Interview with Massimo Marchi – President of Marchi & Fildi S.p.a. / Filidea S.r.l.
MARCHI & FILDI is a textile Italian Group specialized in spinning and dyeing, founded in 1965 and headquartered in Biella with production plants in Turkey, Germany and Brazil, with 550 employees and a turnover of more than 70 million. The society Filidea S.r.l is also part of the Group.
What will be in your opinion the impact of the Coronavirus emergency on the Italian textile industry and what do you ask – as a businessman – to the Italian and European politics?
The impact will be very heavy on all Italian economy, starting from sectors that are historically strategic for us, from tourism to mechanical engineering and textile-apparel industry. Some sectors, such as the medical textile, are working more and more because of the emergency situation that we are going through, but the bigger picture is certainly very concerning. During these days we are talking a lot in terms of praise about textile industries that are reconverting their production putting on the market and suppling public authorities with masks. In this period, masks are fundamental, and we must necessarily produce them in Italy, realizing that maybe the delocalization of production plants made in the past can create big issues during such a complicate situation.
Having said that, after this period and once we come back to normality, we will be back to buy masks from China, because they are cheaper. Anyone who thinks to plan the future on the basis of this emergency is making a huge mistake. This will happen if the paradigm will not change and we are not conscious that it is neither wise nor far-sighted to completely destroy supply chains, becoming totally dependent from far eastern countries. For example, let’s think about what happened in the industry of chemical colorants in recent years.
The priority right now is the sanitary situation, and the first thing to do is to limit contagion, try to help the sick people and encourage disoriented and scared ones (the human soul in front of these events doesn’t change, it is the same that we can find in the book I Promessi Sposi during the pestilence). Whenever we could finally move on and the sanitary emergency will be over, we will have to figure out how to save the economy of our Country. Italian economy is nowadays a ninety years old man in the middle of the Coronavirus contagion. Our structural fragilities, the high public debt and the critical issues that we are dragging for decades, certainly make it difficult to save the “patient”. Certainly, we have to do this, and we can handle it in only one way: by focusing on a strong European integration.
we have to understand that Europe has to become a single big Country, we have to create the “United States of Europe” if we want to compete with USA and China. In this moment, certain short-sighted and close-minded attitudes are meaningless and condemn us to death. Italy in this moment is doing its best to face an epic emergency, is moving in a very decent way and is rediscovering a civil conscience that bodes well. However, we are not going to make it by ourselves. I hear people saying: “It is necessary to put more money to help industries and what our Government is doing is not enough”. I agree with that, but where shall we find this money? The only chance to make it through is a unite Europe that on its turn changes, becomes aware that the strength of one is now linked to a wider system, and becomes conscious of the new world reality which is becoming more and more polarized. In so doing, Europe should find the bravery and the foresight, that there was during the postwar period when the embryo of Europe as Countries community has been created.
Coronavirus emergency forced many companies to adopt in a very short period smart working solutions for its employees. Could this become an opportunity for the next future?
Definitely yes, and this is one of the few positive sides of the situation we are living in. Smart working is a very useful tool, and it has been a mistake – common to the majority of Italian companies – to underestimate its power in the past years. However, it is a tool to manage carefully, that we cannot apply to all and that we should never implement without a precise and complete strategy. It is fundamental (and nice too!) to interact and build a team in a company, live it for what it is: a community. Smart working – after the emergency – should be promoted, but within certain limits.