CASTELLÓ. The company Talleres Cortés, founded in 1951 by Juan Bautista Cortés Prades and specialized in machinery and ceramic molds, today employs 35 workers at its headquarters located in the town of l’Alcora, plus 14 at its plant in Peru, which serves much of the American market. Today this family business is in the hands of its third generation, with Juan José and Emilio at the head of a business that is a benchmark in the sector and that has made their long experience, closeness, professional zeal and daily work their main visiting card.
In its imposing headquarters in l’Alcora, of 4,000 square meters built on a plot of 10,000, Talleres Cortés still exudes that family character that permeated its founder and his three children – Vicente , Juan and Carmen – and whose legacy today is managed by the children of the first two -Emilio and Juan-. They took the reins of this business to accredit them as one of the longest-lived family businesses in the province of Castellón.
Juan José – Juanjo – and Emilio grew up, like everyone else in the Cortés family, in the family home they had above the workshop, which was then located in the heart of the city. The three houses were, in this way, the home of the three sons of the founder and, from a young age, our protagonists knew the day-to-day of the business. Raised on the sound of machines, milling machines, the dry blow of hammer blows, they became like those bells that mark the passage of time …
-Tell me, what are the most significant milestones in the long history of Talleres Cortés…
Juan José Cortés.- The most important thing that has happened to us in all this time has been to be able to remain open and work as we are currently doing [laughs] . It is an achievement, without a doubt. And I say this because we will have done something well when we got here after 70 years, working as we have been doing, with a staff like the one we have, with a consolidated workforce … it is true that getting here is an achievement, within reach few, but we would not have achieved it if we had not worked day to day as we have done. It should be noted that this year has been a great year and we can say that we are facing the best in our history.
Emilio Cortés.- I would stay with the pioneering character of our predecessors and an important value that characterizes the company, which has been the interest in constant improvement and the experience that we have contributed to the sector. We have managed to consolidate a great team of professionals who are the ones who help a company to move forward, grow and overcome all the obstacles that come up along the way. There are branches such as engineering, mechanics … that you can find with relative ease, but in tooling there are usually shortcomings. It is here where we have reaped great achievements, in forming good teams. In this case, I would not speak of milestones, but of a permanent philosophy in continuing with that entrepreneurial nature and interest in providing solutions at all times throughout these years.
-What markets do you work in?
EC- We work mainly in the national market, although we also have an international presence. It must be said that the export is concentrated in Peru, in the plant that we have there and that serves all of South America, mainly Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, among many other countries. From here we serve the national demand. It is true that you have usually ordered from Turkey, Morocco, etc. … keep in mind that we have been exporting for 25 years and, for example, we already served the Maghreb area … but today we are very focused on the national market, which is very active and where we are known very well.
-How have you seen the evolution of the sector over this time?
JJ C .- If the ceramic sector has evolved and created new needs, we have always tried to provide solutions. We have always gone hand in hand with those clients who have needed us at any time. In other words, to new technical challenges, we have provided technical solutions and investments. It is a process of constant improvement.
EC- It’s like that. And as an example we have this last year with the pandemic. We have made the largest investment in our history in machinery as a result of the needs that were posed to us, due to the inertia that our clients marked us. Here the secret is none other than trying to meet those needs that we are obliged to satisfy and we have always shown that we like to contribute positively. If my clients are committed to growing and they ask me… I have to be there, together with them, whether in large or small format. What we cannot do is tell them what to do based on the machines one has. That doesn’t work like that.
JJC- In addition, we have always opted for prudence in the face of what may come; sometimes things come rolled, but other times they get complicated. We work with the necessary prudence that must be exercised to confront any contingency with guarantees; but always being hand in hand with our clients. Growing up is fine, but maintaining and securing your position is the greatest success.
-What can you tell me are the aspects that differentiate the products and services of Talleres Cortés from the rest of the market?
EC- The 70-year guarantee is an important guarantee, but that is not enough if you do not have a good product, which is highly specialized; Service, personalized assistance is also very important… we really don’t have to explain to our clients what we do and who we are because they know us perfectly. This relationship of years, of many years, is our main business card and new clients come because they know that we offer them all the guarantees and that service and personalized attention that, to a large extent, has a lot to do with a relationship that combines very well the professional and personal aspect. This is a key factor.
JJC- Indeed, Emilio has explained it. And yes, our great strength can be service. Because, otherwise, those who do not have a good product or experience today are simply not in the market.
-Do you keep customers for life? Are you expanding your portfolio?
EC- Indeed, the same clients with whom we have been working for many years remain. And, fortunately, new ones are being added to these. We have clients from several decades ago and they are still there with us. I reiterate that our great value is the highly personalized service we offer, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And that is key since our clients may need us at any time and we have to be ready to serve them. What happen? Well, in the end, what is created is a relationship of friendship, of full trust, between customers and our technicians. This is something we place great value on.
-How have you been throughout this pandemic? Has it upset you a lot on the operational level and in the balance sheet?
JJC- Well, the truth is that it has only affected us in those two weeks of total closure, as it affected us all. For the rest, we have worked normally.
EC- It was practically possible to invoice the same as a year before, about 6 million euros of which 1.2 million correspond to exports. Throughout the period of 2020 we had moments of decreases, but they were compensated with other increases. The last quarter was very good and everything started to go up there. For the rest, it should be noted that with the personal effort of each of the employees we have managed to have a very low incidence of the virus in the company.
-They have talked about the training and how much Talleres Cortés has contributed to the sector in this area…
EC- You have to train the professionals yourself. In so many years that we have been at this, we have tried everything. What has been best for us is to bet on the technicians you have, the forms continuously and the result is evident.
JJC- At this time we have incorporated very young kids, 16 years old even who have found a job opportunity in this profession. We always talk about the figure of the apprentice, which is key for this type of company.
EC- In Talleres Cortés there has always been the possibility of learning a profession and in the end those who join one day become very good professionals in this sector. We have been, I assure you, a true training academy. There is much talk about this dual education and we believe that it is a very interesting factor since, on the one hand, it gives young people the opportunity to achieve a professional career and, on the other hand, over time, staff companies qualified, as has been happening in our company.
-What is designscortes.com ?
EC- Well, it is the first online store where you can purchase designs for ceramic molds. Through designscortes.com a wide catalog of services with exclusive designs is offered, through which you can make purchases and receive orders. We have our own design department to offer the best solutions and, in the same way, streamline the design and manufacturing processes.