HEAVY MACHINERY

Colombia 2018 | INDUSTRY | B2B

Growth in mining and infrastructure looks set to spur sales and support for machinery.

Eduardo Aguero
EDUARDO AGUERO
General Manager
Komatsu Colombia
Juan José Rodríguez Retana
JUAN JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ RETANA
General Manager
Wacker Neuson Colombia

Could you give us an overview of the company?

Eduardo Aguero Komatsu will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2021. It is a multinational group present on every continent. Today, we have almost 300 companies worldwide, with the entire integration of manufacturing, distribution, retail sales, and wholesale sales. In Latin America, Komatsu has established five of its own companies in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Panama, and Mexico. We also have 21 distributors in Latin America, with nearly 57,000 employees around the world. Latin America accounts for 15-18% of the income for Komatsu and is a key part of the future of the company due to the importance of the mining sector. 2017 was a great year when business started to grow.

Juan José Rodríguez Retana Wacker Neuson has had a presence in Colombia since 1985, but decided in around 2012 or 2013 to open more offices in Latin America as part of the group's wider expansion. Until 2015, its only offices in the Americas were in the US, Mexico, Chile, and Brazil, all of which had been open for more than 30 years. In 2015, we decided to open new offices in Colombia and Peru. The group wanted to be closer to the business and market and be able to support its distribution network face-to-face. We are the only company in Colombia, and in the world, that has such a broad portfolio of products.

How important are your Colombian operations?

EA Financially, Colombia accounts for 12% of the total income generated by our operators in Latin America. On the logistics side, Colombia is ranked 70th, while Panama is number one in Latin America, followed by Chile. There is a great deal of space to grow in Colombia. This is a major opportunity for Komatsu because it needs to build roads and everything else. Today, Colombia is perhaps one of the countries with the most potential to grow.

JJRR Colombia has a great potential for investment, projects, and development. The company started in Colombia at a time when the economy was contracting, which has had a negative impact. However, there is also a bright side: since every project has been delayed, this has allowed us to have a better internal organization and promote the brand. The real secret is that Colombia is ripe for a number of large projects.

Who do you work with in terms of partners and distributors?

EA In terms of products, we have an alliance with Powerscreen and BOMAG. Komatsu has everything related to excavators and dozers, among others. We are able to provide customers a one-stop shop where they will have everything in terms of high-quality products and the best after-sales support. We also have an alliance on the mining side with Cummins Engines. The major difference between Komatsu and our competitors is that Komatsu and Cummins are the only companies in Colombia that are directly involved in the business. We do not use private distributors, and this ensures customers receive the best support.

JJRR At the moment, our job is simply to import and place products into the country, support dealer sales, local strategy, and training; the distributors are in charge of merchandising. In some cases, we sell our machinery directly to specific clients. In Colombia, Wacker Neuson is made up only of 12 people, which means we cannot cover such an extensive area. That is why distributors are a key for us, because they are our workforce and our key partners. In every country, but specifically in Colombia, we are strengthening the distribution network to allow us to cover more key segments as part of a defined strategy created by the group.

What are your targets for 2018?

EA We will invest a large amount of money in a workshop in Barranquilla, and our main focus will be to consolidate the needed infrastructure to support customers. Moreover, career paths for our employees are also important at Komatsu. In 2018, we aim to have a sustainable company that can lead, from service sales to support sales. We can have positive numbers without selling any machine just by supporting the machines that are running.

JJRR Regardless of the result of the election, we have to keep strengthening the brand in the country. No matter what happens, we need to keep promoting and establishing a presence and be part of what is happening in the market. We want to see our machinery operating on the streets and in projects and need to achieve our economic aims by expanding our participation in different sectors of the market.