Volume 14 | Issue 1 | Year 2011

Brazil’s Mecan was founded in the state of Minas Gerais in1978 as one of the first companies in the Grupo Orguel empire. Orguel is a vast network of companies that acts with the mission of fostering business development by always stimulating innovation and best managerial practices, thus ensuring sustained growth. “Today,” explains Sergio Guerra, the group’s CEO, “Orguel is comprised of 10 companies, eight of which focus on the construction industry.” The two remaining companies are involved in financial operations for Orguel’s clients and suppliers, and in construction itself.
Mecan is considered the group’s ‘industrial arm’. Brazil’s largest manufacturer and rental supplier of cargo elevators, scaffolding, and shoring supports, Mecan provides a range of services that also includes the sale, rental, and servicing of multidirectional cable lifts, saws, wood flooring, and seamless steel tubes and pipe clamps. “The Mecan difference is that we manufacture our own parts to be used in large-scale equipment, which we then sell or rent out, depending on our clients’ needs,” says Guerra. “Our technology is always at the forefront, and we are a vertical industry, producing everything including our own tubing systems.”

Mecan is headquartered just fifteen miles outside of the city of Belo Horizante, an area booming in industry, in the state of Minas Gerais. The company’s premises measure 550,000 square meters, with a constructed area of 20,000 square meters, and include a variety of production centers, distribution warehouses, and corporate offices. Mecan has always prided itself in utilizing cutting-edge technology, and consistently invests in the upkeep and rejuvenation of its vast array of machinery. The company consistently seeks improvement in all of its processes, and actively participates in both domestic as well as international construction fairs to keep up to date.

In addition, Mecan maintains nine branches and a team of representatives throughout Brazil and Latin America, and now exports worldwide. The company has changed the game for Brazilian construction suppliers, by producing its own steel pipes as well as becoming the first Brazilian company to use robotic cells in the pipe welding process.

As one of Grupo Orguel’s oldest and most established companies, Mecan runs its day-to-day operations based on the Group’s founding principles of ensuring the health and safety of its employees, valuing every team member, and being a responsible and generous social force and environmentally-conscious corporate citizen. Mecan’s products, as well as its vast array of services, are certified by the world’s most regarded standards of quality control.

Grupo Orguel was originally founded in 1963 as one company by brothers Fabio and Francisco Guerra Lages in Brazil’s mineral-rich state of Minas Gerais. Civil construction was booming in the area, and the brothers were quick to realize that Minas Gerais itself was severely lacking companies that specialized in manufacturing equipment for the industry. They named the company after their own name: Orguel, short for Organizacao Guerra Lages, and began to sell electric tools and construction machinery, in addition to supplying industry with specialized technical assistance.

In 1976, the brothers decided to create a second company in order to widen their product line, and to grow Orguel into a group. This new company would then split into two. “In 1978,” says Guerra, “Mecan split off and began to operate as its own company within the group.” The mission behind Mecan from its founding was to supply the residential and commercial construction sectors, as well as the oil and gas industries, with scaffolding, elevators, and shoring systems.

Grupo Orguel did not stop with Mecan. With the growth and further diversification of industry in Brazil, new demands gave rise to new ideas for the brothers and their ever-expanding empire. In 1977 they opened Locguel, a company that became a pioneer rental equipment provider. Companies that once struggled to purchase their own equipment now caught on to the easier trend of renting it for certain needs, and Locquel was instrumental in promoting the prevalence of this practice. Today, Locguel is based out of Belo Horizante, and stands as the country’s largest equipment rental company. Not only does it supply companies with equipment rentals, but it has trained a team of specialized consultants whose job it is to interface with customers, offering advice and technical solutions to make sure the equipment fits the job at hand.

Locguel’s success was only the starting point, and Grupo Orguel went on to found 8 other companies: Locbras, Bramex, Multiclean, Orguel Factoring, Construir Empreendimentos, Mecan Entrepose, O2, and Orguel Plataformas. “We have managed to strategically grow ten highly successful companies,” explains Guerra.

48 years after its founding, Grupo Orguel maintains its headquarters in Belo Horizante, and has established a strong presence nation-wide, with 70 branches and representatives and 1,900 employees spread throughout Brazil’s major cities and industrial areas, as well as other locations throughout Latin America.

Mecan is well-known in Brazil and beyond for its line of scaffolding, which begins with front-side scaffolding that is specifically designed to allow workers at various heights free and safe access to the work area, with applications for painting and cleaning, as well as building maintenance. Additional scaffolding varieties include tubular models that ensure strength, durability and safety, motorized suspended scaffolding that allows easy, economical and safe access to building facades, highly versatile multidirectional scaffolding, and tubing clamps made from galvanized steel pipes that enable fast and safe connections.

Moving beyond scaffolding, Mecan’s product lines include a variety of specialized cargo elevators. With highly customized selections of cable lifts, rack and pinion lifts, Mecan supplies construction and maintenance companies all over Latin America with customized solutions in the transport and lift of freight, equipment, and workers.

