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Carlos Eduardo Nicolopulos Arcay: Imports do not affect the market

By Natalia Ospina Vélez

"Paint companies need to understand that a gallon of paint is actually sold, right at the moment it is applied by the end user." In this way, Carlos Eduardo Nicolópulos Arcay, general manager of the Corimon Pinturas C.A. group, a Venezuelan corporation specialized in the production of paints, defines the success of the industry.

With 13 years in the coatings sector in his country, Nicolópulos speaks with certainty of the high consumption of paints in Venezuela when compared to other Latin American countries, even taking into account the import processes of raw materials for the production of paints, among them monomers and silicones.

"The largest portion of market demand is met with products made in Venezuela. However, international import and export transactions are recorded, although in none of the cases does foreign trade represent a determining portion," he says.

- Publicidad -

With the responsibility of managing a company like Corimon, this young man speaks of the industry of his country with the experience of a veteran, strength that combines with passion as a differentiating factor between the good and the extraordinary.

In addition, he is a continuous promoter of multidisciplinary discussions, the route he considers most direct to achieve success. Knowing his vision of the paints market, the reality of this industry in Venezuela and his own experience within the sector, motivated us to ask several questions to this executive.

What are the greatest achievements made in your work?

During the last two years, I have led an aggressive investment plan with the aim of automating critical areas of the operation, thus increasing the installed capacity and granting greater flexibility in the areas of production and distribution. These investments have allowed us to support double-digit year-on-year real growth for both years.

What challenges have you had to face in your work?

The main challenge I have faced has been to assume my responsibility as general manager of this company since 2005 and to lead an exceptional group of professionals who support my management. Additionally, it has been equally challenging to keep this team properly coordinated, adapting the strategies nimbly according to the changing conditions, which we could say, are presented daily in my country.

Venezuelan Market
What reading do you make of the Venezuelan painting market?

- Publicidad -

Our market is very interesting, due to the high consumption per inhabitant that we have compared to other countries of the región.Es the Venezuelan, the tradition of taking care of himself, as well as taking care of his home and renewing it year after year, mainly in the holiday season to enjoy the holidays with a good face. I could say that at that time, in any Venezuelan home you can safely find four fundamental factors: the hallacas (typical food), the gifts of the Child Jesus, the premieres (new clothes to show off in those days) and freshly painted walls.

Thus, the Venezuelan market has a high seasonality, which means that 50% of sales are registered in the quarter between the months of October to December, which represents only 25% of the time.

What are the difficulties facing paint companies today in Venezuela?

Exchange control and restrictions on access to official dollars that facilitate the import of some goods are some of the difficulties faced by paint makers in Venezuela, as well as the significant increase in prices of some raw materials, either due to the high price of oil or the increase in world demand.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of the paint market in Venezuela? How to cope with the disadvantages?

Per capita consumption and the growth outlook for the coming years are the main advantages of the Venezuelan market. The most important disadvantages relate to changes in the legal framework and the overvaluation of the currency, which facilitates the import of products from neighboring countries. Faced with these disadvantages, we are called to maintain an aggressive cost and expense control system, design simpler and more flexible processes, and maintain constant interaction with our customers and consumers.

- Publicidad -

Projecting the industry

What growth prospects does Venezuela's paint sector have for the future? In the paint sector of Venezuela we can foresee, for the coming years, growth between 5% and 7% per year, supported mainly by the housing construction plans that the national government has proposed, as well as the growth in the infrastructure of the oil company (PDVSA) and basic companies.

What do paint companies need to be competitive in the globalized world? In a global world, it is necessary that for a painting company to maintain a profitable and sustained business it has the following conditions:

• Committed human talent.
• Operate with the conviction that you are a global company regardless of its scope, location and size.
• Know, understand and interact with customers, in order to anticipate their needs and be the first to meet them.
• Make things simple.
• Dream big and put a lot of passion for what is done.

Moreover, high oil prices affect productivity in the industry, as some crude oil derivatives are used in the manufacture of paints. This requires that painters must develop strict cost reduction and control programs, more productive processes and cutting-edge formulations, which allow them to maintain their competitiveness despite these realities.

What should paint companies invest in to be more productive?

I believe that companies must invest in human talent, in improving their production processes, in knowing and understanding customers and in transforming the work culture of their staff to guide it towards the satisfaction of the users of their products.

The added value

In addition to sharing his experiences and vision of the Venezuelan market, Carlos talks about some aspects that must be taken into account to give greater added value to the products. It ensures that in addition to satisfying the needs of the user, it is imperative to offer in the product qualities that make the consumer's life easier.

"Some factors to take into account are the segmentation of the market, so that each group of consumers can be provided with a product specially adapted to their needs. It is also important to launch environmentally friendly products and above all, minimize application times, so that the quality of life of users while using the products is affected as little as possible. Finally, we could not ignore under any circumstances, if it is about adding value, provide users with the necessary advice that allows them to ensure that the products purchased are exactly what they really need."

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