CORONAVIRUS AND PHASE 2: THE CHALLENGES AND DIFFICULTIES OF THE ITALIAN ECONOMY AND COMPANIES
The economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic could be worse than the Great Depression. The definitive word comes from the International Monetary Fund, precisely from Gita Gopinath, Economic Counselor and Director of Research Department of the IMF. World GDP, this year, could in fact drop by 3%.
Eurogroup President Mario Centeno argues that to reverse this negative economic trend: “The road is to redouble efforts on sustainable growth with a plan for a broad recovery, which spreads the costs of the crisis over time for all Member States and complements the national efforts. “
To face the pandemic, companies will therefore have to redesign their supply chains, factories and change their way of working. These are the key points of the recovery according to the Rise Laboratory of the University of Brescia (Research Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, DIMI, which contributes to the innovation of processes, products and business models and helps companies to become more competitive.)
The production chains should become less global and more local, to ensure greater speed, and above all visibility and control. Furthermore, for some time, re-shoring and near-shoring have regained strength with respect to the phenomenon of off-shoring of factories to the east.
The possible stop-and-go of the demand and of the production linked to possible relapses of the contagions should push the companies to have production or supply alternatives that can be activated quickly.
The offices and factories will have to be redesigned to ensure the hygiene and distance of the operators, so as to avoid the spread of pathogens.
Furthermore, the possibility that large factories will give way to more “mini-factories” more widely distributed in the area, based for example on “additive” technologies, with a much smaller number of employees, is not so far away.
Finally, smart working must become an integral part of the way we work.
The focus, therefore, is on the companies. We need to start immediately, but safely and strategically.
THE RECOVERY OF THE CERAMIC INDUSTRIAL DISTRICT
An important sector in our country is that of ceramics which includes not only ceramic companies, but also other very important players such as the producers of raw materials and semi-finished products for the ceramic industry which are “actors” and essential partners for the creation of high-quality floor and wall tiles.
This sector is made up of companies that realize 85% of their turnover abroad (5,000 million euros) on very competitive markets where Spanish, Polish, Czech, Turkish, Indian, Chinese, Russian competitors operate which have no limitations and can guarantee prompt satisfaction of the demand by replacing Italian ceramic products. It is therefore necessary to avoid that the Italian offer is replaced by that of foreign competitors due to delays in restarting, thus losing very important market shares.
In this context, on 10 April 2020, a national protocol had already been signed by Confindustria Ceramica with the trade unions for the adoption, in the workplace, of anti-contagion preventive measures suitable to guarantee the safe recovery of production activities to start to plan the procedures for returning of the workers to production sites.
In addition to this, the Italian ceramic industry had already complied since March with all the measures required with the staff of the offices already operating with telework and more effective operating methods to protect warehouse workers and transporters during the loading phases of the goods, measures that the new Protocol enhances in a much more stringent way.
SICER PHASE 2: SAFE STARTING WITH #SicerCare
If the ceramic sector was activated to restart also Sicer, a partner of the ceramic companies, has promptly reacted to better manage phase 2 by drawing up a customized protocol.
The company has never been closed, production has remained active, in addition, a remote technical assistance system has been promptly set up to always remain operative.
Safety devices have been organized everywhere, both in the Ubersetto site and in the Torriana production site.
The #SicerCare protocol that the company has drawn up is based on 4 points and their strict respect: Diagnosis, Distance, Digitization and Devices.
In fact, the company wants to protect the health and safety of employees, families and partners as much as possible.
Here are some of the key points:
- All employees who experience fever, cough or flu symptoms should not go to the company, but contact their doctor.
- We detect the temperature at the entrance to all workers, every morning and every afternoon.
- The entrances to the company will be staggered to avoid gatherings and, where possible, we have prepared a door dedicated only to the entrance and a door dedicated only to the exit.
- A Committee for the application and verification of the rules of the regulatory protocol has been set up in the company.
- In all common areas we have indicated the maximum acceptable number of people present. The access (including company canteens, smoking areas and changing rooms) is limited by a reduced stopping time and with the maintenance of a 1.5 meter safety distance.
- All workstations have a distance of 2 meters from each other.
- We have taken shifts to make working environments less crowded.
- All national and international business trips are suspended and canceled, even if already agreed.
- We are adopting the smart working mode for the activities that allow it.
- We are managing meetings and remote meetings via teleconferences.
- We will make available to employees and guests masks, disposable gloves, surface sanitizing products and hand sanitizing gels.
- We proceeded to sanitize the rooms before the reopening on 4 May 2020. The company ensures daily cleaning and periodic sanitization of the offices, environments, workstations and common areas.
These security measures will allow to protect not only people, but also the company itself. In this way, any contagions will be promptly identified and isolated without having to stop normal work.
This last aspect is fundamental: Sicer wants to start again, immediately and safely, without future “braking”.
DYNAMICITY AND FLEXIBILITY: SICER KEYSTONE
Due to the almost 2-month Italian lockdown, necessary to face the Covid19 pandemic, there has been a heavy slowdown in the global business with a very strong contraction in sales.
In addition to accessing social safety nets, the reorganization of its business model was decisive for Sicer.
Dynamism and flexibility have been, and still are, two fundamental characteristics of the Ubersetto company that have allowed it to better react to this new situation. In spite of everything, Sicer was in fact able to promptly manage the change thanks to a strong information and training of all the staff, immediately trained on the new procedures.
No cases of Coronavirus have been recorded among employees of worldwide branch offices. This was probably also facilitated by the immediate insertion of all PPE (masks and gloves, disinfectant gels) already at the end of January, even before the lockdown.
Today, thanks to the #SicerCare protocol, the company will certainly be able to carry out its activities in absolute safety.
In addition to responsiveness, an essential condition for companies that want to survive in this new world panorama, Sicer boasts the highest quality products and services that customers recognize worldwide, together with a strong focus on the environment and corporate welfare.
The competitive advantage gained is the result of a 25-year history in the industrial ceramic sector and the search for a very high technical and aesthetic level of the products.
If whoever is able to change wins the challenge, Sicer will surely be one of the candidate companies to pass this test and to come out even stronger than before.