WHERE THE SHOW NEVER STOPS

Colombia 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

Teaming up with Europe's strongest brands is not merely an important internal diversification strategy, but a means of ensuring Colombian clients continue to get the best from around the world.

Camilo Isaza Díaz

Why is the company attractive for international suppliers who are interested in the Colombian market?
For FIZA, the most important thing is service. The service department is our most flexible because there are many variables when speaking in terms of services for the client in our sector. We do not want to block their processes. When a customer buys a machine from FIZA, they need us to offer support. They buy production equipment, and when it stops for a few hours, customers lose large sums of money, which creates a bad image for end users. They are the ones who deliver the tracks, asphalt, or crushing equipment. At FIZA, we instill a culture of service in such a way that even sales increase due to our readiness. We do not talk about equipment but applications. FIZA is recognized for providing solutions with technology to customers in their applications. The sale of equipment results from the number of conversations. Everything we do comes from a service perspective. That is how we have maintained a loyal customer base for more than 30 years. Customer support is the central axis of our business. We advise the client in the purchase and use of a device. We try to have simple processes that allow us to make quick decisions and accompany our clients as much as possible.

How has your partnership with the Ammann Group strengthened your growth expectations, and what value does it add to FIZA?
We aim to be the market leaders with Ammann in asphalt plants. Although we have worked together for a short time, we already have more than 90% of the Colombian market. We placed about seven asphalt plants in 2019. Some of these are in the most important concessions in the country and others are with smaller builders but with important projects. Within the relationship between FIZA and Ammann, we add value with market knowledge, strong customer relationships, and unique know-how in terms of infrastructure technology nationwide. Ammann is also the world leader in asphalt plants and is opening 650 plants per year. The closest competitor opens just 200 per year. Ammann has well-mounted infrastructure to market continuous and discontinuous asphalt plants of any size globally.

How has the distribution of Wacker Neuson diversified your portfolio in infrastructure machinery, compaction plates, water pumps, power plants, and loaders?
We have always sold large machinery. Wacker Neuson is the leader in Europe and is assuming a leading position worldwide. We are attracted by the niche market of light and compact equipment. Like other brands, this equipment saves large sums of money and is of an excellent quality. It aligns with the philosophy of FIZA. For us, it is a pleasure to be able to bear the name of the brand. In addition, it is an important player in our internal diversification strategy.

In 2019, road construction and public and civil projects grew 8.5%. How does this affect the role of FIZA in the development of the sector?
Each of the 4G concessions have equipment sold by FIZA. In total, the company has placed more than 1,200 machines. We contribute to these contractors by giving them technology and different applications for the equipment we have commercialized. There is recycling equipment with different technologies, for example, and asphalt plants using 30% recycled materials, not to mention the crushing equipment that works with electric diesel. Customers seek our assistance to help them solve the problems they encounter in their buildings on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, the Odebrecht issue has slowed cash flow. Banks are not lending much to the construction sector for fear of problems with corruption. This has slowed down sales slightly, but so far in 2020, we have achieved interesting numbers.

Colombia has 16 bilateral agreements. How does this contribute to FIZA's future associations for the growth of the local market?
We are looking toward the future. All the companies we work with are also thinking about the issue of energy management. Wacker Neuson already manufactures light and compact electrical equipment such as electric charges that have never been seen before. President Duque's goals for 2022 for clean energy also have a great deal to do with foreign trade. Tariffs and taxes can help companies project themselves and create the market for clean energy.

FIZA has a great role in the development of 4G and tertiary roads. How has the relationship between the government and FIZA evolved, and how does it relate to your impact in the country?
President Duque's administration seeks innovative solutions to solve problems such as tertiary roads. We are in constant communication with government entities focused on roads to provide good solutions. These consider the construction methods and maintenance of tertiary roads in the long term, making them sustainable projects over time.
What is FIZA's role in renewable energy?
Our role is viable. All the asphalt plants we have put in have a recycling system. We take the milled asphalt and introduce it again into what we have in the plant. We can offer plants with up to 100% recycling. This will significantly help us preserve the raw materials or stone aggregates from mountains and rivers. In the end, we will see savings in material consumption and the reuse of materials we have on the road. We also offer a shredder that recycles debris. There are interesting projects in Colombia that reuse up to 80% of materials to generate brick blocks, not to mention the crusher, which is important for granulometry. Regarding energy, all automotive manufacturers are betting on fully electric means, and machinery cannot be left behind. Diesel and diesel engines have a different pollutant grade than other regular or benzine fuel engines, which is why switching to electricity can be better for the environment.