Today’s economy faces a global crisis, however one company that has not felt the strain of the economic uncertainties is Colombia’s top runner in glass manufacturing, a group of businesses which includes Energia Solar-ES Windows, Tecnoglass and Alutions. In fact they state that their economy is dynamic, strong and boasting national, as well as foreign, investments. José Manuel Daes of Energia Solar-ES Windows, states that in spite of the revaluation, they are seeing an increase in their national sales and exports.
The approval of the free trade agreement (FTA) allows trade between Colombia and the US and was on hold for five years in Washington, it is this liberation in trade that is expected to add to the economic growth rate in Colombia, as well as relieve the restraints companies find themselves under when it comes to long term planning for investments and operations. José Manuel explains that this free trade agreements means products are seen appropriate for the initiative ‘Buy American’.
The first out of the group of businesses to enter the market was Energia Solar-ES Windows in 1984, they were then followed by Technoglass in 1994 and then Alutions in 2007. The group of businesses chose the northern port of Barranquilla, a strategic location, to establish their glass manufacturing plants, today it is one of the leading companies in the country in terms of continuous expansion in the US as a whole, its base now being in the south of Florida.
The group specializes in the manufacture of glass and glass transformation, their products include ones resistant to the affects of Grade 6 hurricanes and long-range missiles.
The willingness to be host to new businesses as well as industrial developments in Barranquilla has seen significant changes.
Barranquilla itself is known for having an active business culture as well as being a port city of industry, it has both air and sea connections, nationally and internationally, has one of the lowest costs of living in the country and offers a diverse and strong workforce – reasons why companies choose this as their set-up location.
Christian Daes, President of Technoglass talked about the significant change in the willingness in Barranquilla to host new businesses and developments. He noted that recent Mayors have facilitated the wide range of public services which the area now has, this had been a major weakness in the past; the road network is undergoing further improvements and the ports have made developments to their services and capacity.
The development of the city is much due to the ratification of the FTA, now businesses are focusing on bringing this town back to the industrial hub it was before the country underwent political turmoil. Making Barranquilla the world’s window capital is a major aim of the group.
José Manuel noted that Barranquilla is the only place that has a completely integrated company for the production of windows, facades, their own extruded aluminium, two (and soon three) press machines, seven horizontal tempering furnaces, two insulating glass lines, five lamination lines, one screen printing line, plus plenty more, not to forget being the top runner in efficiency and price when it comes to the manufacture of windows and facades.
A Look At The Group
The Daes brothers looked back on their initial experience in the market of North America. They state that it was the collapse of the Colombian market in 1995 that prompted them to see look at external markets, bringing them to the US, however with the failure of various local suppliers in terms of duties and quality, giving assurance that a Colombian company could meet quality, time and delivery needs, was difficult. That’s why we set up a strict quality and logistics program, with the focus of establishing ourselves as different from our competitors.
The FTA means that our products are seen as appropriate for the initiative ‘Buy American’, allowing us to place bids for government work.
A Look At José Manuel Daes, The President Of Energia Solar-ES Windows
The success and expansion of the group within the US market is acknowledged in trade publications within the sector. In fact, it has such as strong US presence that is is counted among the top 6 ‘Top Glass Fabricators’ in Glass Magazine (December 2011 issue), in addition it is the sole entry on the list which has its fabrication plants situated outside of Canada or the US.