Zagreb Company Labud Working Long Hours to Produce Disinfectant

Lauren Simmonds

One of the leading Croatian manufacturers of cleaning products, the Zagreb company Labud, which is part of the Meteor Group, has focused all its efforts on multiplying the production of disinfectants since the first days of the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in Croatia.

As Novac/Boris Oresic writes on the 14th of May, 2020, working as needed and in three shifts six days a week, Labud has managed to multiply the quantities they deliver to consumers, among which health institutions have priority.

In this Zagreb company’s plant in Zitnjak, for weeks now, few people have become bogged down with the accumulated fatigue and stress. Their phones don’t stop ringing, and orders arrive minute by minute. A special team receives all of the requests and compiles waiting lists according to which the procurement and production plans are harmonised on a daily basis. This Zagreb company’s production plants, fortunately, weren’t damaged in the recent earthquake, so they were able to resume production immediately after they got the green light to do so.

Full boxes of various packages of disinfectants are loaded onto trucks every day, as well as other products that Croatian customers are used to in their households, which are very much in demand during this pandemic. To beat the coronavirus epidemic, we must pay special attention to hygiene, both personal and the spaces in which we reside and spend time.

”There is a huge demand for disinfectants, liquid soaps and other cleaning agents. Disinfectants are a strategic product and it’s our moral obligation to satisfy the market, primarily for health and other public institutions, but also the food industry and all other industries that use large amounts of disinfectants to do their job. We’ve also provided additional capacities in our plant in Đakovo,” pointed out Laura Justinic Skoko, the sales director of this Zagreb company.

According to her, we need to learn some lessons from these bad times. The epidemic has definitely shown how important it is to have and encourage Croatian production and be as independent as possible from imports. According to Justinic Skoko, this doesn’t only refer to finished products, but also to raw materials and packaging. The procurement of alcohol as the main raw material was the biggest challenge for Labud, especially in the first weeks after the introduction of the restrictive measures, which made the transport of goods extremely difficult, borders were closed, and some countries restricted the export of strategic raw materials.

”Most of our suppliers are from Hungary and Bulgaria, and we’ve had certain extensions of deliveries there. Part of the ordered quantities didn’t even manage to get to us. We managed the situation in various ways, looking for alternative suppliers. Fortunately, Badel 1862, which is within our group, gave us a certain amount of alcohol,” revealed Laura Justinic Skoko. Badel 1862 also provided them some workers, considering that the need for labour was increased in Labud.

Prior to the easing of the measures which saw the suspension of public transport, some of Labud’s workers had no way to get to work. Workers who did continue to work in these difficult conditions were additionally rewarded for that, and in order to protect themselves from the spread of coronavirus at work, it became mandatory to strictly adhere to all of the recommendations and measures prescribed.

In addition to the price of labour, this Zagreb company’s sales director points out, the price of raw materials and transport jumped compared to the time before the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic. But despite all these increased production costs, they kept their products firmly at the same selling price.

The marketing director of the Meteor Group’s Labud, Milica Damjanovic, believes that this situation will teach us to depend on each other more, it will teach us about the importance of togetherness and mutual support, aboout the empathy and strength we have, without even being aware of it, but also about the importance of domestic production.

”We need to invest more in domestic production. Every day, we applaud all of the Croatian producers who provide us with the necessary food, raw materials and finished products important for life, every Croatian farmer, every small producer who makes masks and protective equipment to make our people safer and to ensure that our society can function in such crisis situations, because we know what challenges they’re facing,” Milica Damjanovic pointed out.

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