Remote work, exchange rate changes, logistical limitations, new customer needs. The current economic scenario, aggravated by the health crisis, has represented a historic challenge for companies. Standing out in such a competitive market is quite a test for companies – but some manage to stand out despite the setbacks.

For a company like Manuchar, of Belgian origin and which has been operating in Brazil for 27 years, there is one more fact to be added to this complex moment. Positioned as a strategic part of the supply chain and specialized in distribution, logistics and trading of chemicals, the company serves a dozen sectors:

• Raw materials for hygiene and cleaning;
• Textile and tanning industry;
• Raw materials for the glass industry;
• Water treatment industry;
• Raw materials for the manufacture of paper and cellulose;
• Steel and oil and gas sector with supply of chemicals and mining reagents;
• Agricultural division with the supply of fertilizers and pesticides;
• Ingredients and additives for baking, confectionery, meat processing and beverage manufacturing;
• Chemical products for coatings and the construction industry;
• Personal care and cosmetics.

Ensuring the supply of such different sectors is a complex operation. But, even with the pandemic, the Brazilian subsidiary – one of the three largest operations of the entire company – remains expanding, says Renata Agualuza, CEO of Manuchar Brazil.

As it works with basic sectors, explains the CEO, there was no significant drop in the demand for chemical products. Some segments were more exposed to the crisis triggered by the new coronavirus pandemic, such as textiles. But the expansion of other areas, such as cleaning products and paper and cellulose, which benefited from exports, paid off.

It took agility and creativity to transmit security to customers in such an unusual period. The sales team reinforced the message that there would be no risk of shortages thanks to the stock stored in Brazil. The situation stabilized so quickly that Renata decided to expand the business. Since April, the number of orders has increased and this year Manuchar should be close to the expected growth before the pandemic begins.

To meet this increased demand, the company now has another outsourced distribution center in Salvador, which added to the new Santa Catarina distribution center, opened in 2019, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and three others in Pernambuco, in addition to headquarters, in the capital of Rio de Janeiro, and six other business offices.

Much of this reaction, even at such a sui generis moment, comes from the fact that Manuchar has an internal policy of valuing employees.

– The key to this result even in a year like 2020 was not having done an overnight job. We always think about how to go beyond the mission that is in people’s minds. Therefore, our attitude as a company is to be excellent not only for shareholders or external customers, with good results and quality in the service and product we offer, but also for the internal customer – says the CEO of Manuchar Brazil.

In 2020, Manuchar emerged for the second consecutive year among the best companies to work for in Rio de Janeiro, according to the Great Place to Work (GPTW). The certification confirms that the Belgian multinational not only applies itself to offering products and services of excellence, but also in valuing professionals. In 2019, the first year in which it participated in the award, in addition to the 10th position in the Rio de Janeiro ranking, the multinational was still among the 150 best in the national category.

With the arrival of the pandemic, this closeness to employees increased. The company invested in policies to keep people close, with improved communication channels, even with remote work.

– We also try to support the leaders to work on self-knowledge and give more feedback to the teams. We do not pursue certifications, but we want to have an environment where employees feel listened to and cared for ”, argues Renata.

According to the CEO of Manuchar, the company has achieved great engagement from its employees thanks to this valuation policy.

– They are treated not as numbers, but as unique people. The result is that they feel they are an important part of the process and responsible for the success of Manuchar.