To form and then to internationalize is the goal of the fully fashioned knitwear manufacturer founded in 1992, now run by the second generation and the third to give letters to the family business.

With 25 years recently, Malhas Ribeiro & Silva, based in Vila Nova de Gaia, employs 35 workers and produces around 6,000 pieces per month. Lion Of Porches, Concreto and Mike Davis are some of the national clients of the knitwear specialist who, with focus on internationalization, want to train their workers first.


According to the director-general, António Ribeiro, the national market is the most representative and, outside Portugal, the company has clients in Germany, Belgium, Ireland and England, at a time when exports represent about 45% of production. «We are in the beginning. It is a beginning that has to be organized.It forces us to prepare the structure from the inside out. I can not go outside without first having the structure with capacity. There are a lot of adjustments we are making internally," explains to Portugal Têxtil.

For this, it will be necessary to "delegate" and "professionalize" the company, he admits. "Before we had that system of" we have to do everything ". Then much is lost on the way. Not now, we have begun to think "there is need for a specific person in this work another in that", he says. The main training of workers will be headed by the bosses. "Since we have a very well-qualified company, we have people who are very professional and know how to work. It's these people who give the best training to the employees we have, "he says. António Ribeiro regrets that many people still do training "just to fill in hours and that's not what we want".

Moreover, he feels that there is a "very large gap" in training. "For example, today it is very difficult to have programmers on the market. We have to pick up on kids who leave school, who have never seen a piece of knit, who know nothing and give them training. Valermo us from our suppliers of machines and with them combine and streamline some formations. About 10 years ago, there were kids' shifts that had equivalents of the 12th grade, with 18-month courses and had basics, "he says.


The general director of Malhas Ribeiro & Silva acknowledges that 2016 and 2017 were "atypical, bad years" and the scenario changed this year. "It was a time of breakdown of programmers and people to respond to developments. You have to train people to create a good technician or a good programmer. Sow less, reap less. We've had two complicated years. Last year, the team was already more mature, more cohesive and we managed to sow a different 2018, "he says.

As for turnover, from 2017 to 2018, the company grew more than 25%. "We are talking about a turnover that went from 870 thousand euros to about 1 million and 100 thousand euros," he says.



The company produces quantities between 150 and 300 pieces per model. "They are not the most productive, they give a lot of work. It is easier to work orders of two or three thousand pieces, of course. The process of preparing four or five orders of 10,000 pieces is one thing. To have 10 thousand pieces in orders of 300 are more processes. There is more work, but you can also get more consistency in the company. We have more versatility, more options, "says António Ribeiro.


Malhas Ribeiro & Silva has made investments in new machines, namely for fine games. Increasing production capacity is one of the goals. "To keep the company cohesive we have to get it," he says. In the future, the fully fashioned knitwear company will "continue the work" it is developing "from the inside out, to correct the departments, to prepare them". "Give them the necessary training and make them all professionals. We have good professionals, but we need more. This is a goal. The other is to bet on the fairs, to bet on internationalization. When we have the structure that is capable and well set up, the idea is to choose four or five fairs a year ", concludes the director general.