The instability with the raw material is the greatest concern of the workers, since it leads to failures in the production flow and, therefore, interruptions and affectation of wages.

Photo: Ventura de Jesús García/Granma

The Sanitary Products Company (Prosa) is not going through a good time, and the result, in effect, is the shortage of toilet paper in the network of stores throughout the country.

It can also be measured by the insufficient delivery of this product to tourism entities, undoubtedly its most important client.

The circumstance that strikes the entity is manifested in plain sight.

Upon reaching the place where it is located, on the outskirts of the city of Cardenense, a calm is evident that is not usual in this type of industry when the machines are working.

"We are almost stopped," an old worker announces to us at the entrance to the factory.

But, despite the pressure imposed by instability with the acquisition of raw materials, they are not sitting idle.

Manolo González García, general manager of the Company, spoke in those terms.

"We are trying to get out of this uncomfortable situation, here we are not giving up"

The year 2023 is more encouraging

The only one of its kind in Cuba and with the responsibility of substituting imports, Prosa is a mixed company of sanitary products

dedicated to the production of napkins, facial tissues, minijumbos, towels and toilet paper, aimed at covering all the country's demand.

González García specified that the company specializes in the manufacture and marketing of different ranges of tissue paper for sale to the market in MLC and entities in the tourism sector.

In 2022, they barely managed to produce some 16 million rolls of toilet paper for sale in CUP, well below what was planned.

The Raw Materials Company was able to cover the demand in only 2,000 tons of scrap paper, a very insufficient amount to manufacture the 55 million rolls of ecological paper provided for in the plan.

Given the limitations with the national raw material and the lack of financing to import the required volumes, managers and workers cling to more than one initiative to produce toilet paper for tourism and the population this year.

After the arrival of a volume of raw material to produce the so-called luxury paper, in the first quarter of this year they will cover the needs of tourism and distribute small quantities for sale in MLC, explained González García.

At the same time, he pointed out, there are guarantees of a certain amount of national raw material to make some four million rolls of ecological paper in these initial months of 2023.

He insisted that the ideal solution is to have the financing to import the raw material that the company requires.

Importing the finished product will always be more expensive than making it here, he clarified.

Greater visuality is good for Prose

In April 2019, as part of a government visit to the province, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Party and President of the Republic, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, toured the areas of this factory and urged them to continue specifying the productive chain. with various sectors, and to develop social communication, essential for visuality and market positioning.

The president insisted on the need for a chain from the acquisition of raw materials and transportation, to the output of the product;

that would allow the supply of the different shops and tourism facilities.

Referring to these observations, González García specified that the factory reinforced its linkage with the Raw Materials Recovery Company and other economic actors that support the transportation of the product and guarantee, from the adequate material for packaging, to a mechanical plant for repair of equipment and machinery.

Regarding the communication strategy in order to achieve visibility, they created a website and promote the sale of the product online, a project that is still in its infancy, he specified.

Regarding Prosa 2, the investment project that guarantees the future of the plant, he commented that once completed, it will extend the production capacity to more than 20,000 tons per year of the entire range of tissue paper, without the need to import the semi-finished product.

too much delay

The young engineer Leslie Reyes Álvarez is a key person at Prosa.

She is the Logistics Manager, a responsibility that requires extensive experience.

It is not her case.

He admits that he spends a lot of time "behind the raw material." after bringing the product to the plant.

"The truth is that today the market is short of toilet paper, and that forces us to run after the raw material, which most of the time arrives too late, which puts us against the clock to somehow comply with our customers .

"Many times the delay is even from the shipping companies themselves, because this semi-finished product comes from very distant places, and that entails making quite a few transfers until arriving at Mariel.

"From there to Prosa is also another link that is still important, and that sometimes fails. As an alternative, we bet on the transfer of the product by train; a cheaper way that, however, does not always go well"

At the time of the interview, they had been waiting for more than 15 days for five "bottled" containers in Jovellanos, due to problems with the locomotive.

"That delay hinders our commitments with clients," he explains.

He maintained that, in response to these problems with rail transport, they would look for an option to guarantee the transfer of another 19 containers.

Strategies that do not convince 

What happens in the area where the napkins are made serves to illustrate the commitment of the more than 200 Prosa workers and their willingness to make the most of their time.

The instability with the raw material is what makes people's hair stand on end, since that implies failures in the production flow and production stops;

and, therefore, interruptions and affectation to the salary, says Norberto Castellanos, head of the workshop.

"National is not collected and we don't import either," he said.

For the rest, there is not the slightest problem here and there is a good work environment, he noted, after observing that he has been in the company for more than 15 years and started as a simple worker.

What both he and David Magaña, Pablo Cabeza and Noel Domínguez, plant operators, do not understand is that "financing does not appear for us and, nevertheless, there are entities that import the finished product, which is much more expensive than if they bought it from Prosa", commented the experienced worker.

Reflecting on this issue, Manolo González García, the director, insisted that it is healthy to understand that Prosa's raison d'être is to substitute imports into the country.

It will always be cheaper to make it here, he figured out.

He stressed that, when a certain entity buys a container of finished products, the Cardenense factory is able to acquire a semi-finished one, for a much lower price, and with profits for all.

"These strategies should be better valued and reversed for the good of the country"

(Taken from Granma)