When it comes to shoring equipment, Mecan has raised the bar in terms of easy, durable, and economical solutions, including modular, lightweight towers, integrated systems with rapid set-up and breakdown.

Mecan also supplies businesses with economic, functional and lightweight ladder systems, steel tubes and systems, wood saws for the construction and logging sectors, and saws for concrete and asphalt.

Mecan strives not only to supply businesses in Brazil and beyond with the latest in cost-effective equipment, but also to offer a range of services designed to help the client with every stage of their production process. Mecan’s branches and affiliates are strategically located nation-wide to best serve its clients with a team of highly trained professionals that are at clients’ disposal to provide guidance and support on sales, servicing, and leasing of equipment and parts.

Mecan has been consistently awarded for its forward-thinking and client-first approach to business. In 2010, the company won the Pini Award in the Metallic Shoring category, having lead Brazil as the largest supplier of work elevators for eight consecutive years. For the past 16 years, this award has honored Brazil’s leaders in construction and architecture and helped to define the new levels Brazilian industry has reached. The award is highly sought-after among companies at every level of industry. Mecan took first place in the work elevator category, with 26.62 percent of the vote. In the Metallic Shoring category, Mecan took second place, with 8.63 percent of the vote.

Mecan has made a distinct effort in recent years to expand its search for new markets and new modes of communication, and in doing so has strove to make each one of its clients, new and old, a truly valued partner in the process.

Every year, Mecan works to expand the number of representatives the company works with throughout Brazil and abroad. In recent years, the company focused on establishing representation in the regions of Rodonia and Acre, two regions in Brazil’s southeast that the company can now access with more agility and ease in spite of their distance from Mecan’s headquarters.

Since its founding over 30 years ago, Mecan has raised the bar in corporate ethics, with a strong focus on social and environmental sustainability. With projects focused on environmental clean-up, philanthropy, and local community involvement, Mecan has lead Grupo Orguel in changing the game of corporate responsibility.

To this end, Mecan invests in the ‘Mecan CRAS’ initiative (CRAS standing for a ‘commitment to society and the environment’.) The initiative’s mission is to ‘discuss, evaluate, support, and enact the realization of social and environmental actions that benefit the public, both local and far-reaching, prioritizing quality of life, personal growth, and participation in volunteerism.’ The initiative’s vision is founded on becoming the reference point in the formation of a community that values volunteerism and expects corporate entities to play a large role in philanthropy and community service.

‘Programa Altere – Alternativa de Renda’ (rental alternatives) is one of the initiative’s main projects. Altere offers periodic professional courses in various areas for spouses and children of Mecan employees. Many of the courses focus on helping youth prepare for their first jobs, and helping adults to find new areas of professional advancement. Since its formation, the program has already trained close to 200 adolescents and over 200 adults.

Mecan’s ‘Programa Cre Ser’ (a play on the phrase ‘to grow’) is a program that was created with an aim to provide underprivileged youth with opportunities for healthy personal growth. The project focuses on the areas of sports, recreation, education, and professional education.

The final program in Mecan’s many social initiatives is ‘Programa Educar’ (education program), founded in 2005. The program was founded with the purpose of providing Mecan’s employees with incentives to return to school and finish their studies through Telecurso 2000. The program works in collaboration with a local university, and offers classes right on the Mecan premises, making it easy and attainable for employees with full-time work schedules to attend classes.

With an eye to environmental sustainability, Mecan created ‘Programa Coleta Seletiva’, which is built on the premise that finding creative uses for material waste is equally as important as the control of excessive trash generation. To this end, the program works not only to reduce the amount of waste it creates, but also to look for new and creative ways to recycle and reuse material.

“Our stakeholders drive the sector, and therefore they are the ones who determine the decisions behind our operations,” says Guerra. Mecan has made it company philosophy to always respond to stakeholder trends and demands, and to position itself to be one step ahead of the game. From the start, Mecan defined stakeholders as the guiding force behind the company. This has been important not only for the growth of the company, but in the growth of industry in Minas Gerais. Mecan management strives to always act with transparency and respect in its corporate relationships and production processes. Strong relationships built on trust remain one of the company’s keys to success.

With 48 years of experience, Grupo Orguel has risen to the forefront of industry in Brazil and beyond. While still specializing in manufacturing, selling and renting equipment primarily for the civil and commercial construction sectors, the group still seeks to fill new niches in the every-changing field. Grupo Orguel is looking ahead to a future that is filled with the values of respect, responsibility, valuing people for their commitment and performance, and continual corporate evolution at every level. With 11 companies and unprecedented growth rates, the group has only begun. Mecan, as the group’s ‘industrial arm’, will continue to lead the way.

By continuing to listen to the various needs of its stakeholders and to always respond with customized, cost-effective, userfriendly equipment and solutions, Mecan stands out as the name to know in the Brazilian construction industry.

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