ALWAYS ON THE GO

Colombia 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Juan Camilo Samacá, President of Almaviva, on the company's global reach, the importance of ongoing government infrastructure projects, and creating a diversified offering.

 Juan Camilo Samacá
BIOGRAPHY
Juan Camilo Samacá has been the President of Almaviva since January 2016. He has worked at companies such as Mondelez, Votorantim, SABMiller, and Unilever, where he has held different positions within the supply chain area and has managed operations in Latin America as well as holding regional Latin American and global positions. He holds a degree in industrial engineering as well as computer science engineering from Universidad de Los Andes in Bogotá and a post-graduate degree in logistics management from the Universidad Sergio Arboleda in Bogotá.

How do your international operations complement your local operations?

We have different partnerships with companies around the world that give us the ability to move products and merchandise around the world. We support land, sea, and air shipments; the whole package. We can import products from all over the world, take care of the customs process, move the product from ports to any city within Colombia, manage the warehouse operation, and then handle the distribution to our customer clients both for modern and traditional trade (all channels), all of these giving our customers an integrated view of the operation.

How do government-backed infrastructure projects benefit your business and the logistics sector in general?

The investments will be a huge benefit for us, for the sector overall, and a crucial benefit to Colombia. The government's extensive investment in infrastructure projects will help us achieve our ambitions even more effectively and will expand our capabilities. In the last couple of years, the economy in Colombia has been outstanding and the global economic difficulties have had a minimal impact on Colombian growth. We do not discriminate based on company size; we serve the largest to the smallest companies, so we have tried to develop a custom-fit type of logistic service depending on the client and the sector in which the client operates. Some cities are growing at a faster rate compared to others, but the new infrastructural investments, roads, and ports, for example, are changing the whole landscape and opening up much more opportunities and potential.

What is the scope of your consulting services?

We have a strong and unique consulting service at Almaviva. We do not go to our clients with theoretical analyses or recommendations; we give them solid, practical, on the ground, specific, and in-depth consulting services. We have 76 years of logistics experience and a highly experienced consulting team, which is what we leverage for our clients. We do not want to just execute the logistic operation; we want to optimize the way our customers are leveraging the logistics operation and services. We want to give them a strategy and framework that suits their needs in terms of efficiency, financial and operational results, and, more importantly, their service quality to their customers. This will all have a final benefit on our customers' market growth.

What kind of financial products do you offer and how have they grown and evolved over the last few years?

Our finance products have had huge importance for Almaviva. We are part of the Banco de Bogotá and the Grupo Aval, and we have a huge financial and economical background. For this reason, financial products are a critical part of our business, and we are one of the few logistics companies that offers these unique products in Colombia. We enable our customers to get bank credit by providing them with certificates of deposit for their merchandise. We have different markets, industries, and clients that work with us in Colombia, and we have an outstanding track record in these 76 years of experience.

How is the exchange rate affecting or benefiting Almaviva?

Exchange rates do not affect Almaviva directly, but affects our clients in different ways depending on the industry and sector they operate in. For some industries, the impact is positive, while for others it is negative. The job of Almaviva is to understand our customers by knowing their requirements and needs so we can redesign and operate their logistics operations to make sure they have significant cost and time reductions, which will allow them to counter the impacts of a disadvantageous exchange rate.