Enrique Silla, founder and president of Jeanologia, a Spanish finishing technology manufacturing company, explains how the company will face its future challenges and aims based upon today’s main industry directions–sustainability, digitalization and offshoring.
What’s going on at Jeanologia?
In these pandemic times we are all transforming and learning to be ready for a new world that is coming. In our company we have changed so many things in the last months that we feel we are a new company that has experienced a transformation that normally happens in five years.
Did you also change any of your goals?
No, our goals remain the same. Our core business is denim transformation and our mission–we call it Mission Zero–is to dehydrate and detoxify the jeans industry by 2025 so that not one single jean being produced on the planet is damaging the planet or the big family of textile workers.
What has in part changed is our mindset. Before we used to be a technology company mostly based on hardware and service. Now, after these months we are based on software and service and this has made us change how we work putting a lot of attention in software and connectivity.
What results did you achieve?
We are quite happy how we navigated this crisis and how we will close the year by reaching revenues over €50 million and a profit of €5 million by end 2020. Also positive is the fact that we don’t have any debts and in terms of our ecological account our ecological Profit &Loss shows savings of more than 14 million cubic meters of contaminated water in 2020 compare dwith 2019.
If in the last five years we grew between 30% and 40% every year registering a growing EBITDA, we have now become a more agile and stronger company to protect our customers.
To achieve this, for instance, we opened a new development hub in Hong Kong and in the US we moved our office from Houston to Miami where a new development center will be inaugurated by March 2021.
Did you cut jobs?
In February 2020, we were 260 people of 27 nationalities and now we are 220 as we did some temporarily cuts in our manufacturing divisions. Though some of these workers have already returned and most of them will be back between April and June.
The Jeanologia team
But the big change is that many of our “Jeanologists”–21 experts and engineers–decided to move from our Valencia headquarters to Vietnam, to Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Brazil and other countries to better serve our customers. We are a glocal company. This is the only way to guarantee the best services and support our industry’s sustainable transformation journey. Sustainability is not anymore an advanced capability that helps us to compete. Today it is a basic capability. Either you produce in the right way or you are out of the market.
How did Jeanologia “metaphorically” turned into a software company?
Our new operational model is focused on sustainability, creativity and digitalization. The integration of Jeanologia technologies Laser, G2 ozone, eFlow, Smart Boxes and H2 Zero, with innovative software eDesigner and EIM allow us to produce on demand, improving manufacturing costs and significantly reducing the time to market of new products.
Inspiration image of Jeanologia’s eDesigner concept
Our eDesigner software, for instance, makes digital design and visualization of jeans finishing possible. This enables extraordinary collaboration between brands and their supply-chain partners that share the tools. Every player of the value chain can share creativity and achieve great results. Product development lead-time will be shortened by months, and the unnecessary expense of multiple physical sample iterations coming and going around the world will be eliminated while the final digital file containing the approved design can be sent to production centers around the world, or down the block, to accurately produce the jeans.
What main transformations will the industry face?
Three main aspects will characterize companies’ future: sustainability, digitalization and off-shoring. One of the consequences of Covid is that 15%-20% of the manufacturing will come back, for instance, to Europe and the US in the next three years. For this we have developed a program we called Urban Factories offering on-demand manufacturing model that is nearer to the consumer. We can establish small automated centers that combine disruptive technologies and innovative software that can transform how jeans are created and delivered, reducing lead-time to a minimum.
Rendering of Jeanologia’s Urban Factory
Thanks to this new system we can create small productive companies in countries where normally there is only consumption and no production. Through small teams of about 10-15 people can produce between 500 and 3,000 jeans per day in less than 1,000 sq. meters sustainably by, for instance, always using the same water–so it’s zero discharge. These new systems can combine technology and robots together with people’s craftsmanship. This way we can keep alive the creativity of artisans who can also use digital tools. It’s the only way for keeping alive artisans that are still operating in countries like Italy, Spain, California and Japan. We might open one within the first quarter of 2021 in Europe and three more in the US.
Malwee Urban Factory powered by Jeanologia
While 80%-85% of production happens in production countries, this new system is based on on-demand manufacturing that follows the different principle that you don’t sell what you produce, but you produce what you sell. This is very important as not many know that around 15% of the garments that are manufactured are never sold. Nobody buys them and we don’t know where they end up. So we also want to stop that as we think that a way to save costs is to produce what you sell rather than selling what you produce. At least 10-20% of the global supply chain will work with this advanced manufacturing technology.