The Business Year

Sustainability and quality customer service are two trends gaining momentum among the biggest industry suppliers in Panama.

Fernando L. Miranda O.

CEO, Tambor S.A.

Tambor S.A. is a 65-year-old company that began as a distributor of Bridgestone and Firestone tires in Panama. At present, Tambor S.A. is the exclusive distributor of Hino Trucks as well as Bridgestone, Firestone, and Yokohama tires, all Japanese brands known for excellent quality. In 2013, Tambor redefined its focus from solely a tire service center to a complete preventive and corrective automotive service center for all brands in Panama. This process required sophisticated and robust technical training programs, acquisition of specialized tools and equipment, and synchronized logistics. A modern computer system allowing adjustments based on growth and addition of new products was also implemented. In 2019, we assumed the distribution of Hino trucks and parts. The entry of Hino has been an excellent catalyst for innovation in both commercial and after-sales management. The nine different service centers throughout the country have helped us give specialized mechanical attention to our trucks, the distribution of genuine parts, and actual truck sales. The strengthening of the mobile service operations has been one of the key factors that allowed us to expand our geographical service area and address our customers’ needs.

Juan J. Nuccio

Executive President, Pinturas Aya

The goal of our company is to provide what our customers require. We have an R&D laboratory that develops and solves our customers’ problems, and we renew our products and offers regularly according to those needs. The first paint we developed 45 years ago dried in 30 minutes and could adhere to surfaces without any surface preparation. At present, Pinturas Aya’s fastest-drying product dries in 40 seconds under UV light. It needs no surface preparation, which is why we call it surface tolerant. In addition, our research program is designed to add value to curb the environmental impact and be eco-friendlier. That is the reason we are still relevant in the market and are the leading paint and industrial coating manufacturer in our markets. Technical support is our most important added value. We offer services regarding how to prepare the surface and how to select the right product. Additionally, we have something like an NGO in our company, which is called Entrenamiento y Capacitación de Pintores (ENCAPI). It is like a small university where we teach operators, engineers, and painters about our paint. On top of this, we educate them on how to contaminate less.

Adolfo Icaza

President & General Manager, Adolfo Icaza

It is important to understand the philosophy behind F. Icaza y Cí­a. The people who work for us are our main priority. This makes our company much stronger than others. Second, the company has been able to adapt itself to the times. When it was established in 1865, it was a furniture company that also sold products like flour, medicine, and veterinary products. The company began selling heavy duty equipment in the 1940s and trucks in the 1950s. Hyundai is our newest brand; we started representing it in 1992. We are loyal to the companies we represent, which is how we maintain our business. Our contribution to Panama’s economy has been important because the brands we represent are top of the line, such as Mack Trucks, which is the number-one truck company in the US. Fiat is one of the largest industrial groups in the world, and Hyundai Corporation, which makes construction equipment among many other products, is one of the largest companies in Korea. F. Icaza y Cí­a is supported by the best brands in the world. Moving forward, we would like to increase our presence in the agricultural sector. It is important for future governments to pay attention to it because it forms the backbone of our economy.

Ricardo Zubieta Arias

General Manager, Grupo Tesa

We are planning to increase the presence of all our brands. Yamaha has a very strong presence in the country; but we must increase the service and spare parts business. Like any other business, we must maximize our capabilities and improve on our deficiencies. Our client base is varied. For Yamaha, we have a range that goes from the artisan fishermen through to the luxury sports boats, and everything in between. Obviously, we sell more small engines than large ones, but overall, Yamaha has the biggest market share both in the artisan and sports segments. It’s the same with motorcycles. The client base ranges from motorcycles for work to luxury and racing bikes. We want to focus on the areas in which we are more competitive because it is impossible to be competitive in all sectors. We have enough data to know what our core business lines are, and we want to focus on those. Grupo TESA’s targets are more structural and financial than commercial for 2019. We are really putting a big focus on transforming the company with an emphasis on our employees, creating a sense of urgency and responsibility toward coworkers and customers, and transparency. Those are the three pillars the new TESA is trying to build upon.

Gabriel Branca Gomez

General Manager, PROLAT

Prolat is a manufacturer of tissue products. We convert tissue paper, napkins, and paper towels. On the commercial side we supply cleaning products. Our strategy to strengthen our brands is to maintain our service level. We are also pursuing greater volume sales with current customers and are focused on making a name for ourselves with distributors and major players in banking, retail shopping centers, hospitals, and public-sector institutions. Our portfolio mainly comprises cleaning products for daily use. We create value, for example, by personalizing certain products for distributors. Meanwhile, instead of supporting imports we are trying to support local companies. Considering the technological trends and rise of green products, we are trying to focus on the environment. Therefore, when we buy the materials for tissue, we need to certify it is 100% recycled or comes from a sustainable source, such as bamboo, for example. We have presence in Panama City, Arraijan, Colón, and La Chorrera. One of our key pledges is next-day delivery to mitigate traffic congestion. We cater to the Atlantic coast and the free zone, and also plan to serve David, Chiriquí­, Santiago, and the Azuero Peninsula. We favor gradual organic growth. In fact, we plan to add new divisions over the coming years, such as food services, to diversify the portfolio.

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