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"Market with color culture"

Thanks to the growth of the automotive fleet, the Ecuadorian automotive paint industry is projected positively in the coming years and seeks to remain in the first places in the Andean region in terms of mechanical dyeing.

by Natalia Ospina Vélez

Colombian by birth but Ecuadorian by profession. This is Luis Fernando Puerta Murillo, executive president of Pinturas Cóndor, an Ecuadorian paint company with around 60 years of experience in the market.

With 25 years of work in the paint industry, Puerta has dedicated 17 of them to this South American company. There, he served as technical manager, general manager, operations manager and since January of this year is the executive chairman of the company.

- Publicidad -

Qualified as a disciplined, committed and persistent man, Luis Fernando highlights as significant achievements of his career within Pinturas Cóndor the implementation of ISO 9001 and 14001, as well as OHSAS 18001. The latter relates to occupational health and safety management systems.

Prophet in another country

Studying and working in his native Colombia was not enough for this industrialist. Ecuador proposed  new challenges and efforts that he decided to face and led him to gain the space he has today within the painting market of that country.

Being the first general manager and executive president of Pinturas Cóndor outside the family that owns the company, shows that Puerta is a successful prophet in a country outside his own. However, this show of confidence has also been synonymous with demands and great work responsibilities.

The implementation of a remuneration model, the merger of three companies into one, the reengineering of Expocolor, (marketing chain of Pinturas Cóndor), the implementation of a chain of franchises, plus the creation of a paint company for the economic sector of the market, according to Puerta, the challenges that Ecuador and Pinturas Cóndor have posed to him, the same ones from which he has managed to get ahead.

"Believe in people and their potential, believe that it is possible to achieve what you propose in addition to permanent training in tools for business and personal excellence.", was what Luis Fernando said when talking about the key to his professional success in the industry of the South American country.

Leader in the Andean region

- Publicidad -

"A market with color culture," Puerta referred to the Ecuadorian painting industry for being in the first places in terms of mechanical dyeing. "In both decorative and automotive, the averages of color dyeing systems are the highest in  the Andean region," he said.

In that sense, Luis Fernando added that the automotive paints market also has significant growth projections, thanks to the increase in the automotive fleet during the last years. This situation is part of the increase that since 1999 has registered the market of paints in that Andean country.

"All this is also reflected in the high quality standards that the local market offers to the consumer, products sometimes overdesigned for basic requirements," explained Puerta.

However, given this positive outlook, high oil costs have affected the value of raw materials, raising their prices. On the other hand, foreign investments have also undermined its participation in the industry because, according to Puerta, the legal-political instability that the country has been experiencing for 10 years has wreaked havoc on relations with international suppliers.

The slowness in customs procedures also takes its part in this situation, as well as the tax and environmental controls in the country. "Having the paints 85% of raw materials imported, this customs situation forces on the one hand to have high inventories and on the other raises the costs, which in most cases is reflected in the final price of the products.", argued the industrialist.

Higher quality at lower cost

- Publicidad -

Competitiveness and permanence, quality and costs, are terms that in  any industry, in this case the paintmaker, never seem to be separated. Surviving in the production and sales chain implies playing smart with prices and betting on technological training.

"Markets accustomed to high quality standards do not forgive that the performance of the product is less than expected. Quality in our market is a non-negotiable attribute, however, it must be offered according to the economic trends of the markets. It is necessary to deliver quality at low cost," Said Puerta.

In the same way, he referred to technological training as a constant directly related to quality, because this is how more "friendly" products are created with low VOC and less heavy metals, to mention just a few characteristics. "In this way, companies will be able to align themselves with the social responsibility that is becoming a market requirement today," he added.

Technological backwardness is costly

There is no doubt that investing in technology and training is an investment that requires money, however, the experience of 25 years in the sector has taught this professional that the delay in technologies can be expensive with the passage of time.

However, to make companies in the sector more productive, Puerta does not hesitate to emphasize quality management systems to ensure cleaner production and greater added value to products. "Modern quality management systems ensure that technological updating and quality standards can be presented as added value in the markets," he explained.

Finally, Puerta adds that the success of companies also depends on the effectiveness of logistics and distribution. "You have to arrive on time and complete,  it is also necessary to meet the requirements of primary and final customers," he concluded.

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