“I am convinced that without the support of ULMA Group the future of this cooperative would have been very uncertain.” — ULMA Begira

Ulma Lifting Solutions

“I am convinced that without the support of ULMA Group the future of this cooperative would have been very uncertain.”

Perhaps ULMA Forklift Trucks has been one of the Group Businesses most affected by the crisis over the last years. We wanted to be with its President, Josemari Arozena who offers us his reflections about the current situation of the Business.
“I am convinced that without the support of ULMA Group the future of this cooperative would have been very uncertain.”
Apr 01, 2015

Firstly, Josemari, what is the current situation of the Business? Do you think the worst has passed?

Currently the situation of the Business is better than what we had two and a half years ago, and we look to the future with another perspective.  Two and a half years ago we were in great debt, and we had excessive structure for the volume of business we had.  We had to face an important restructuration and headcount reduction above 30% and we had to adopt austerity measures and restrictions that have allowed us to be where we are now.
Regarding as the whether the worst has passed or not, I think it would be difficult to have a worse situation than what we have had over these past years, if this has meant restrictions from a business viewpoint, closing of branches, reducing projects, etc., socially it meant an enormous sacrifice with a loss of human capital and knowledge that has been difficult to recuperate.  Even though we are now better off than 2 years ago, we cannot lose sight of the horizon, when for 5 years we have been with an NRN [Business Remuneration Level] below 85%, there is still a long way to go and this is a long-distance race.

Do you believe that Group solidarity has been one of the keys to help the cooperative advance? Do you believe that we as a Group are cohesive and committed?

ULMA Group has very important solidarity tools, both social and financial ones.
Without any doubt. I am convinced that without the support of ULMA Group the future of this cooperative would have been very uncertain. The Group has very important solidarity tools, both financial like the reconversion of results or the inter-cooperative loans among others, or social ones like aids for relocations that have been a great help at critical times like the one we are going through.

In your opinion, what do you think are the tools that should be promoted by the cooperatives/Business and the Group for strengthening that implication and commitment?

I believe that emphasis should not be given to one tool or the other, but rather we should make possible that the tools we have are sufficiently flexible to approach unforeseen circumstances like those that have occurred over the past years.  The different tools are designed taking into consideration the environment at that moment, but when there is an exceptional situation they should be sufficiently flexible to be used in another way, we have to be capable of adapting them to the demands at any given time.

Do you believe that the cooperatives are sufficiently agile to react in such a changing environment as the current one? What measures or instruments for improvement could be implemented?

This is a deficiency I see in our organization.  The simple fact of approving a simple regulation at Group level requires a background of consultancy with all Group and Business bodies that can delay taking a decision based on that regulation more than necessary.
Within corporate culture it is very difficult to avoid all the consulting of different bodies, but as there are technical committees in the Group, like that of HR or the financial one, these should be given more authorities.

The last question is the same for all and asks if you believe that ULMA Group as a Group with a social aim, with a Foundation as an instrument, should promote and motivate its social project?

As the Cooperative we are, the social aim should be to always be present and realizing that in the past many things have been done, I believe that in the last years and pushed by the economic situation, the social activity has been left to one side so we can centre on purely business tasks.  The Group social project, as well as being aimed at the collective of the Group itself, should also be reflected in the environment so it returns something.

To finish, your mandate ends in the next assembly, do you have any specific message for the ULMA Forklift Trucks collective after all these years...

My message is that we have managed to change our course but there is still a long way to go and we should maintain the attitude we have shown over these years. We should be more demanding with our work, each one in his/her own field without neglecting the smallest detail, being aware of the deficiencies we have and working in order to achieve the marked objectives.