Víctor Manuel Leal González
President
National Association of Paints and Inks (ANAFAPYT)
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Expert Contributor

The Paint and Ink Industry Evolves in Difficult Times

By Víctor Leal | Wed, 08/12/2020 - 15:22

The pandemic caused by COVID-19 is leading everyone to take actions that mitigate its impact on our lives, not only in the workplace but on the economic, social, personal and familial facets. How we achieve this adaptability in an integral way is and will be a turning point for the advancement of corporations in every sector worldwide. The paint and ink industry will play a role of utmost importance.

After 75 years of allying 80 percent of the national production of paints in the country, the National Association of Paints and Inks (ANAFAPYT) has documented countless challenges at the economic, social, political and environmental levels, including the technological and innovation challenge, in which coating companies had to enter a race around product and formula development. But we did it, and are now one of the country’s most strategic and profitable sectors, with an industry value of more than US$3 billion nationally. Today’s challenge is no exception.
With this history in mind, we decided from the beginning of the COVID-19 contingency to take this global health emergency as a catalyst for short, medium and long-term strategies, which will consolidate us as an industry and, in turn, act as a solid foundation for the reactivation of everything. Looking at the challenges to overcome and the importance of caution and responsibility in each of our decisions, the ANAFAPYT Institutional Posture was born. It is the beacon, according to the pillars of health, social support, operations and economic recovery, that has led the sector to work jointly and with discipline to provide support and contain the impact of the crisis, safeguard and contribute to the well-being of our collaborators and society, as well as planning and establishing solid foundations for the maintenance and necessary growth of the economy.

For the successful launch of the ANAFAPYT Posture, it was essential to have the solidarity of more than 75 member companies of the National Association of Manufacturers of Paints and Inks, using this posture as an instrument of business strategy and operations where safety and health are prioritized in a coordinated effort with the authorities to mitigate the spread of the pandemic caused by COVID-19.

Each of the four pillars of the ANAFAPYT Posture are merged in such a way that everything connects in the health pillar. We carried out actions such as the establishment of sanitary measures within the association through a remote working model, which also involved investment in technology and training. In turn, both the sales points for our associated paint manufacturers, as well as their production plants, offices and distributors, replicated the actions established daily by the General Health Council, with special emphasis on high standards, sanitary precautions and hygiene protocols, such as the use of gloves, special suits, masks, hand sanitizer, safe distancing measures between employees and customers and during home deliveries.

The execution of our action model made clear the importance of the coatings, paints and inks industry, which is fundamental in the operation of the supply chain in worldwide essential activities. In addition to being a key industry for employment generation that just in Mexico, has created more than 12,000 direct jobs. At the Latin American level, the industry represents more than 9 percent of the consumption of paints, coatings and inks around the world, with Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina being the main players in terms of regional production.

Among the strengths that we detected and exploited was the ability to adapt and evolve within the current environment of our society. As a matter of fact, the national campaign #QuédateEnCasaYPintaTuHogar (Stay at home and paint your home) was a key to carry the message of social distancing as a primary measure to contain the pandemic, but in a friendly way that, in turn, promoted the generation of consumption for our associates, through safe activities and aligned with the current reality.

#QuédateEnCasaYPintaTuHogar, in addition to having a robust communication drive, obeyed both the health component and the economic reactivation and social support elements, with materials and guidelines to be applied at each sales point and operation of our manufacturing and distributor partners.

Faced with the complexity of a historic moment that no one today had experienced previously, and for which the closest records date back at least 100 years, a key piece for economic revival has undoubtedly been cross-collaboration between industries. From this premise, we developed a space for generating ideas and strategies, such as our ANAFAPYT Forums, in which we have had the participation of the main chambers and industrial associations, such as CONCAMIN, ANIQ, CANADEVI, CANACINTRA and CMIC, with whom we have spoken and proposed specific actions with a shared view to a prosperous industrial revival.

Synergies were created among affiliates to achieve actions that, in addition to economic advancement, have a human and social element, such as the donation of more than 14,000 liters of antibacterial gel for workers at the Central de Abasto in Mexico City, thanks to the union between companies. Univar Solutions México, which was in charge of donating all the raw material components necessary for the preparation of the disinfectant. Sayer Lack Mexicana carried out the production, according to a detailed protocol to verify and ensure the guaranteed effect of the component, and complying with quality in accordance with the appropriate Mexican standards. The 14,285 liters of antibacterial gel were bottled and distributed free of charge to promote and support the hygiene measures that must be carried out in the more than 1,000 premises of one of the largest food supply centers in the world.

Faced with challenges such as the implementation of norms and guidelines for development and the constant need to adapt to the new normality, we provide support and advice on different aspects through the ANAFAPYT Forums, which are carried out periodically and virtually with specialists from various branches, including legal and regulatory. These forums have been attended by more than 150 businessmen and CEOs.

This pandemic has already left a mark on us as an industry, as a country and as a society; our hearts are deeply scarred for the loss of human lives. Without a doubt, the situation we are going through will continue to deliver new challenges, before which a vision that prioritizes our humane responsibility with a commercial purpose focused on solving problems and that promotes the health of society and the well-being of our collaborating team must prevail as a guild and as a society.

The transformation we are undergoing should not be seen as a setback. It is an adaptive evolution that must be seen as a cathartic point in which people, families, government and companies must build different paths that lead us to social resilience. Our responsibility as an association will continue to focus on business innovation, awareness of our environment and proposals that lead to social development.

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