The turn now for the Professional of the Month is for Central America and the Caribbean. For them, we highlight the trajectory of Héctor Gramajo, manager of the company Copebase of Guatemala.
by Duván Chaverra Agudelo
An experience of 35 years within the coatings industry says a lot about the outstanding trajectory of Héctor Arnoldo Gramajo Roldán, a 60-year-old Guatemalan, who currently serves as the manager of Copebase, a company specialized in the manufacture of coatings, both for wood and architectural and automotive, and of which he is also a partner.
"I have 41 years working in the Guatemalan industry, 35 in the area of coatings. my first work experience was for the Guatemalan flour industry (Gold Meda - for three years), later I worked 24 years in Celco de Guatemala; the first six years in the financial area and 18 as general manager. In 2001 I made the transition and adventure to entrepreneur, partnering with Mr. Víctor Manuel Miranda de León, who had founded the company Copebase in 1987. I also participate in the different chambers of Guatemala: the Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber of Industry and the Association of Managers of Guatemala," said the guest.
The Professional of the Month stands out as his most significant achievement to have successfully ventured into a market that years ago was monopolized by few entrepreneurs and to have opened a gap with the necessary conditions for other professionals to develop in this industry. Currently, Héctor is also the president of the Guatemalan paint guild, which is attached to the Guatemalan Chamber of Industry.
In addition, among its goals is to integrate its successors, children and grandchildren, into the family business: "So that they contribute their knowledge according to their time and that Copebase transcends time", a company that hopes that in a short time it will be positioned at least as the second most important coatings manufacturer in Guatemala.
Family and hobbies
It is worth knowing a little more about the personal side of Héctor, who has a family nucleus made up of twelve people: "My wife Ana del Carmen, my eldest daughter Ana Lisseth, my second son Héctor Alejandro, who collaborates with me in the company as operations manager; my youngest daughter Ana Isabel, my grandchildren Sharon, Sebastián, Rodrigo, Santiago and Natalia, and my sons-in-law Mónica and Jorge."
As for hobbies and hobbies, he told us that he likes to practice chess, a sport that he compares to his daily life. "Among my hobbies is Chess, a game in which much of the teaching of life is put into practice: patience, strategies, decision making and common sense, which can be perfectly transferred to any company. I also like football, although I practice it very little. I am a fan of F.C. Barcelona, a team that I believe has managed to develop a philosophy different from that of its opponents."
Of his personal characteristics, the Professional of the Month is described as a person who likes his way of being and who feels blessed by everything he has lived.
"What I like most about my way of being is that I am a selfless person, that I always have my feet on the ground and that I like to help other people, within what my possibilities allow me; I am very practical and realistic and as someone said: 'I don't worry about how little I need, but I enjoy how much I have'. I have had many blessings in my life: my family, health, work and a company through which I can help other families and that is a legacy for my children and future generations," said the manager of Copebase.
Guatemala is a country with a strong market for paints and coatings in terms of production and it is expected that in the coming years this business will transcend borders. "Most of the production of paints and coatings in Guatemala is consumed internally, there are few companies that currently export and do so to the Central American area, however, Guatemala is geographically well located and there is a great potential for export, mainly to southern Mexico and to other countries with which free trade agreements have already been signed. I believe that there are good growth prospects in the paint industry, both in the local market and in exports, since the necessary conditions are being given so that investors have legal and fiscal certainty to invest in our country, "explained the businessman.
To compete in the international market, our Professional of the Month is very clear that in addition to the marketing of the products, it is essential to offer other additional services in the products to differentiate themselves from other companies. "We generate added value with ingenuity and looking for cutting-edge technologies that allow us to improve the characteristics of the products, without altering their cost much, since in our markets, unfortunately, the mentality is price and when considerable improvements are made to the products, manufacturers must absorb all or part of those improvements. There is no doubt that always the continuous improvement of the service that is given to the client will be fundamental and is an added value that is very appreciated by all".
In the development of the paintings, Héctor Gramajo highlights some errors in the manufacture and formulation of the same that means great losses for the guild. "From a technical point of view, the most common failures in the manufacture and formulation of paints are related to the balance of the wetting of the system based on the number of loads and their oil absorption. This results in the paints increasing their thixotropy, gelling, lack of resistance to rain, washing of the surfactant in the rain, as well as breaks and surface problems in the dry film."
In contrast to these common mistakes, Guatemala's paint industry is also linked to the general concern of international companies to develop more environmentally friendly products.
"Development and research is inclined to the strong reduction of VOC in any kind of painting. The current environmental problem, as well as the norms and laws that are emerging, makes it inclined to the development of more environmentally friendly technologies. The use of green raw materials such as emulsions, water-based polymers, pigments without lead or chromium, non-mercurial fungicides, and the use of biodegradable additives, are the new fields of research in terms of coatings, whether architectural, for wood, automotive and even industrial, "explained the guest.
Finally, our Professional of the Month highlighted the keys that have allowed him to remain competitive and stand out as one of the most outstanding entrepreneurs in the paints and coatings sector in Guatemala:
- Be clear about the vision that we have drawn as a company.
- The financial restructuring of a company is very important, since the trust that suppliers place in it depends on this and thus obtain competitive advantages.
- The human element is another factor that affects considerably and that is why in Copebase we have a maximum turnover of personnel of 1% per year, which is quite low and that allows our staff to be stable and feel identified with the company, generating many benefits.
- Continuous improvement or innovation is fundamental in this globalized market where we see that technology grows exponentially and we must be at the forefront.