Pelma, a leading company in the production of flexible polyurethane foam, is based in Bassano Bresciano, in the province of Brescia, an area particularly affected by the effects of Covid-19.
Marco Pelucchi, CEO of Pelma, tells how he has faced this period of emergency, but already looks to the future with a careful eye to the issues that will be fundamental tomorrow not only for the upholstery sector, but also for all production activities: the Circular Economy and the "end of life" of products.
New opportunities can arise from a crisis situation. Will there be changes in your business reality and if so, which ones?
"The Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately deeply affected our region and, in particular, our province of Brescia. During the first weeks of the emergency we were in great difficulty: on the one hand, the need to suspend operations to avoid the risk of contagion and subsequent overcrowding in hospitals in the area and, on the other, the awareness that we could not stop so as to guarantee the continuation of work and the maintenance of the production chain. They have been very heavy weeks. In this period we are seeing that everything is moving very frantically and abruptly. The market is much more unpredictable than it was before and this has forced us to be even more flexible and quicker to meet customers' needs. Surely we will have to organize ourselves in order to be more and more ready to react to situations of instability and to govern sudden requests".
In this period the importance of the web has emerged more strongly. Are you thinking of using these means more and more even after the emergency?
"In addition to being one of the main means of communication, the internet has become a decisive tool for many work activities. Today information travels much easier and much faster than in the past; we are aware that we need to give the best possible perception of who we are, the work we do, how we do it, the products and services we can offer. We need to be able to communicate our peculiarities so that they are not evaluated solely on the basis of price. For these reasons, in addition to the websites, we have opened the Instagram profile which is updated weekly and we have also activated our YouTube channel".
In addition to product quality and technological innovation, what other elements do you plan to focus on to strengthen your image on domestic and foreign markets (quality of work, sustainability, environment, solidarity)?
"On the one hand, we will continue to have a strong relationship with selected suppliers of raw materials and additives, with plant and machinery manufacturers so that the market can perceive us as a reliable partner and, on the other hand, we must address the concept of the Circular Economy and the "end of life" of products.
With a view to making the industrial processes aimed at recovering and subsequently enhancing the value of expanded polyurethanes at the "end of life" more and more incisive, it is necessary that the entire supply chain, which starts from the design and arrives at the production of flexible expanded polyurethane products, adopt new strategies based on concepts of eco-compatibility.
First of all, it is essential that, when designing a new polyurethane product, not only aesthetic and functional solutions are considered, but also the question of the "end of life" as a central factor in the industrial process.
This implies, in the specific case of polyurethane based products, attention to all the phases that involve the construction of the final product, with the objective that each component is designed and produced to be easily separated at the end of the product's life cycle".