Santex, the company, and its people: Michele Farina, Export 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 Michele Farina, Export Manager at Santex. He told us how the incontinence products market is evolving worlwide. Sales are growing, both in the more receptive markets, such as the western countries, but even, if in a different way, in developing countries.

Could you please tell us more about your job? What do you do?

At Santex, I am in charge of the development and management of foreign markets, more specifically, I work in the field of medical devices for people with incontinence: adult diapers and disposable bed and chair pads.

What are the main product requirements in different Countries?

Incontinence products demand is growing in all markets.

More mature markets, i.e. those with a highly developed industrial sector and welfare, are growing due to the aging of the population.  In these countries, a very high standard is required. Major buyers want to be sure that manufacturers respect the increasingly numerous and sophisticated standards and regulations, that concern quality, security, work ethics and environment protection. Since the product offer is very high, prices are very low. Consequently, manufacturers must heavily invest in technologies that lower production costs while increasing productivity.

In developing countries, the demand is increasing due to the fact that they are developing: middle class per capita wealth is growing and therefore, the interest for products that did not exist in their market before and that, in some reality, do not exist yet, is growing too.  The use of these products also involves a change of sensitivity and at the same time the shame of buying them is slowly decreasing. The market trend goes from occasionally importing second-choice products, to a more continuous importation of products from China or from other countries that generally sell them for a lower price.  An increase of the welfare means an increase of demand of premium quality products that some European manufacturers intend to satisfy by directly acting on those markets.

It is said that soon we will see more adult diapers than baby diapers… How will the global market for incontinence products be in 10 and more years?

It is pretty clear that in western countries, the trend will continue to increase, as the percentage of old people with chronic diseases including incontinence, will keep on growing. Incontinence is something that the welfare system of this part of the world is already taking into account. A considerable increase of people that will be using these or other medical aids is to be expected, that is why in the future, adult diapers consumption will be higher than diapers.

The consumption of these products in developing countries will increase even more because people will be more used to these products and their use will be more and more common. In many countries with a high birth rate, as the African countries, many women suffer from light incontinence and are slowly learning to protect themselves with small shaped diapers.

What does working for Santex mean to you?

Since the beginning, working for Santex has been a real challenge: exports were poorly developed, the world very big and commercially unexplored by Santex. Competition is fierce and customers were very demanding. There was an organizational gap that needed to be filled, to properly satisfy and take care of foreign markets. All the different business departments are effectively responding to this challenge in an adequate way.  I feel,  I am working with a team that wishes to obtain important results. In these recent years, the family who is behind this company has made amazing technological, industrial and organizational investments and I am satisfied to say that they trust me.

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

I wouldn’t talk about the past, but about the present. We may talk about my past work experiences at Santex, only when, and if I’ll ever be retired. The most exciting challenge for me, is the fact that Santex is recognized as a prestigious supplier in the most demanding countries. At the same time, I would like to enter into those markets where only a few companies have made it and I’d like to do it in a structured and organised way. I like being a pioneer.

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