Written by: America Barcelo Feldmans, reporter
Translation by: Rafael Tablado
Produced by: Jose Gustavo Diaz, Operations Director (Energy) at WDM Group
Ramon Hernando Wilches Cuervo is the CFO for C.I. Metal Comercio. He has been involved with the industry sector for a long time, mainly in management, supporting business departments and taking care of legal matters. This marks his foray into the recycling business, and he expresses gratitude for being part of Colombia's growing recycling and waste management industry, as his is one of the world's leading sustainable countries.
"Colombia's industry sector ranks number one worldwide in recycling. This is a very interesting process in our country. We stand out in this activity. Our nation's president is constantly in contact with powerful countries with the purpose of attracting clients here," he said.
Wilches majored in Communications, specializing in the social development, logistics and strategy areas. During his career, Wilches has served as a consultant for growing businesses and has managed successful, innovative industrial projects.
Corporate Social Responsibility
C.I. Metal Comercio has created profitable and community-related projects in an effort to clean their environment and develop other companies' interest in environmental protection. One of the measures implemented by C.I. Metal Comercio is cost reduction in the acquisition of raw material.
Social responsibility does not affect businesses exclusively, but also communities in surrounding areas that become affected by any environmental changes.
"The recycling industry is able to provide oxygen for the whole planet; the materials we look for --as well as garbage and junk-- can be transformed; this action is able to help cleanse our environment," says Wilches.
C.I. Metal Comercio is part of an elite group of only 200 companies in Colombia allowed to sport the "C.I." abbreviation ('comercializacion internacional'), standing for "international business trade," which means they have special tax considerations for export and operations.
The company's main role is the collection of ferrous and non-ferrous material to be compacted and/or placed in containers for export. All this scrap is sold to domestic businesses within the industrial trade to become transformed into products that require this waste as their main element, thus supplying large multinational corporations worldwide. Different sectors such as construction, food and the pharmaceutical industry benefit from materials supplied by C.I. Metal Comercio.
Copper is one of the most important materials the company supplies, since the IT industry relies heavily in this metal for manufacturing purposes (computers, tablets, mobile devices and other electronic gadgets), obtaining a cleaner product after recycling.
"We are unique among Colombian companies: our processes are quite simple and have a positive impact on the environment," says Wilches.
Expansion in Latin America
Being among the top five companies of their trade within Latin America does not stop C.I. Metal Comercio from continuous growth. The company has presence in the Colombian cities of Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Bucaramanga, Medellin, Cali and Bogota, which are strategic locations for business purposes.
Aside from taking care of every single accomplishment achieved during their 30-year tenure, the company is open to new business and growth opportunities within their trade, C.I. Metal Comercio projects growing abroad onto Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela during 2015.
"We want to have presence in the environmental industrial sector in the entire continent," says Wilches.
The company introduced industrial and occupational safety and health programs to train employees, decreasing the risk of labor-related accidents. As a way to show appreciation for the staff, the company offers excellent growth, training and educational opportunities, as well as offering proper insurance and health plans. The front office is thankful to the human team's loyalty to the company.
"We work with specialized advisors to provide our employees of a professional, safe environment to accomplish their work," says Wilches.
Technology: Resource for Productivity
C.I. Metal Comercio keeps at the cutting-edge of software and technology; their process automation systems have been a very valuable factor for receiving ISO 9000, ISO 9001 and ISO 14000 certifying.
"Constant updating has provided growth and improvement among the company's dynamics, easing our expansion process. We are planning future investments on machinery, so we become able to offer even more materials to product manufacturers," says Wilches.
Supply Chain of Growth
The company's suppliers have played a crucial role for C.I. Metal Comercio's expansion, based on business relationships established in 12 countries throughout the years.
"We rely on our partners for growth, receiving support from a worldwide corporation such as Merck has been essential to our development. We nurture our relations with every single partner and supplier," says Wilches.
During the next five years, the company will continue pursuing new projects within the sector as well as following through with expansion plans. They make up 70 percent of their domestic market, and after nationwide consolidation, C.I. Metal Comercio is expanding to the rest of Latin America.
"Our projects envision our market's expansion worldwide," says Wilches.