How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected demand in your company?
Loos: The demand for medical disinfectant wipes and generally for all areas has increased dramatically. This is a result of changes in the supply chain. At the start of the pandemic and even today, we often saw delivery delays. It means that local manufacturers, like us, have an edge in terms of speed and delivery capacity levels. This has prompted a major mindshift and it is great to see that there is an increased move back to manufacturing in Europe.
Where do you still see room for improvement when it comes to product solutions for medical facilities?
Loos: Even the experts quite often are only familiar with a fraction of the innovation opportunities the nonwovens industry has to offer. Many pay close attention when they hear the term sustainability but the potential is far greater than that. How can I improve absorption or stability, for example? Which unique fibers mean I can use less lotion? The possibilities are endless, but there is a lack of supply chain transparency and communication among individual manufacturers. Businesses often obtain standard solutions, yet the market requires custom solutions. Yet this information doesn’t reach the manufacturers. There should be more and better communication at all levels, which would facilitate successful, targeted product development.
What do you expect from your participation at this year's virtual.MEDICA?
Loos: It’s obviously a pity that a major trade fair like MEDICA won’t be an in-person event this year. We have had many positive experiences in the past, especially as it pertains to networking. The new digital trade fair format has initially been a learning curve for us. We have been in intense preparation to study how to use the various options, such as video clips, as efficiently as possible. We hope that people will discover and connect with NORAFIN. I think it is important that trade fairs like MEDICA will continue to exist and attract visitors in the post-pandemic world.