Indual Mobiliario: a Valencia Success Story
If you like the great outdoors, it’s quite possible that at one time or another you have rested your plate, or your posterior on garden and camping furniture made at a small family business factory located on the industrial estate of Albuixech, just north of Valencia city.
José Sanchez’s father created the company back in the early fifties along with the Crespo and Torres family, when they opened a small workshop in Calle Conde Altea 54 to produce accessories for motorcycles.
As the all powerful motor car took over from the then ever present motorcycle, the company diversified into camping and gardening furniture as well as a few sidelines such as folding student desks and shopping trolleys.
Great oaks grew from those tiny acorns and today the company, now known as Indual, continues to produce high quality products that have earned them a place among European leaders in their market with customers in several European countries such as Holland, Denmark, Italy, Sweden, France, Norway, UK and, where their export success began, in Germany.
In fact CRESPO won again the best camping chair prize with its AL-237 model in May 2013, as decided by the German top mobile home magazines ‘Caravaning’ and ‘Promobil’.
The magazines examined 12 chairs from Crespo and its main competitors (Lafuma, Westfield, Brunner, Bel Sol, Outwell and Easy Camp), paying special attention to comfort, stability, handling, folding, transport, measures and weight.
Another country, Slovenia, joined the list and the beginning of April 2011, demonstrating that not everybody is opting for cheap, shoddy Asian imports, and that quality can still bring in the orders.
The complete assembly process takes place in Albuixech as their forty employees take minutes to create a wide range of furniture using aluminium as the main raw material, imported from Belgium.
Practically all the products are designed thinking of saving space, and will all fold up into a flat pack that would make IKEA envious (did I mention that they also export to Sweden?)
They create beach and camping chairs with various seat heights, ergonomic support and reinforced structures, recliners, sun-beds, parasols, cupboards that fold down into nothingness, and a whole range of accessories such as hanging organisers so that the camper never need be without his pouch of goodies at his side.
Using the trademarks Crespo for outdoor furniture and Valkit for a range of indoor, mostly kitchen furniture, specialising in tables that have hidden extensions with which to keep unwelcome relatives at a safe distance during Christmas dinners, the company has managed to achieve turnovers of on average 5.5 million euros a year and to maintain a workforce of 40 workers at present (although they have employed as many as 120 before the crisis and cheap Asian exports affected the European markets).
Their move abroad coincided with their move to Albuixech after spending 20 years at Tavernes Blanques. Before that they had achieved some small scale sales to countries such as Israel and the Dominican Republic, but it was their visit to the Spoga trade fair in Germany that launched the company’s export drive.
It is also Germany that has granted them a GS certificate of quality, a costly process, but one that demonstrates that their products have passed the test of one of the most demanding countries in the world.
GS stands for Geprüfte Sicherheit (approved safety), and the sticker indicates that a product has been tested and certified for safety according to the “German Equipment Safety Law” by a trustworthy, independent institute.
José Sanchez is quite clearly a man who takes an interest in every aspect of running the company and in the welfare of his workers, and on our visit it became clear that his concern for quality and effort and his intimate knowledge of the workings of the company are in sharp contrast to so many executives with degrees from Harvard who wouldn’t know how to make a cup of tea.