In an interview to APICCAPS, José Dias, Director of Felgueiras-based company, Poleva, specialised in the manufacture of insoles, says that 2021 “will be a year fraught with uncertainty”, and that prospects “are not good”, but he hopes that the footwear industry can fight to stay “in the market and make some progress”.
Regarding the economic relief given to companies during the pandemic, José Dias believes that the Portuguese Government “did the best it could to take measures in order to help companies out”. He also states “we are a hard-working nation who adapts quickly to challenges and we do our best to evolve on a daily basis”, hoping that the “European ‘bazooka’ will bring stimuli for digitalisation and automation of companies”.
Read the full interview:
In the year just ended, companies were tested to the limit. What solutions did you find to minimise the effects of the pandemic?At the beginning of the pandemic we started by adopting all the safety rules and making people within the company aware of the health rules. Regarding our portfolio, we introduced new products in other sectors. On the business level, we adjusted to the new procedures and a new way of communication. Finally, in the footwear sector, we have extended our product range and introduced new technologies in the hope of attracting new customers.
What is your assessment of the measures taken by the Government?
I believe that the Portuguese Government did the best it could to take measures in order to help companies out, in view of the circumstances. However, I think that the process for the definition and implementation of such measures could have been more streamlined.
Globally, we started the year with worse COVID-19 stats, which brings a lot of uncertainty for the survival of different sectors, including footwear.
What are your expectations for the year 2021?
This will be a year fraught with uncertainty, without a doubt. At a global level, we began the year with worse COVID-19 numbers, which brings a lot of uncertainty for the survival of the different sectors, including footwear. Prospects are not good, but I do hope we can fight to stay in the market and make some progress.
What does Portuguese industry have to offer to its customers?
Portuguese industry is very strong, in my opinion. We are flexible; we have a very good workforce as well as the quality of our products. We are a hard-working nation who adapts quickly to challenges and we do our best to evolve on a daily basis.
This year, our country will benefit from an extraordinary package of stimulus and relief measures, the famous European ‘bazooka’. What do you expect from this package of measures?
Regarding the famous European ‘bazooka’, I hope that it will reach companies quickly, with more simplified processes that will increase competitiveness, in addition to stimuli for digitalization and automation of companies. I hope that there will be incentives to digitalise and automate companies, as well as non-refundable business grants so that companies can raise capital through debt financing.
If the year 2020 was particularly difficult from a business point of view, what has changed in your personal life in these last few months?
It was a difficult year where travel, socialising with friends and hobbies came to a halt. I think it was a year of introspection.
‘Saudade’ (a Portuguese word that means a state of nostalgia or longing for someone or something) was the word chosen by the Portuguese to sum up the year 2020. What do you miss most?
I miss seeing the smile on people’s faces. Being free to visit other places. The feeling that everything will be right again.
in Felgueiras Magazine
29 Jan 2021