Serbian firm equips German doctors in battle against coronavirus

By Olga Rosca

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With business advice from the EBRD and EU, Trendtex is ready to meet growing demand 

As many countries across Europe have found themselves in short supply of medical scrubs during the Covid-19 pandemic, Trendtex, a Serbian-based manufacturer of workwear, is scaling up and re-focusing its production.

Known for making high-quality work clothing for global brands such as Stihl, Karcher, Audi, Mercedes, MAN and Rolex, Trendtex has given itself over entirely to producing medical uniforms and invested in new equipment to manufacture reusable face shields and poncho-type coats.

Of the 3.5 million medical uniforms Trendtex already produces each year, 80 per cent are sold in Germany; Denmark, France, Italy, Poland and Sweden are also among its buyers. With the onset of the coronavirus, the company has been working around the clock to meet the fast-growing demand in the European Union

Not all products were destined for export, however, as thousands of masks have been donated to Serbian hospitals.

Now Trendtex is working to double its production capacity with business advice from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU).

It recently invested in new equipment and a production hall in Prijepolje, Western Serbia. The facility is being re-purposed for the company’s needs with help from a Turkish expert under an EBRD consultancy project funded by the EU.

Emir Inajetovic, the export manager at Trendtex, said: “We are all very enthusiastic about this advisory project as it will provide us with the competitive advantage we need in these challenging times.”

As part of another initiative with the EBRD and EU, Trendtex has introduced an enterprise resource planning system – a digital management system that allows the firm to fine-tune the new production unit, monitor and control work processes, train employees and facilitate the overall technical management of the plant.

Goran Radojevic, Associate for the EBRD’s Advice for Small Business programme, commented: “With funding from the EU and the combination of local and international expert advice, the EBRD is helping Trendtex to improve production efficiency and further its expansion. This has been an excellent opportunity to support a socially-responsible business and the largest local employer in one of the most vulnerable regions of Serbia.”

Founded in 1996 with a just dozen workers, Trendtex today employs over 2,000 people across seven plants in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania.

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