How would you describe the evolution of PPG Industries over the past year?
It has been a difficult environment in Colombia with low consumer confidence, depressed consumer spending, as well as an industrial contraction; however, we gained market share in all our segments. We consolidated our leadership in the segments that we participate in and have positioned ourselves to make a strong recovery once the market picks up. We took advantage of the slight recovery of Ecuador, making an extremely positive turnaround there. We introduced several new technologies that helped our clients to be more productive and streamlined our supply chain with the localization in Colombia of key products in order to be more responsive and competitive for the needs of the regional market.
What are the main highlights of the business units in the Andean region that PPG manages from Colombia?
In automotive original equipment manufacturing (OEM), we maintained our leading market share and helped our clients become more competitive with the introduction of new technologies. We were able to achieve 100% customer satisfaction and were recognized as the supplier of the year. Protective and marine coatings (PMC) had a difficult year, with many projects put on hold due to the oil crisis and the corruption scandals; nevertheless, we saw certain market share gains in our marine and infrastructure businesses. Automotive repairs experienced one of the most difficult years. Despite a drop of over 50% in car repairs as reported by insurance companies, we grew our presence in collision centers and gained a significant market share in the commercial transportation segment. In terms of the general industrial and packaging businesses, we saw double-digit growth, despite a market contraction. Our proposal for new technologies and value-added services proved to be a strong competitive advantage that our customers value more every day.
What is your current strategy in terms of expansion and increasing market share?
We continue to look for opportunities to grow our distribution channels and increase our local presence in both countries to support those channels.
What is your strategy to maintain high levels of satisfaction in a competitive market?
Our strategy is clear; we do not want to become just an excellent supplier but rather become a strategic partner. We are focused on making our clients more competitive and successful and for that we provide them with the best technology—in many cases tailor-made—for their needs and the best technical service. When required, we support them with investments and provide their organizations with training, and in some cases we even accompany them to support their own customers.
What are your goals and priorities for 2018?
We want to return to a more even and profitable growth across all our segments in Colombia, continue to grow our presence and market share in Peru and Ecuador, and carry on strengthening our organizational capabilities to become the preferred strategic partner for our customers.