Firm sees bullish prospects ahead

Business.
Business.(Business File photo)

A KEY player in the country’s manufacturing sector maintains optimism for sustained growth despite the challenges posed by high inflation and a challenging business environment.

In an interview, Marvey Alcantara, Uratex Visayas, and Mindanao business unit director, said the company is anchoring its confidence to the continued growth in population which has been driving high demand for foam and mattresses.

The upswing in various industries, including export, real estate, automotive, and hospitality is also giving the business a notable boost. Uratex/RGC Group opened in October its flagship showroom in Barangay Pakigne, Minglanilla, and its second showroom in Cebu. Next year, it is eyeing to open its third showroom in Pagsabungan, Mandaue City.

The Minglanilla showroom is the 19th showroom of the group that is set to cater to the growing market in the Visayas region. It features the Sleep Hub which is designed to meet the personal needs and preferences of the customers.

The store displays a wide range of mattress products from classic to premium brands. “Cebu is expanding, so is the demand for foams and mattresses here,” said Peachy Medina, Uratex managing director.

Despite the growth opportunities, William Lee, executive vice president of Uratex, emphasized the need to continue upskilling its workforce to align with evolving trends and automation.

Lee said with the slow growth of the manufacturing sector, the company remains steadfast in capacitating their people, sending them abroad for training or hiring professionals to train them with new skills.

“We don’t only upgrade our machines to keep up with the demand but more importantly, we upgrade our people,” said Lee. Uratex/ RGC Group employs about 4,700 people excluding in the count the promodizers and sub-contractors.

The group’s products are sold in 4,000 stores and distributors nationwide. Media added that besides skills, infrastructure and the cost of doing business are also critical to the growth of the manufacturing sector.

She said better roads will help lower the logistics cost and better power rates will also help lower the cost of doing business. She acknowledged that the sector lags behind its Asian peers but manufacturing is one of those that generates thousands of jobs for Filipinos.

“The Philippines is known as a service industry company—call centers, and we are very proud of them, also including the overseas Filipino workers, but we feel that manufacturing cannot just leave the country,” said Medina.

“We have a lot of people and not all can be employed by the service industry. So we are trying our best to be at par or better than the competition even if they say that manufacturing can’t prosper in the Philippines. We are trying very hard. Our core business is manufacturing.”

Medina said innovation is their way of staying relevant and ahead in the game. The company also pursued various sustainability practices such as using green technology and sustainable innovation in their products to help protect and preserve the environment.

“We aspire to continue to use sustainable materials in our products. Even in our operation, we also use solar power,” she said. Fifty percent of Uratex/RGC Group’s factories are now powered by green technology in partnership with ACEN, Ayala Group’s listed energy platform.

Under the new contract, ACEN will power the company’s manufacturing plants in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, Valenzuela City, and Canlubang, Laguna with renewable energy enough to eliminate an estimated 22,750 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions.

The move is seen to help the company achieve its sustainability target of decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent this year, and its long-term target of net zero emissions by 2030.

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