STORY INLINE POST
Q: Before the pandemic, you said Corev had learned to adapt to the cyclical nature of the economy. How did that mindset help you overcome last year’s challenges?
A: This mindset allowed us to endure the crisis without making a single cut in staff or salary. We know that without that ability to adapt, we would have been unable to survive. We switched our communication platforms in 2019, which was of great help during the pandemic because we were already prepared to work remotely. A big part of Corev's success over the last 16 months came from understanding the scale of the problem quickly and taking action. Our first priority was to figure out how to save jobs. In 2020, we achieved 19-20 percent growth, did not lay off anyone, did not cut salaries and delivered a better profit than the previous year.
Q: What strategy did Corev implement to market its products at the onset of the pandemic?
A: The most worrying question at that time was whether we would be able to produce or not. Fortunately, the chemical industry was considered an essential activity and that allowed us to avoid plant closures. That fact alone gave us a great advantage over industries that had to close. There were also people who never stopped investing or wanted to finish their projects, which allowed us to keep sales up as we analyzed which states and sectors were going to pause operations.
The construction industry stopped operations for a few months then resumed. While stores are important, a large part of our revenue comes from construction activities. We had to be closer than ever to our distributors to be ready when the industry resumed operations. Despite the temporary pause, key projects for the Government as the Felipe Angeles International Airport, The Mayan Train and the construction and renewal of Hospitals continued. At that time, we were working with three IMSS hospitals and we could supply our EIFS system and also antibacterial solutions. Being considered a core activity was part of our lifeline last year. Corev has always stood out for its distinctive products and that is one of the best strategies any business can have to overcome a crisis.
We also have a B2C business selling kits of decorative coatings online. This business unit growth last year as people began home improvement projects, during the pandemic.
Q: What have been the most significant changes within the construction sector?
A: The construction sector is very much the same as it was two years ago. There is always someone who has a project and needs products to build it. It is very difficult to change such a traditional industry. Perhaps in a post-COVID-19 scenario, the landscape of the sector will change and new ways of building and buying products will emerge. One area that has changed is the relationship between suppliers and distributors. Over the past few months, we have all needed each other's help.
Q: Corev’s products are 100 percent water-based. What are the challenges in positioning these products?
A: Being a specialized company is complicated. There is great growth in segments that have a broad market reach but when targeting a niche, the reach is much smaller. On the positive side, having unique products helps us stand out in this highly competitive market of generic products. Still, on a day-to-day basis, it is not easy because the sales process is longer. Often, we need more time to explain the many qualities and benefits of a product in a way that we would not need to do with a common technological product.
In the long term, however, having specialized products provide us with peace of mind. A few years ago, we considered switching to traditional products and if we had done so, we might have disappeared from the market. Unique products have allowed us to remain as market leaders in our field.
Q: How is Corev incorporating digitalization into its manufacturing process?
A: Automating our production process is not that easy because we are a blending business. The processes are still mechanical and manual. Our focus is on improving them. Other countries have automated their warehouse operations but this is still incredibly expensive and it takes a long time to recover the investment involved in automating a paint plant. What we are looking for is intermediate automation solutions in the packaging process and other areas.
Corev focuses on the production of decorative coatings and paints. The company was founded in 1980, has a strong distribution network in Mexico and is present in North, Central and South America.