Restless, persistent and very professional. This is Antonio Frances, Director of Sales for Colcar Products. Chameleonic and with a broad capacity for teamwork, he directs the company’s sales strategy. Establishes commercial actions and evaluates strengths, paying special attention to areas of improvement. His characteristic empathy is faithfully reflected in the “pampering” he professes to our clients, identifying their needs and providing them with real and efficient solutions. In this interview, Mr Frances reveals very interesting aspects about Colcar Products and offers us a reflection on the evolution of the market for hot melt or heat-resistant adhesives.
Productos Colcar is a family own business, when and how did the idea of starting the company come up?
In the mid of 1950s and at the height of the paper and bookbinding industry, owner Mr Francisco Remolà, had the vision of contributing his vision to the industry, developing adhesives for gluing papers and cardboard. Great success, because years later we have become one of the leading suppliers of hot melt adhesives for the bookbinding sector!
What is your activity based on?
We are specialized in manufacturing hot melt adhesives. We offer tailor-made products, as our R + D + i department spends 80% of its time thinking and developing new formulas, adapting existing ones and testing the new technologies that are proliferating.
What type of products are manufactured on the premises?
We manufacture a wide range of hot melts which, in our jargon, are known as EVA, PSA, APAO and METALOCENES base. We serve very disparate industries, such as printing industry, bookbinding, labeling, food, parcel or e-commerce.
Our activity is complemented with the supply of glues to soft foam sector (mattresses and sofas), timber industry … In fact, we provide effective solutions for different sectors of activity.
How does techniques and raw materials used to manufacture glues influence on the quality of final product?
It is very important to use high quality raw materials, as this lengthens application equipment´s life, avoids extra costs derived from production stoppages and facilitates a continuous work flow. But not only that, the use of high quality materials also helps to minimize the amount of adhesive used.
“It is very important to use high quality raw materials, as this lengthens application equipment´s life”
How does Productos Colcar affect the high level of demands on the final price of the products?
At Productos Colcar we continually work to be more efficient. Although it is true that using high quality raw materials is more expensive than using lower quality ones, we are convinced that reducing the quality to obtain a cheaper product is not a good idea. In fact, we strongly believe that higher quality and efficiency will reduce costs in the long term.
What are the strengths of Productos Colcar offer compared to that of the competition?
We have always believed that our flexibility in manufacturing tailored made hot melt adhesives to our customers needs is an added value that is highly valued by them.
However, we all know that maintaining same references and qualities for years without them experiencing variations is very complicated. We are achieving it and, 70 years later since founding Productos Colcar, we offer our clients the same or even higher quality of our products, as we are incorporating the advances of the market.
“Our flexibility in manufacturing tailored made hot melt adhesives to our customers needs is an added value that is highly valued by them”
Since hoy landed in this very specific sector, what trends have you observed in the evolution of the market in the world, in general, and in our country, in particular?
I have to say that most marked trend in general terms is the increase at demanding for high quality on adhesives. Better hot melt adhesives, endowed with fantastic innovations, are increasingly demanded. For instance, a few years ago, hot melt adhesives were brown and now they show a light yellow hue, turning to transparent white, in many cases.
Which countries do you export hot melt adhesives to? What is your final destination?
In short time, at Productos Colcar we have gone from being a 100% national company to exporting more than 30% of our production. We currently market our adhesives in more than 30 countries, including Spain, Portugal, France, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Costa Rica, Cuba, Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and South Africa. In addition, we have established contacts with new distributors to export to Germany, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, USA, Canada and Mexico.
Regarding their fate, I have to say that it is very diverse. As I have indicated previously, our clients apply these hot melt glues for areas as diverse as labeling of water bottles or to seal the boxes of Amazon, going through sofas, mattresses, caps of premium alcoholic beverages or, even, for labels and packaging of perfumes.
Taking into account current reality of hot melt adhesives market, affected by shortage of polymers, how do you see the evolution in short-medium term?
At present, we are experiencing difficult times. Polymer shortage that has been plaguing our country for several months affects more than 3,000 Spanish companies. Faced with this reality, Productos Colcar has not been alien and continues to work to comply with the supply chain, maintaining high qualities and effectiveness of our hot melt adhesives.
At this time, most complicated matter is uncertainty, because nobody knows for sure what will happen in short-medium term at the markets. If we speak of a logical evolution, normal situation would be that markets trend to stabilize and consumption to decrease, which would have repercussions in a decrease in prices.
Do you plan to open any other business line?
Yes. We are always thinking to grow our position in the world of hot melt adhesives. We have recently introduced a new line of adhesives for gluing wood edges and we are working to add another line for personal hygiene. We also have long-term projects in mind, but I prefer not to reveal them just yet.
“Recently, we have implemented a new line of adhesives for gluing wooden edges and we are working to add another line for personal hygiene”
What future plans do you see at Productos Colcar?
Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow, but our future plans are to continue growing steadily, with our maxim of offering only high-quality adhesives. This will allow us to continue competing with the world’s leading hot melt manufacturers and satisfy our customers with effective and tailored made solutions.
As Stanley Rapp said: “It is not enough to satisfy customers, now you have to leave them delighted!”.