The Euskadi Radio Made In Basque Country Program interviewed Iñaki Castresana on February 27, responsible for organizing the SDA Factory, to learn and deepen the past, present and, above all, the company’s future. In this sense, Castresana said that “we have been producing very good irons in Euskadi for over 40 years, with a very powerful R&D center and we have to continue making them.”
The interview, which we report below, was conducted by Dani Alvarez.
We talk about the mythical Ufesa …
That is, the reference iron then for many people who, however, did not know that it had been manufactured here in Vitoria. And that’s the serious thing, in quotes, of the matter. We have been producing very good irons in Euskadi for more than 40 years, with a very powerful R&D center and we have to continue making them …Why recover that mythical product now?
Because we have a very important project in Vitoria to recover the essence of what we were. Throughout the history of the plant product has been developed – thanks to our R&D center – and it has been manufactured for brands such as Philips, AEG, Bosh or Siemens and in recent years under the BSH group exclusively for Bosch and Siemens.How do you intend to do it?
Being very flexible and efficient, continuing with a very good product development and giving the market what it needs. For that we have a great advantage that is our center of Innovation and Development, the heart of SDA, where fifteen people from our team work today and where they have left in recent times up to a hundred patents, something extraordinary. Within each iron there is a world of technology and specialization that is absolutely necessary for the product to be really good, and our R&D center works in that direction.How were they able to reverse an economic and business situation as complicated as they suffered a few years ago?
With investments in the automation of our plant very important and the commitment of our entire team. Thus we have been able to get ahead. The result today is a very good company at a productive level, with an optimal quality and which now has to evolve towards a more flexible and agile model …Why?
Because we are no longer worth only with the quality and productivity that we have shown but we have to complement them with the agility and flexibility that our markets and customers demand. It is the only way if we want to differentiate ourselves from the competition, because we will never be able to be cheaper but better. We have to be devilishly quick to respond, as I say, to the needs of our customers, which are immediate, and that is the process we are in right now.The bet does not seem new …?
It may be, but when you are part of a large multinational group as was our case, at certain times rigidities arise from which now, now independent, we have to move. You have to develop fast and bring to market that development so fast for the customer to have it.During the past crisis, the idea that competing in a sector as atomized as that of the small appliance with Asian manufacturers was a little less than a business suicide … However, you swim against the current and defend now that there is a market and product …
It is true and it is what we really believe. The challenge is important, no doubt, and it will entail a lot of complexity because it is easy to buy, for example, in China, where there are reasonable products and at a very good price. That is why our scenario must be another and must be more competitive to be able to stand up to them. Customers want the good, beautiful and cheap, and everything can not be done but we have to give the maximum to develop a very good product, with a lot of quality and that is not excessively expensive. We have to find that balance in order to compete.Is the company right now where you want it to be?
No, much less. We still have a long way to go. Last year was that of emancipation, with a corporate name already in Vitoria from which we developed and manufactured for BSH, but this 2020 should be the takeoff, to find new customers that guarantee that we can be able to get ahead without that production that we have been doing for them.
In Vitoria-Gasteiz March 2th 2020