By Olga Aristeidou
When Tetraform’s CEO Nikolaos Tseklidis asked for the EBRD’s support a few months ago, little did he know about the changes he would have to make to his business so soon afterwards to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Tetraform is one of the companies in Greece that repurposed their production to respond to the coronavirus challenge. A great example of resilience and solidarity, the company reallocated its capacities and started producing 4,000 face shields daily to ensure business continuity and give a helping hand to those on the frontline of the fight against Covid-19.
Tetraform is a family-owned company founded in 2002 and active in the fields of thermoforming of plastics, digital printing, silk screen printing and construction of refrigeration gaskets. Located in Kilkis, a small town in Northern Greece, it employs 12 people. Its main customers are dairy companies, commercial cooler and freezer companies, advertising and media companies, as well as pharmacies and cosmetics companies.
In a project that ended in early April 2020, the EBRD, with the support of the European Union (EU) through the European Investment Advisory Hub of the EIB, helped Tetraform develop a new sales strategy, increase competitiveness and grow.
Until mid-2019, sales were made purely by word of mouth. In June 2019, the company launched its website and hired a salesperson. Consequently, the company needed expert advice in order to develop a more structured sales strategy and increase its turnover. With the Bank’s support, the company implemented a new methodology for researching and categorising new market target groups, as well as new ways of approaching and communicating its technologies to these new market targets.
Recently, the increased need for medical tools due to Covid-19 led Tetraform to start designing and producing face shields not only for medical staff, but also for employees in constant contact with many people.
“We have diverted our production to help the country, our doctors and our nurses,” says Mr Tseklidis.
After discussions with the Panhellenic Medical Association, Tetraform started producing face shields that protect from air droplets, have a modern design, are very light, and do not fog up, just like eyeglasses, thanks to sufficient distance from the face and adequate ventilation. The face shields are easily assembled, adjustable and fit over glasses. All their materials are recyclable.
Tetraform has already received orders for 14,000 face shields from three medical associations, one hospital and one private client who will then donate the face shields to three further hospitals. They are also in discussions with many more hospitals, pharmacists associations and supermarkets all over the country.
Earlier this month, the company delivered 400 face shields to AHEPA University General Hospital of Thessaloniki, one of the biggest hospitals in Greece.
The EBRD has so far supported over 70 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Greece. The advisory programme is designed to help businesses gain know-how and improve their performance and competitiveness.