’Rethinking our entire strategy’

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Miguel Teles has been with Riopele for 35 years, a time when personal computers were just arriving at the company. For Riopele's Logistics Director, ‘the investment in new talents and innovation was already noticeable.’

In the logistics area, particularly for a company heavily involved in exports, searching for new solutions is regarded as a priority. ‘The construction of the new Logistics Hub in 2021 brought all our logistics operations under one roof, maximising team and resource productivity, while streamlining work routines and resources.’ This upgrade ‘enhanced our storage conditions for the main materials used in fabric manufacturing, centralised stocks, and their organisation.’

Do you still remember your first day at Riopele?

I still remember my first day at Riopele vividly: 2 January, 1989. It's been over 35 years now. I was warmly welcomed and supported by the people in the ‘computer center,’ where the focus on innovation was already evident. Our facilities were undergoing renovations. The system we used was a ‘huge’ IBM System/38 with the famous green-character terminals, which would soon be replaced by the IBM AS400. Personal computers were also starting to arrive at the company.

How has the company evolved over these three and a half decades?

The company's ability to adapt to a constantly changing world across its various sectors is the secret to our success.

But what has changed during that period?

Today, Riopele is a completely different company compared to when I first joined. Over the years, we've witnessed several transformation processes within the company, such as the implementation of the SAP system during the 2000s. Thanks to the effort, dedication, and commitment of the Riopele team, we now have an integrated system that sets us apart and helps ensure the level of service demanded by our customers. The positive evolution of the company's results in recent years is also noteworthy and reflects that we have adopted the most appropriate strategy. This includes our commercial and product strategy, the modernisation and reorganisation of the production and energy areas, the higher qualification of our human resources, and also the continuous improvement and systematisation of processes.

Considering that Riopele is a Company heavily involved in exports, how has its logistics department adapted?

We've adapted in several areas. I'd like to highlight the construction of the new Logistics Hub, which brought all our logistics operations under one roof, maximising team and resource productivity, while streamlining work routines and resources. It also enhanced our storage conditions for the main materials used in fabric manufacturing, centralised stocks, and their organization Internally, we've taken on transport management, selecting partners who ensure fast, reliable deliveries and offer features such as Track & Trace and EDI, demonstrating a commitment to sustainable logistics. Dachser, DB Schenker, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are some of our regular partners. Furthermore, with the implementation of the integrated SAP R3 management system, we've improved our planning process using tools like MRP, ATP, and capacity management, thereby increasing on-time delivery rates. Our stock management, warehouse operations, sales, and distribution processes have also become more efficient and systematic. Finally, by outlining performance indicators (KPIs) we are able to closely monitor operations, enabling timely decision-making when necessary.


How has the war in Ukraine and the conflict in Palestine been influencing Riopele's activity?

In terms of exports, since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the transportation of goods to Eastern countries has decreased significantly. Regarding imports, the transit time for raw materials has increased considerably, leading us to rethink our procurement strategy by anticipating purchasing plans to minimise potential risks.

Is Riopele seeking new routes?

To minimise risks, we chose to work with only two shipping companies. Although transit times remain high, they use new routes, ensuring a satisfactory level of service.

Do you consider nearshoring a reality or just ‘smoke and mirrors’?

Nearshoring is already a reality, especially among companies in the US and Mexico. It's a strategic outsourcing method that involves assigning tasks to countries that are physically neighbouring the country of origin. It offers several advantages to companies seeking efficient and productive collaboration. However, this concept may not be the suitable solution for all companies, as the specificities of the sector and company operations must always be taken into account.

Which new logistics solutions has Riopele been prioritising to strengthen its competitiveness in the international market?

At this moment, our main focus is on upgrading to SAP S/4HANA, particularly the new functionalities in supply chain management that allow us to optimise sales, planning, production, warehouse, shipping, and distribution processes, involving different business partners (suppliers, carriers, and customers), thus helping us improve our service level. The construction of a new Logistics Hub for raw materials, the use of RFID technology, and the implementation of features for transportation planning and management are other solutions to reinforce our competitiveness.