“Flexibility, innovation and quick reactions are the factors of success”
Alfonso Marra, CEO of Klopman International
Can you tell us what you have been working on over the last few months and during the current pandemic?
Klopman is Europe’s leading company in the production of workwear and protectivewear fabrics, with over 50 years’ experience. We answered quickly to the needs arising with the coronavirus emergency, offering our know-how to produce reliable protective masks, sterilisable and reusable up to 50 times. Moreover, thanks to our expertise in the production of fabrics for medical and health sectors, the company has been included in the list of essential activities for the social life of Italy.
Klopman masks are made of a double layer of fabric to ensure maximum protection and comfort. In order to ensure a barrier effect with low particle release, Klopman masks are made from a very solid fabric construction, with a water-repellent finish on the outer shell. Inside, the polyester/cotton blends guarantee comfort in both wearing and breathability.
How have you supported your customers and the PPE industry during COVID-19?
The pandemic did not stop Klopman’s activies and the company guaranteed to all its customers the usual high level of service, thanks to the strong collaboration of our employees and to a consolidated value chain of reliable suppliers.
How have you managed as a company during the pandemic and what challenges have you faced?
The most important challenge for the company was the urgent need to combine our employees’ health and safety with the need for a continuous production process. The extraordinary commitment of our people enabled us to reach this crucial result. Another important challenge was to build in a very short time a specific supply chain able to produce and distribute masks in order to face the growing need to protect the population. We also tested the filtering level of our masks using a different testing company and were able to offer to the market a product that has also been approved by the French Ministry of Solidarity and Health.
What are your thoughts on predominately ‘going online’ during this current time?
We think that digital tools are a fantastic resource to keep in close contact with the company’s customers and stakeholders. At Klopman we are reorganising the whole way we present our products, with new advanced online tools, package shipments and promotional activities that guarantee our customers are kept up to date on the latest products launched. It is a new way of keeping in touch and we are sure it will set a new way to interact and do business in the future. Companies need to be ready for the change.
What lessons have you learned during this time?
This period has been very hard for companies but also very instructive. Flexibility, innovation and quick reaction will be the factors of success in the future. Very quickly setting a smart-working system for our employees, creating a specific supply chain for the production and distribution of masks, and training our people to use new, improved digital tools are just a few of the activities we conceived, planned and implemented.
How can we prepare and do better should this happen again?
Think outside of the box. This is the only way we can face this new reality. We hope this situation will be over soon but the lessons we have learned have to keep us ready to react to any future possible development.
The current pandemic has brought a lot of issues to light such as the lack of support our industry gets from the government and the challenges manufacturing in the UK faces. How important is it to you to manufacture closer to home?
The special relationship with our local territory is one of the main strengths of our company and the pandemic demonstrated how this factor is important in facing a crisis. Klopman is a global company with a very strong local identity and the sense of belonging of our employees and suppliers, really makes the difference.