Santex, the company, and its people: Francesco Ferroni, R&D Manager - Santex S.p.A.

Every company has its own history, identity and vision. What about Santex? We asked the people that contribute every day, with their work, to make it possible.

We interviewed Francesco Ferroni, R&D Manager of the Santex production plant in Meledo (Vicenza). Francesco is one of the main characters who work behind the scenes to bring quality products – that listen to the users’ different needs – on the Italian and foreign markets, in hospital departments and in people’s houses.

For about 4 years, Francesco has been the Head of the Research and Development department of the Santex production plant in Meledo (Vicenza). His activity is mainly focused on product research. He generally manages the development and the evolution of the Egosan incontinence products line and of the private label market.

“Everyday”, he tells us, “I have to study the market analysis, with particular attention to innovation regarding raw materials, finished products and packaging. The aim is to design better products.”

What does it mean to carry out Research and Development at Santex?

“Santex does not operate in watertight compartments. Our Research and Development are therefore carried out on a global level, across the entire company. R&D do not only concern materials and product development, they involve all the production processes. The idea is to combine raw materials and technologies that sometimes have very different product objectives, to meet the company’s expectations, customer requirements and, last but not least, end-users’ needs.”

“When I do my job, I don’t just have to look at how to improve the production efficiency of the equipment available, but I also have to analyse how the product will be used and how this can be helpful to improve people’s lives. We manufacture medical devices: our attention to the user is very important.”

How do you think incontinence products will look like in the near future?

The incontinence product market is constantly evolving and growing in terms of volumes. Today’s product is already different from the product of two years ago and significantly different from those used twenty years ago. In the past, incontinence products were very cumbersome and not very absorbent. In the near future, the evolution of the product will continue following the path that has already been taken, that is to say, to offer incontinent people increasingly ergonomic, performing and discreet solutions.

Such items may look like simple items; however, behind a diaper there is a lot of production and logistics technology. The future objective will be to focus on improving the performance while containing production costs.”

What was the project or the challenge that has fascinated you the most?

What I do every day. To contribute creating a product that ends up on distributors’ shelves across Europe and beyond. This is for me an ongoing challenge. More specifically, I am passionate about designing the phases of the process that lead to the implementation of what our customers asked for, to be able to use our knowledge and exploit it to meet our customers’ needs.

Moreover, it will certainly be a great challenge to redesign new products for our new production lines, to be fully involved in the development of our new product lines, and think with the company management about what kind of product we will make in four or five years’ time.”

What does working for Santex mean to you?

“Working for Santex is an ongoing discovery for me. I was lucky enough to start working for this company during very important years, when a lot has been done for the continuous growth of the market and for the investments that the owners are actually making. These are big changes and we made them. There is a strong sense of belonging to a team, it is very rewarding to feel like an important player in the company’s activities and development.”

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