Somelos Tecidos is one of our important partners in Portugal. They weave and dye many of our sustainable organic fabrics for our shirts. Alberta Marimba is Sales Director at Somelos and gave us some impressions on how they have been dealing with the struggles of the past months.
Portugal was not spared from the current global Corona virus. What is your impression of Portugal dealing with the situation?
AM: I think Portugal's response to the COVID pandemic has been quite positive and successful. We were lucky to be behind (in time) some other European countries and have well anticipated the problems.
What is the mood of the people in Portugal?
AM: It has been positive and the Portuguese people have been following the government's and health organizations' instructions quite well. But of course the Portuguese people are very concerned about the economical future since both industry and tourism have been severely affected.
How does the government help companies to stay in business?
AM: There are a few measures to help families to be able to stay at home with younger kids. And of course there have been layoffs and partial lay-offs and some bank loans lines have been launched.
How has Somelos been affected by the current Corona crisis?
AM: On a social level it has been ok. Somelos Tecidos reacted early and set up measures to prevent infections. We only had three positive cases out of 820 workers (Somelos group) and no internal contamination, so the production has not stopped.
On a business level things are more dramatic as orders have been significantly reduced and/or cancelled and some raw material supply has been delayed. And clients have been asking for longer payment terms.
What measures did you as a company have to take?
AM: The first measure was to give training to everyone and install new health and security procedures. The health of our teams was our biggest concern. Whenever possible we were also able to work from home. And we tried to support our clients in their struggles making sure orders are fulfilled and deliveries are adjusted to their needs.
Many Portuguese textile companies have shifted their production ressources to supply the medical sector with articles such as masks, gowns or bedsheets. Is Somelos involved in these efforts?
AM: Yes absolutely. We have been supplying fabrics for masks for a lot of clients all over the world and we have been producing masks for our own staff and for sale.
At the moment we have five different fabrics and masks being tested at CITEVE to have the official approval.
We hope Somelos can tackle the crisis with not too much damage and all your employees stay healthy! Thank you very much for your sharing your insights!
Thank you so much! We work hard every day in order to make it happen.
The same to CARPASUS!