Mónica Alegre: "In 50 years we have gained in square meters, but also in knowledge, in international character and in our commitment to innovation".
This year 2023, Industrias Alegre celebrates the 50th anniversary of its installation in Albal. Actually, the anniversary was a couple of years ago, but the pandemic made the meeting inadvisable and, by delaying it, it has coincided with another birthday: the company started its activity 70 years ago, another round figure. We talked to Mónica Alegre about the anniversary and to take a look at the company's future.
Question: Why celebrate the installation in Albal before the start-up of the company?
Answer: It is true that my father first set up Talleres Almar, created the Valeplast brand and was quite successful. But the truth is that this plant was, thanks to his entrepreneurial nature, a turning point and a big bet. The idea was to find a location outside the city of Valencia that was well connected and that would allow us to expand our facilities in Patraix. This was a very important moment. It was a new vision to be able to address the growth in the automotive sector in which we started working in the 70s. In addition, he celebrated 25 years with a big party dedicated to the people who had made the company a reality. It was our turn to celebrate 50, of course.
Q.: In what aspects has Alegre changed during these 50 years?
A.: More than a radical change, I think we have had a long process of transformation and adaptation that has been developing in order to achieve the goals we have been setting for ourselves. Today we can consider that there is a great leap, but the truth is that the company has been in full transformation since its beginnings. And it continues with the same dynamic.
First it was a workshop manufacturing different types of molds for third parties. From there it went on to specialize in plastic injection molds and then incorporated injection machines to be able to offer customers a complete service.
Later, when in the early 70's we bet on the automotive sector and took on its demanding requirements, we have gone through different phases until we have achieved the recognition we have today as a serious company focused on satisfying the needs of its customers.
We have gained in square meters, but above all we have grown in knowledge, betting on a professional management with committed people. We have also given our growth an international character in order to position ourselves in other locations. And finally, I must point out our commitment to innovation in all its dimensions to the point of making it part of the company's culture and a substantial element of our strategy.
Q.: The superposition of crises in which the automotive sector has been involved has placed many companies at the starting block, also Alegre?
A.: The automotive sector has been in the midst of a revolution for some years now, in full transformation. But not only the auto sector, but mobility in its broadest sense. The challenges, which were already many, have become even more acute since Covid burst into our lives, with all its consequences and collateral effects... in short, we are facing a global crisis that has thrown all forecasts into disarray. It is a situation that leaves not a moment's respite and makes our wits even sharper. Strategies and business plans have to be rethought as events unfold, looking for opportunities that also arise with these transformations. And this is where we are, living in an era in which we have focused on our commitment to innovation and are becoming more flexible and agile every day if possible.
But that's how exciting the industry is! That's why those of us who work in it know that either you're passionate about it or you'd better do something else.
Q.: To what extent do the lessons of the past help the company face the challenges of the future?
A.: There is a saying that says that you can't even look back to get a boost, right? But I think we have to be aware that we are where we are because 70 years ago a person like my father had the desire and the courage to undertake and create his own business, which later became a company. As he progressed, he set himself new challenges to explore other types of sectors, such as the hardware sector, where he opted for the creation of his own product. Then came the industrial sector and, after years of specializing in technical products, he set himself the goal of becoming a supplier to the automotive sector. He knew how to surround himself with a professional team committed to his vision and with whom the company has been adapting to the different moments experienced during all this time. I am sure that during this time mistakes have been made and I am sure that he has stumbled several times over the same stone, but these things also help him to continue to grow and to continue to grow.