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May 2020 | Platform

Safety, courage, strength, solidarity and resilience: Key factors for Spanish automotive manufacturers to overcome the COVID-19 crisis

 “Autoparts from Spain Together” is an initiative of  the platform “Autoparts from Spain”, to show how Spanish automotive suppliers adapted to the new situation while looking for new chances. 
The automotive supplier sector has been ever adapting to new exceptional situations since 1886. This time, an additional dose of patience and adaptation is required but we will eventually make it”

The Spanish sector for automotive suppliers and equipment is, as a whole, a strong asset in the vehicle value chain. It provides around 75% of this market’s business. Currently, it is one of the sector’s top exporters: up to 82% of total production is delivered to more than 130 countries. In Spain, it employs more than 370,000 people directly and indirectly. Those data reveal the importance of the Spanish automotive industry in the country’s economy. Those are the reasons why its unity, teachings, strength, solidarity, exemplarity and experiences are more than ever valuable for other sectors trying to adapt to the current situation and overcome the crisis.

“Autoparts from Spain together” gathers many “Autoparts From Spain” members (a platform aimed to promote the Spanish product internationally and showcase the export capacity of supplier and equipment manufacturers “made in Spain”). They get together to share their experiences during the crisis, show their best practices, teach about the capacity of adaptation and sent a positive and encouraging message about the new chances brought by the COVID-19 crisis.

AIR FREN, specialists in pneumatic brakes for industrial vehicles state that they haven’t stopped production and they will be stronger the day after this whole thing goes away: “Nobody had prepared us for this difficult situation but our attitude, adaptation capability  and hard work will make a difference. We will overcome it and we will come out reinforced with everything learned” AMC, leading company in manufacturing aluminum cylinder heads for diesel, gas and gasoline motors, had it otherwise: they were forced to stop production. This has allowed them to perform an optimization task in their processes and improve their products. “We have taken advantage of the break motivated by COVID-19 to consider what the future of the IAM will be like after this pandemic, and to optimize our manufacturing processes and the way we interact with the customers as we think that future will be. That from now on, business is done in a different way does not necessarily mean that it is a change for the worse but that you have to know how to adapt to a new way of doing business, and probably a new opportunity in several aspects”.

Regarding Enganches Aragón, a towbar manufacturer for every vehicle, they remind us that the automotive supplier sector has been adapting to extreme situations since 1886, date of the first car was assembly. This moment will not be different “At Enganches Aragón we are convinced that this virus will get the best out of it. In a few weeks we have completed an accelerated master’s degree in teleworking, in occupational risk prevention, in confidence in others and, above all, in ourselves. We have not stopped working a single day to adapt to a new reality that is already here. We’ll do it one more time!”

A handful of companies have seen this crisis as a chance to make a difference in the world: “The pandemic will eventually be under control, and we all will be remembered by how we behaved. We do need to take this opportunity to become a better company and a better employer; we need to take this challenging opportunity to make a positive difference in the world” states FERSA, Spanish multinational devoted to design, develop, manufacture and distribute high-quality bearing solutions for the automotive market. Lizarte, aftermarket`s quality manufacturer, adds up “ It has been shown that in difficult times is where the true nature of people and companies comes out, and during these last weeks all of us have shown courage, solidarity and resilience, key factors to face the moments that are yet to come and re-emerge with more force if possible. as we were before this crisis. At Lizarte we are fully convinced that if we adapt to this new post-crisis scenario and we are vigilant, we will be able to capture new opportunities and transform them into profitable, solid and sustainable business models. Together, we can!”

Solidarity among companies is another positive take “Autoparts from Spain” companies extract from this crisis. GESTAMP, Spanish multinational specialized in design, development and manufacture of high-engineering metal supplier, agrees: “In this context of COVID-19, we must highlight the effort that all Gestamp team is doing to get through this. Because it is only thanks to the help of each one that we are moving forward. A clear example of this is each act of solidarity carried out locally by Gestamp people or the sacrifice and commitment worldwide to overcome the situation”. Grupo Antolín, one of the main car-interior manufacturers in the world, adds:  “To face this global health emergency, it is essential that we all come together and support each other to protect the health and safety of the population. Grupo Antolin and its employees have launched several initiatives to manufacture medical equipment and address the shortage of protective equipment against coronavirus in Spain. As an example of these initiatives, the company has produced medical gowns for healthcare personnel of hospitals and other social centres.”

Also, many platform’s companies operate or have plants overseas, where the crisis has already hit. This fact has allowed them to act speedily and with already tested protocols. This is the case at OLIPES, development specialists for lubricants, grease and other car special products: “Weeks before the state of alarm was declared in Spain, Olipes had already foreseen an emergency plan on the occasion of COVID-19 analyzing the situation that was occurring in Italy and that served as a starting point, which we implemented in record time. A defined strategy for three possible scenarios, good planning, a quick capacity to adapt and the correct analysis of the situation in real time, in permanent contact with employees, suppliers and customers, was the key to dealing with the COVID-19 crisis at OLIPES”

Discover the experience of Autoparts from Spain´s companies to overcome the COVID 19 crisis:

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