The glass group consisting of three Colombian companies is quickly becoming one of the best glass companies in America. The group which includes Alutions, Energia Solar-ES Windows and Tecnoglass is one of the few Colombian companies that doesn’t seem affected by the turmoil in the world economy. In fact, this glass group is enjoying good growth and even expanding operations. Jose Manuel who leads Energia Solar-ES Windows believes strong national and international investment have led to this historic growth in sales and exports.
A big catalyst for this business surge was the approval of the Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. When this agreement was ratified, many of the barriers impacting trade disappeared. This should increase Colombia’s economic growth as more companies beginning expanding and planning to trade with the U.S. market. For the glass group, the FTA brings incredible opportunities. Their products received approval for the Buy American initiative which means the group can now bid on U.S. government contracts.
The group is expanding operations and recently made their U.S. based in southern Florida. This provides them access to the U.S. market where their glass products are receiving acclaim. The group began with Energia Solar-ES Windows in 1984. Tecnoglass became part of the group in 1994 and Alutions joined in 2007. The group’s leaders made a brilliant decision to locate their manufacturing plants in Barranquilla, Colombia. Choosing a site in the city’s northern port, the group was set to begin expanding their operations into the U.S. as soon as the FTA was approved.
The group manufactures quality products and specializes in new glass and glass transformation. They also produce impact resistant glass, including glass which can withstand a long-range missile hit or the forces of a Category six hurricane.
The growth of the group’s business can also be contributed to Barranquilla’s enlightened attitude about new companies and industrial developments.
Over time, Barranquilla has grown into a bustling port city. Along with one of Colombia’s lowest costs of living, the city also boasts a vibrant and diverse workforce.
The city’s willingness to host new industrial developments and new businesses is a major factor in this growth. Christian Daes, the head of Tecnoglass attributes the changed attitudes to the city’s new leadership. Over the last several administrations, the city’s leadership invested in a wide range of public services, including the ports, roads, and transportation infrastructure. This makes Barranquilla an attractive option when companies are looking for a new site.
Along with these upgrades, Barranquilla has also benefited from the FTA approval. As trade opportunities increase, this port city is a natural choice for manufacturing and industrial businesses. The glass group wants the world to recognize Barranquilla as the center of the world’s glass manufacturing.
There is no other glass company anywhere in the world with the manufacturing facility and capacity of the glass group. Their factory has all the latest technology and is equipped with everything necessary to efficiently produce the best quality glass anywhere. Their goal is to beat market prices in every production line.
A Focus On The Group
When the Colombian glass market collapsed in the mid-1990s, the group was forced to seek external markets. They considered their best option to be expansion into the American market, however, they faced challenges. American companies had several bad experiences with other Colombian companies and were leery of engaging with the group. The group had to overcome these negative perceptions if they were ever going to make inroads into the American market. The group leadership knew they had a great product, but even so, they wanted to prove the quality to the U.S. companies. To do this, they implemented stringent quality controls and improved the efficiency of their manufacturing and logistics processes. These changes worked and soon the American market extended a warm welcome.
The quality of the group’s products is so high that they were awarded recognition as a Buy American program. This achievement is not only proof of the quality of their product, but the company can now bid on U.S. government contracts.
As the group has expanded into the American market, others are taking note. The sector’s trade magazines have written articles about the company’s success and in 2011, Glass Magazine listed the group as one of the top six glass fabricators in the world.