When the emergency stopped our machines, it did not stop our gaze on the future.
The social enterprise Quid, one of the companies in the portfolio of Fondazione Opes-Lcef, with tenacity, resourcefulness, and courage is converting its production.
Anna Fiscale, the founder of Quid, says “In compliance with the Government’s requests, we stopped our sewing machines on March 24, and our laboratory was closed until April 7. In early March, when the emergency was in its early stage, we had to close all of our nine stores. If the emergency stopped our sewing machines, it did not stop our gaze on the future. It is a future filled with challenges but that we would like to transform into opportunities.”
So what are today’s and tomorrow’s challenges? “
“In our small way, we are trying to make a difference. We have prototyped several models of reusable protective mask in anti-microbial and anti-drop fabric, and developed two models to go into production.”
The first model was developed online in collaboration with other cooperatives. The distribution started in the beginning of April. We received orders for over 350,000 pieces from public authorities and retailers.
If, on one hand, converting our production was necessary to guarantee Quid continuity in the production, on the other hand, it also led to important procurement, research and development costs.
Furthermore, we wanted to make the initiative meaningful, in the logic of “unity is strength” by collaborating with other cooperatives all over Italy. There are numerous Italian companies that are converting and reinventing their production to face the current situation. Quid created a “starter pack” for the production of the first samples and a tutorial for the packaging instructions. The other cooperatives joined the project and took actions to start production to respond to market demands. The sewing machines started working again.
This entrepreneurial initiative with a strong social and environmental impact applies to the sixth principle of the International Cooperative Alliance and both help the country in this difficult situation and guarantee work continuity to its employees.
On Thursday, April 16, the biggest challenge was overcome: one of the models, “Co-ver”, obtained ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità) certification. Co-ver is a certified, reusable, protective and entirely Made-in-Italy mask which will be sold as PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) type 1 in derogation.
“The commitment – continues Anna Fiscale – was to a mask different from others on the market, authorized by the ISS (Istituto Superiore di Sanità), and reusable to reduce the environmental impact. The national requirement of 90 million masks per month creates a high environmental impact. We achieved all this with the Co-ver masks. ”
To obtain the certification, Quid had to implement and redefine the quality system, demonstrate the traceability of the products and meet the specific production standards required by the ISS. Quid is the 6th company in Italy out of 268 applicants to receive this important authorization and one of the first for washable fabric masks. The PPE “Co-ver” is a Made in Italy product, produced in the Veridese laboratory of Quid, with the support of the cooperative Art Lining and other local companies that have the required quality standards.
Co-ver masks will be available from Friday 24 April for online purchase, at https://bit.ly/MascherineFaccialiLavabiliQuid, in packs of 6, 50 or 100 pieces.
For orders over 300 pieces, please contact Quid directly by writing an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, it must be said that Quid’s attention does not only go to relaunching the production, but also to its employees. Anna Fiscale says that, to guarantee the support to those who are embarking on a path of work reintegration, they have strengthened the welfare program, “Libera-mente”, which is now active also remotely. In the future, to ensure that everyone in Quid can take advantage of the available support, she see an increased presence in the company of their Welfare Officer and HR management.
“When this emergency ends – concludes Anna – we know that the biggest challenge is still there: to restart Quid and to restart Italy. We had planned new openings of stores, instead, we will need time and resources to reopen established stores. There will costs that we will not be able to cope with on our own. However, even in these circumstances, we will not give up on the training of new staff, trainees and upskilling of coordinators. This is what we and the country need in this moment.
We are working hard to transform the limits into a starting point and to use this time to plan for a future together.”