A SPLASH OF COLOR

Panama 2018 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Rogelio O. Olarte, General Manager Panama of Pintuco, on bringing joy to Panamanians, connecting the factory with the commercial environment, and branding for a durable future.

Rogelio O. Olarte
BIOGRAPHY
Rogelio O. Olarte is the General Manager Panama at Pintuco. He is a graduate in industrial engineering at the Technological University of Panama. He has 26 years of sales experience in the paint segment.

How have Pintuco's operations evolved since being acquired by Grupo Kativo in 2012?

Our main task has been the positioning of the brand. In 2012, Pintuco was a new brand in Panama and not well known. The brand got its start 12 years ago, when El Machetazo and Cochez distributed its paint, though its name was not as recognized as other brands in Panama. However, its evolution was well timed because Pintuco was installed in the factory where Panamanian paint had been manufactured for over 40 years, so its presence was deeply rooted in Panama. Painting is synonymous with happiness, change, and joy. We connect with Panamanians through those feelings and the paint factory, which is the only one in the country that is independent of foreign capital. The relationship with employees was crucial, and that was also one of the significant achievements of the company and the management group. We were able to connect the factory with the commercial environment and explained to people involved in marketing and production that there would be a sustained change with a leading company in the South American market. There was a change of brand, though it was the same factory, and we kept the same workers. Pintuco is a multi-Latin company with over 70 years in the Andean market. The group has six Central American companies, led by Panama and Costa Rica, and the brand is well known in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador.

What is the importance of Panama for the group in general?

Panama is the most important country in Central America. Although it has the smallest population in the region, it has a tremendous cultural vocation to paint. Panamanians paint a great deal at the end of the year because they relate it to renewal and joy, so during that season sales are overflowing. On the other hand, Panama combines many trade motor centers where the decorative aspect is relevant. Panama has a large maritime profile, not only because of the Panama Canal but also because of its ports. It also has trains, road infrastructure, the tallest buildings in Central America, commercial centers, and other areas that require large amount of paint that is suitable for decoration at any level, and our products are durable, washable, and anti-fungal.

2017 was a challenging year in many aspects. How many gallons did Pintuco Panama produce?

Approximately 30% of the paint market in Panama moves through Pintuco; of that, 80% of the market is decorative and construction, while the remaining 20% is industrial maintenance, automotive industry, wood and roads, and marine.

What is your competitive value compared to other competitors?

Our competitive value is the factory, people, and long-term relationships we have had with commercial actors. There are factory and production guidelines and a commercial guideline for public relations and negotiations. Also, our portfolio of products covers all segments of the market and allows us to reach competitive prices and quality. We have a robust portfolio.

Where do you see Pintuco in five years?

We expect to be significantly better positioned. We have already gone through the uncertainty stage of managing a brand that is deeply rooted in Panama and bringing a new brand. We expect to recover our leadership position in a competitive market. Pintuco has a vision to adapt to the changes because Panama is constantly evolving. Five years ago, we did not have a subway, but soon we will have a rail system that will connect Panama with all its provinces. Pintuco will play its part as each work needs maintenance.

What is your main objective for 2018?

We want to strengthen the factory through the maintenance of our water treatment plant, industrial safety equipment, and infrastructure renovation. We also want to invest in the factory and in our people with courses and seminars.