain.
Torres applauds many companies that take the leap abroad, but warns that it is an “active way to do business” and that they have to be competent: “It’s not enough to have a client here or there,” he warns.
R&D&i by project
Research, development and innovation are key to this Scandinavian multinational. Torres, however, explains that they don’t work in percentages: “We divide it into projects for machinery, quality and new products. We try to have 6 or 7 lines of research underway in each category. If one doesn’t work, we start something else,” he explains. In Bigues alone they have half a dozen people working in research.
Thanks to research, bandages are evolving. It’s not just a way to protect the wound, now they are working so that the product will help promote faster healing, hydrate, refresh or calm the pain. They are working, for example, on bandages with ibuprofen, to treat acne or even to get rid of warts. According to Torres, in a year and a half or two these products could be on the market.
Torres insists that the crisis is really hurting companies like his. People haven’t stopped buying but they’re going back to past behaviors: “Now you cut off the bandage you are going to use, you don’t buy five for five euros.”