Global packaging supplier Albéa vice president of communication Cécile Tuil talks about how the company, with its significant global production footprint, is navigating the current crisis.
What are your current priorities?
We are trying to address three challenges simultaneously. First, we’re ensuring the health and safety of our teams by implementing prevention measures that have been gradually reinforced since the beginning of the epidemic and by working with staff and their elected representatives. Together we are inventing new ways of working.
Albéa continues to serve its customers, some of whom are increasing supplies to provide items such as medicine and hand sanitizer, and others who continue to produce personal care and beauty products. Some customers, however, have shut down.
The economic activity for our sites, their regions and countries are being maintained, but obviously in more difficult conditions.
What has the impact been on production?
The situation varies according to the health situation in each country. (As of the week of March 23), our four sites in China were operating almost normally. (These factories are not in the region of Hubei: two are near Shanghai and two in the region of Zhongshan). Thanks to these production centers, we are developing good practices for eventual recovery elsewhere in the world.
Of our two sites in Italy (in Lombardy), at the heart of one of the worst health situations, one is in reduced capacity, while the other is running.
Our seven industrial sites in France are operational. Some of them shut down for a few days for cleaning purposes if there are suspicions of contamination and all of them have adapted their production to our customers.
The same strategy applies to the rest of Europe, which is mainly for the production of tubes—a segment that is very much in demand at the moment.
Albéa's five factories in the US and Canada are running. This is the newest front, so we are anticipating as much as we can. Of course, restrictions apply by state, or even county by county.
In India, where containment measures have begun, one site is at a standstill, awaiting authorization from the local authorities, and the other remains operational.
Finally, our three sites in Mexico, two in Brazil and three in Indonesia are still operating.
How do you see things evolving?
In the next few weeks, much will depend on the customers, and probably on the business sectors. I don't have a crystal ball, the Tubes business should continue to run (notwithstanding new government restrictions); luxury will slow down because the needs/purchasing possibilities will be reduced, but all of this varies according to the different countries and situations in play.
In any case, we are expecting a slowdown in our activity in the coming weeks.
What strategies are you putting into place?
We're adapting as quickly as possible by reinforcing protective measures to reassure employees who are not in home office and continue to work to fulfill the orders coming in. And future product launches are also being prepared. In addition to our employees, we’re working closely with our customers to anticipate their changing needs, and to have their support when necessary.
The good news is that this is turning out to be a real period of partnership and of strengthened ties. But we also have to face the reality that we’re in the midst of a real crisis.