DERMACOLOR, doubled corporate surface & new R&D

dermacolor d light blue
DERMACOLOR, great solutions for the post-Covid phase, now features a corporate surface amounting to 20 thousand sqm. (half of which indoor) and has been investing in the development of cutting-edge products  

Valentina Palagini e Andrea Meucci
Valentina Palagini and Andrea Meucci

2020 turned out to be a complicated, unexpected year, mainly due to the global pandemic that has slowed down the whole economy on a global level. Despite all that, DERMACOLOR – firm headquartered in Castelfranco di Sotto (Pisa province), specialized in the design and manufacturing of leather processing chemicals, for both the wet-end and the finishing phases -, has managed to lay the foundations for a prompt upswing. As a matter of fact, 2020 has marked the launch of a significant investment, started back in 2018: undoubtedly, the most demanding feat carried out by the enterprise in its forty-year long history, given that it was established in 1981 by Umberto Palagini and Carlo Meucci. That project has resulted in twice as much corporate surface, now amounting to 20 thousand square meters, almost half of which covered.

“It is not just a mere expansion of our historic headquarters,” explained Andrea Meucci, technical manager, “but more of a true reassessment of spaces and areas that will act as a stepping stone for the upturn, especially in terms of quality and service, on the domestic as well as on foreign markets. Now, the facility features new, upgraded departments such as the analysis and finishing laboratory, an area amounting to approximately 2000 sqm. for storing goods, a wide area intended for presentations and meetings with customers, and, in the production area next to the manufacturing plants for drum articles, we are about to finish a new system for the making of finishing solutions.”

Can you tell us something more? “The finishing laboratory is three times larger than the previous one. The same goes for the analysis laboratory conceived for the quality control of goods, hides and for the development of new products. The new facility houses areas intended for meetings and presentations, provided with an ample showroom for leathers and articles, in addition to a warehouse of approximately 1800 sqm., whose storing capacity has been increased not only surface-wise, but also when it comes to height: this allows us to speed up deliveries and to ensure a higher supply. The old warehouse has been turned into a manufacturing division, given that it now houses the plants for products mixing and processing.”

Was this investment a sort of “demand” put forth by the market? “Yes, in a way, given that the leather and fashion sectors have been experiencing a steady growth, over the last few years, concerning product quality, and the inputs given by the fashion world to the Tuscan district have made perfectly clear that research and “Made in Italy” manufacturing play a key role in the development of the most prominent clusters, including ours, in Italy and Europe.”

As for your company, how did you spend the spring lockdown? “In compliance with the regulations, we were forced to close. However, some of our customers got permission to work, so we managed to make deliveries, just for them. That was possible mainly on a local level, while forwarding abroad was stopped up until the resumption of our activities.”

 

Did you resort to smart working? “Yes, we went on working, keeping in close contact with each other so as to develop new ideas concerning research and development, while striving to maintain a tight bond with all our customers. When the production chain had to stop, we seized the opportunity to finish the new plants, redefine services and focus on new solutions to make our clientele even more competitive and efficient.”

Let’s talk about trade shows: have the frequent cancellations occurred this year caused some backlash? “We have missed them very much, there is no point in hiding the fact, not just because there was no opportunity to put on display for international professionals the latest articles developed in the previous months. A company such as ours, always paying close attention to market demands, does not sell notably chemicals, but more specifically technologies and innovation. Therefore, international trade shows are a highly strategic tool. We like to say that DERMACOLOR is a family-run business, we favour a direct relationship with our customers, with whom we have established an ongoing dialogue.” What about the summer months after you resumed the activities? “It was not an easy period for a lot of enterprises. Our firm too, just like many other, had to face a lot of issues. It was the case, for example, of the lack, upon work resumption, of containers to send goods abroad, resulting in problems in the “long-term” forwarding management. At the end of the day, luckily enough, there was no shortage of work, especially since September we have noticed the slow, yet steady recovery of some foreign markets and this has given us the opportunity to start scheduling production with greater pleasure.”

What was the main difficulty? “In the crucial moment of the year, the lockdown in March and April caused a lot of uncertainty at all levels, especially from a financial point of view: orders stopped, in some cases even payments, so much so that panic began to spread among players. It was definitely not easy to manage such a moment.”

Once the health emergency is over, what do you expect? “The scenario will never be the same, the market will become increasingly selective and company such as our will have to meet the new demands with more and more high-performance products and solutions. However, we believe that there will plenty of opportunities for those, like us, who have chosen to invest in research and facilities in this period. With regard to this, we are about to launch D LIGHT BLUE, an innovative wet-blue processing solution that will help reduce significantly production times, thus resulting in strategic benefits in terms of waste and consumption as well as in marked saving.”
www.dermacolor.it