Due to a global economy which is uncertain, the leading glass manufacturing business group on Colombia that is made up of Tecnoglass, Energía Solar-ES Windows and Alutions is one of the fortunate few enterprises which have not felt the pressures of the present economic uncertainties. President of Energía Solar-ES Windows, José Manuel Daes stated: “Quite the contrary, we are observing a Colombian economy that is growing and dynamic, with national and foreign investments that are strong. Regardless of the revaluation, our exports and national sales are increasing.”
The approval of the FTA (free trade agreement) which has been long awaited and liberated the trade barriers that existed between the United States and Colombia had been stalled in Washington for over five years. This is a factor which is expected to not only contribute to the growth rate of Columbia’s economy, but also to finally bring some relief on the restraints the company had as far as long-term investments and operations are concerned. José Manuel explains: “Thanks to the free trade agreement, the products we produce are considered to be fit for the `Buy American initiative, this allows for our bidding on all government work.”
Established in 1985, Energía Solar-ES Windows was the first company within the group to enter the market, later on in 1996 Technoglass was set up and Alutions followed in 2007. The glass manufacturing plants were established by the group in Colombia’s northern port of Barranquilla which was strategically located, today it is one of the leading companies in the country that is constantly expanding throughout the United States being as their base is now in the south of Florida.
The company specializes in the manufacturing of glass as well as glass transformation, their wide range of products even include those that are resistant to the impacts of Grade 6 hurricanes as well long-range missiles. In regards to their willingness to host new industrial
Developments and businesses, Barranquilla had radically changed.
As an industrial port city, Barranquilla boasts an active business culture, not only nationally, but also internationally. Connected by sea and air, Barranquilla is not only home to a varied and strong workforce, it also boasts one of the lowest costs if living in Colombia — this is why many companies have chosen to set up there.
President of Tecnoglass, Christian Daes explains: “When it comes to its willingness to host new industrial developments and business, Barranquilla has radically changed. Due to our most recent Mayors, we have been granted full range of public services, this had been one of our greatest weaknesses, there continues to be improvements to our road network, the capacity and services to our ports have also been improved.”
The FTA’s ratification has greatly contributed to changing the face of this city, business are working hard to return their town to the busy hub it once was prior to the political turmoil the country experienced. It is the group’s goal to make Barranquilla the world’s window capital.
José Manuel stated: the only company that is fully integrated and produces windows and facades is in Barranquilla, we have our very own extruded aluminum, two curved tempering fences,two press machines which will soon be three, seven horizontal tempering furnaces, two insulating glass lines, five lamination lines, a screen printing line and much more. Well as have the window and facade manufacturing plant that is the most efficient and offers the best prices on the market.”
The Group in Focus
The Daes brothers reminisce about their first experiences as a group in the North American market, José Manuel says: Due to the fact that in 1995, there was a collapse of the Colombian market, we began looking for external markets, this is how we entered in the United States, however due to the fact that certain local suppliers were of poor quality or did not fulfill their duties, it was hard for them to be convinced that a company from Colombia could meet their demands of time, quality and complete deliveries. This is when we established a strict program if logistics and quality that would make us stand out from our competition.”
The successful expansion of this group across the American market is one that has been acknowledged in the trade publications of this sector. Due to its presence in the United States which is significant, it is found among the top six of “Top Glass Fabricators” in the December 2011 issue of Glass magazine and is the only company on this list with fabrication plants that are not located in the U.S. or Canada.