In April, the Spradling Group CEO, Enrique Türk, visited Spradling's offices in Europe. Enrique had the chance to spend time with Spradling teams from the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain over several days. He was able to learn more about European operations, as well as to explain the next steps that the Group will be taking to implement its international strategy.


In an interview with Natalia Cortés, Spradling's Marketing Coordinator for Europe, Enrique sums up his visit to the region and talks to us about innovation, design and the environment in the coated fabrics manufacturing industry. Türk also shares the upcoming challenges facing the company both regionally and globally:


N.C: Enrique, after your visit around different regions, how do you see Spradling's operations in Europe?


E.T: For me, Europe has always stood out as a region with its own business models, that understands market penetration and how to be successful in each of the markets it operates in. Europe is made up of many countries, cultures and languages. I believe that running successful operations in Europe means understanding the peculiarities of every market, knowing how to approach each one and how to present as a global company while maintaining a local presence in each country, offering added value that guarantees that the needs of our clients are being satisfied.


N.C: What does it mean for Spradling to be a global company that acts as a local partner?


E.T: Spradling is a company with a presence around the world, with products for a global market, but that behaves according to local needs and demands of each country, in accordance with their idiosyncrasy. And not only that, but we are also able to guarantee our customers that we can satisfy their needs just as well as local manufacturers, even though our factories are located thousands of kilometres away.


N.C: What are the most significant changes that Spradling is making globally in terms of technology and the market?


E.T: In terms of the market, we aim to understand the client, and to understand what we do from the client's point of view rather than our own. It means being able to anticipate and satisfy their needs today, as well as surprising clients tomorrow by understanding their needs, their market, their goals, their environment and their vision. It means looking from the outside in, rather than from the inside out.


From the point of view of technology, it means preparing ourselves to be able to meet market demands and the needs of our clients, through research and development, marketing, IT, and a team of talented professionals. By doing all these, we are preparing to offer the most innovative approaches to respond to the needs of our clients.


N.C: How does Spradling innovate, and is it a creative company?


E.T: Innovation is not an asset that belongs to anyone in particular; innovation is in everything and everyone. It is a state of mind. Any employee in the company is not only able to innovate, but should be doing so. We are on a constant search for alternatives that complement our value proposition. Historically speaking, product innovation has been one of our strengths, differentiating us from the competition. This innovation can be divided into three parts: design, performance and production technology. However, innovation doesn't only apply to products, it can also be applied to business models, the way we serve customers, and how we face a certain situation.


N.C: What is the industry's role in terms of taking care of the environment, and what is Spradling doing in this matter?


E.T: As citizens of the world we have a responsibility to ourselves and to future generations to ensure that our planet is habitable, without contributing to it deteriorating more than it already is. Our business practices mean that we are not a "bad citizen" but rather a "good citizen". We have made several efforts along these lines. Our plant in Costa Rica is carbon neutral for example, and we offset our carbon emissions with forests that clean the same amount of air as our production would have contaminated with CO2. We have invested millions of dollars in our two plants to make sure that emissions are as low as possible, and to comply with international standards. We have made efforts to determine which of the components of our products contaminate the environment, in order to reduce them. Now we are no longer using heavy metals to produce our coated fabrics. We have removed them in order to make our products less aggressive, and to ensure a much lower impact on the environment. We must keep making an effort to determine how we form part of the chain to make sure that, in the future, we can be involved even in the waste disposal process, and have even less of an impact on the environment.


N.C: What are the next challenges facing Spradling Group and its operations in Europe?


E.T: One of our main challenges is geographic growth, and market penetration with our complete portfolio. We also want to keep improving our brand's position to become a leader on the European market. We have already managed to achieve this in some countries, but it would be ideal to reach this goal in every country. There are different markets in Europe, and the challenge we face is to replicate the business model that has been successful in countries where we already have a presence. We want to ensure that, over a given period of time, we have achieved market penetration and a presence throughout Europe.


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