The history of Filatura Dorama began in 1973, when the company was established. Its roots go back to the Giardino Roch’s Biella based family, which has been working in the textile industry for over hundred years.
«We searched our forebears – Guido Giardino Roch, CEO of the company explains – and we found that almost all of them used to make yarns or fabrics. In the 70’s, my father Ezio changed his fate from employee to entrepreneur». We are talking about a company that makes carded yarns as an assigned manufacturer for major woolen mills in the Biella area and abroad, and for knitting and weaving yarns dealers as well; they specialized in animal fibres like wool and cashmere, mixed with other materials such as silk, viscose and noble fibres like vicuña, yak and others. These are extremely fine yarns with an average yarn number between 21 and 22,000 Nm, ranging from 10,000 to 36,0000 Nm in production. Dorama is located in an industrial area near Biella. Its structure reflects a classic linear layout of machines and processing sequence. The first station is the warehouse in the basement, where raw materials supplied by customers are stored waiting to be converted. The upper floor hosts the blending and wetting stations, carding machines, spinning machines, finally the spraying and winding station. For us to be able to deliver a top quality product we divided the space and the machines based upon the fibre shade: one half of the factory processes medium to dark colours, the other half processes white yarns with a production line specifically assigned to very light colours. «We work on five different stations that open and blend fibres – Guido Giardino Roch explains – while those processing black and blue shades are exactly on the opposite side of those loaded with white fibres only. We process variants in the middle, to avoid any ‘contamination’, while ensuring customers pure shades». Dorama employs about 46 people; its sales range from 3.5 to 3.6 million Euro per year. Total output is approximately 700,000 kilograms of yarns.
Flexibility is a Must
Like many other textile firms, its problems are linked to the market, more than to technical difficulties. «I began working in the company with my father in 1981 – the owner tells us – and I am here since then. On one hand, in the last decade margins have been shrinking continuously; in fact, against processing costs unchanged for a lot of years, manpower and management costs soared. As soon as the price level and the cost level meet or overtake one another our firms as many other similar ones in the textile supply chain will no longer exist. Businesses are not charitable institutions; when a product sector is nonperforming, you have to leave it. On the other hand, we have to face a strong seasonal influence, due to variable fashion trends dictated by
designers». In the last few years, because of so quick changes, from January through June the company is submerged with purchase orders and runs to the full swing with shifts covering 24 hours five days a week (sometime even on Saturdays). Then, in the last months of the year, we have almost no purchase orders and our management costs grow higher than our yield. «We are no longer so safe as we used to be in the past – Giardino Roch adds – an erratic market influences the whole supply chain».
The Cultural Background
As mentioned above, the company’s wide experience goes back to a few past generations and offers a very good observation field to study the sector over time. «Why did the economic system get into financial straits? – Dorama CEO wonders – For one, let us consider a fact: in the 80’s, assuming 100 as a base value of sales, profit was 30; today, 3 is already a lot. Our supply chain was able to survive thanks to top quality, which is a mix of premium materials, imagination and excellent processing. Just to give an example, so far nobody has been able to copy the finishing, the “hand” of a fabric we can obtain in the Biella area. The necessary expertise goes beyond what one can learn; the cultural environment, the way of life, and the way we intend work are basic ingredients. I have been a consultant for some foreign textile mills in emerging countries; on basic, low price processes, they have no competitors; however, on top quality we can still play a leading role. For sure, in Europe, the “made in” fight counts powerful enemies; they are those who relinquished the manufacturing business to convert to service and commerce. However, meanwhile we resist and try to make a wider audience aware of the quality and uniqueness of Italian and Biella made products».
A Distinguished Story
Finally, there is another point one has to take into consideration, which goes through the yarn and influences the final product: commitment and passion are part of the process. «My father Ezio began to work in the textile industry when he was 14 –Guido Giardino Roch recalls – and, as many others at that time, he had to “steal” the essence of the job from much more skilled colleagues. Learning and trying hard he invented and patented some smaller machines that improved a spinning unit management, making him well known among field experts. Later on, in his mature years he became the closest aid of many industrialists, until he got the opportunity to establish his own company together with another family of entrepreneurs from the Biella area, who still owe 50% of the property. His ethics was very strict, work was his religion and he fully committed to it until he was 86; he continued to study how to improve the processes and to invest. His story is not so different from number of others in this area. In my opinion, this makes the difference when you get to the end client».
by Debora Ferrero