Italian cosmetics packaging specialist Lumson has had to contend with shutting a factory in proximity to the country's "red zone" and seeing its production shrink to gel sanitizer bottles after a recent decree put a temporary ban on traditional manufacturing. CEO Matteo Moretti speaks to Luxe Packaging Insight about preparing for a new normal, the challenge for the cosmetics supply chain and what packaging might look like going forward.
What impact is coronavirus having on Lumson, particularly given Italy’s manufacturing shutdown?
In addition to adopting all necessary measures to prevent the spread of the virus, such as the use of PPE, workplace sanitation and temperature checks, we’ve activated extra insurance coverage for staff and arranged to receive 40,000 high-protection masks. Despite there not being any cases of the virus, Lumson closed its location in Ticengo due to its proximity to Italy's “red zone”.
After the March 22nd decree that put a stop to traditional manufacturing, only production lines dedicated to gel sanitizer bottles have been operational in order to meet growing demand. We chose to continue to manufacture based on a desire to give back to those who put their lives at risk in this emergency and it was a way to protect hundreds of jobs. Our role as a business is to take initiatives to support the area where we are based.
The challenge of the cosmetics supply chain will be to guide the industry in the post-Covid era and work on what will become the new normal, once the lockdown is over.
What is the impact on the Italian packaging sector in general?
The coronavirus and subsequent lockdown have had an immediate economic impact that concerns the entire industry and not only cosmetics. There will also be an impact on purchasing habits in the medium- to long-term once the emergency is over, at least partially. We’ll be living a completely different sort of reality: some changes involving packaging and formulations that are already in place will be accelerated and new ways of consumption will emerge that are increasingly attentive towards transparency, awareness and safety.
With regards to the role of packaging specifically, it will be even more essential when it comes to protecting the product from contamination and deterioration. It will inevitably be focused on guaranteeing the safety and integrity of bulk. We'll also see a boom of “touchless” packaging options and airless systems as they protect from the risk of contamination.
How will this crisis impact Lumson’s innovation budget?
Innovation has always been a feather in Lumson’s cap, as well as one of the cornerstones of our philosophy. The coronavirus crisis hasn’t impacted this or our investments in this area; it has only expanded our timelines and changed ways in which we communicate both internally and with the rest of the market (clients, suppliers, partners…).
It’s extremely important to stay in contact with people and create positivity and in this regard, the internet is a great resource: if we maintain our relationships with our collaborators, clients and suppliers, it will be easier to start up again. We have to think about what comes after: new products, new services and a new way of communicating with our partners. I’m sure we'll succeed in this regard, but difficult days await and we have to be ready.