Having already reached its annual target for 2011 after the first semester, Máquinas Condor S.A, Brazil’s leading manufacturer of on- and off-loading and transport equipment, knew it was back on track. After a period of strategic redefinition, the corporate decisions were a success. “In the past we had always specialized in loading equipment for sea and river ports, but four years ago we included transport machinery in our product line – and so began offering all-round loading solutions to our clients,” begins Company Director Martin Wehr.
Incorporating transport conveyor belts and elevators has not only lifted sales and satisfied the high expectations of Máquinas Condor’s restructuring, which was motivated by an urge to increase the leader’s competitive edge. The new products have taken over from loading equipment as the company’s top sellers, and are responsible for approximately 70 percent of total annual revenue. The remaining 30 percent derives from the original on- and off-loading machinery used for ships and trains.
“The conveyor belts that we manufacture have even become our flagship product,” explains Wehr. The belts are resistant and durable, suitable for use with heavier loads such as fertilizer and are fitted with environmentally friendly dust and waste collecting devices.
INVESTING IN GROWTH
Developing the machinery and taking the steps toward executing the company’s new strategy have been the object of investment for Condor. As well as redirecting funds towards the factory, personnel and training are also a priority. “Human Resources are an important focus for us, especially in this phase of re-establishing our position in the market,” Wehr confirms. Engineers and IT technicians have been instrumental in the changes and successfully made the company more competitive.
The strategy translates into a healthy average of 20 percent annual growth over the last three years. “Exact figures from year to year depend on a number of factors such as the harvest and cost of grains,” says Wehr. Leading the Brazilian market in the specific industries in which it operates, Máquinas Condor has no plans to reduce investment, considering the potential of exploiting future sales in the north of Brazil and Latin America (commercial areas not yet covered by the company).
“Our strongest market is in the south of the country (thanks to the location of the factory) – in particular in the ports of Santos and Paranagá,” Wehr says. However, Máquinas Condor also operates in cargo train loading stations. The privatized and limited rail network in Brazil is used almost exclusively to transport goods to the ports and to their destinations around the country.
A HISTORY OF TRADITION
Máquinas Condor’s enviable position is not only due to recent changes: Wehr acknowledges that the present success is also thanks to the “reliability, tradition and history of the Condor brand.” He is referring to the 52 years of experience that the company has in the industry. In fact, when Máquinas Condor was founded in 1959 by Ferdinand Kisslinger, who had recently migrated from Germany to southern Brazil, it began developing and manufacturing grain mills. That business grew into the manufacture of grain silos and with this handling of bulk solids, it was a natural progression for him to expand his activities into port machinery to move goods between port and ship.
Recently, Máquinas Condor signed a contract with mining giant Vale in Araguarí, replacing the company’s traditional supplier and gaining increased market share and visibility. A loading project in Santos, São Paulo with the sugar producer Cosan has also brought the Condor brand further into the spotlight.
Wehr describes Brazil’s current economic climate as “hungry for logistics solutions,” which has inevitably helped the company to maintain its position. Despite the advantageous economy, the business is not without its obstacles. Licensing and tax restrictions in Brazil can slow down production and affect planning. Máquinas Condor is also subject to the harvest of grains and the fluctuating price of commodities. Such influences are carefully considered by the company’s strategy which emphasizes the importance of delivery times to the client.
While just a few years ago Máquinas Condor’s outlook for the future was somewhat complicated, the company is now exceeding its own expectations and potential product and market development is high. Re-planning operations and investing in the manufacture of conveyor belts and elevators for use in loading and unloading ships and trains have proven to be so successful that the company has excelled in new fields.
“We continue to value the same priorities; customer satisfaction, timely delivery of technology and an unbeatable commitment to our clients,” concludes Wehr. As more and more rely on Máquinas Condor, the company is rising to meet expectations and raising goods and standards for the industry.