Bogotá, Day 3

IMG_3870Day 3, March 9

We’ve got a plan, Corona administration visit. This to be followed up by a visit to the Home Center, and ending with a visit to the Sopó factory.

Wait a sec, we’ve got a change in plan.  Given that we sat in a bus that didn’t move for over an hour, lunch at Home Center was compressed, and the factory tour was cancelled.

Still, the information exchange from both Corona and Falabella were tremendous, and the innovation within Home Center was impressive.  A free evening was also appreciated.

What did your visit with Corona give you today?  What did you learn or appreciate better because of that visit?



27 Responses to “Bogotá, Day 3”

  1. Brittany Rogers Says:

    Hearing from the Corona CEO himself was a very interesting experience. Their venture into finance and credit was really unique and honestly, a little unnerving, considering how big of a concern “privacy” is becoming in the states. At the Home Center, I really like the constructor drive through section. It demonstrated how that business has adapted to the type of clients they serve in two very different ways. Definitely an innovative solution to capture market share and expand their offerings.

  2. Tyler Hjalmquist Says:

    After today, I will never complain about Austin traffic again. It seems that living in a city with 9 Million people can make it difficult to get around sometimes.
    Two executives from Corona and Falabella spent a whole morning with us to tell you about some of their businesses, and I was extremely impressed with some of the steps they have taken in regards to banking and customer information.
    We visited Homecenter (which is like a super Home Depot/Lowes), and toured around the store with headsets. I can only imagine what I would think if I were at my local home depot and saw a tour guide taking a bunch of tourists around the store. Yet, the visit was extremely interesting and gave perspective to how they are using technology to better serve their customers.

  3. Karen Madera Says:

    Hearing both CEOs speak gave read insight into the marketplace in Colombia. Related to Corona/Fallabella ecosystem, it was really interesting to see how there was a bank, a lifestyle store, travel, and other companies under a larger business umbrella. During our quick lunch, what I found interesting was that in the fast food court we were served like at a restaurant. A few of us decided to grab a bite at a Colombian food stand and they brought the food to the table on skillets and wooden boards (just like at the sit down restaurant). That is not something I had ever seen before when it comes to ‘fast’ food. At the Home Center, the most innovative part for me was the drive-through lumber department. It made so much sense to load up the car as you shop, and yet no commercial store here in the US does that.

  4. Destin Whitehurst Says:

    I find it interesting that Corona has its hands in so many different business lines. The team explained the rationale for this, customer data and convenient, but it is difficult to imagine this model working in the US. It goes to show you the influence culture, regulation, and geography can have on a society.
    The visit to Home Center was quite different from what my experience has been in stores like Home Depot or Lowes. No food court there, nor is there as much intuition and care given to providing the best experience to each type of customer.

  5. Laura Szymanski Says:

    I am blown away still by the liberalness of credit information available from an ID in Colombia. I understood the more later in the trip when I attempt to purchase some table linens from Fabella and I’m asked for my ID number (through translator Brittany Rogers of course). Citizens regularly give up this information, which is curious to me. Our society is built around creditworthiness from home ownership, car purchasing, even insurance rates. The lack of concern and care around a Colombian’s credit score makes me wonder if credit is still a newer practice and cash payment is still the primary method of obtaining goods.

  6. hannahsierra2016 Says:

    Ah, the day of Corona. I was surprised to see such modern home transformation opportunities within the Home store. The “Dream” section had photos of children sitting in their newly renovated living room with beautiful wood flooring and all while fumbling on an ipad. Yet, when I took a trip to el bano mid tour, I found myself stranded in a stall begging in spanglish for toilet paper because it was BYOTP. The message for dreamy bathrooms could have started in the store, after all it was an opportunity to demo their…I digress. While in the conference room with Corona’s leadership, I will say it was music to my ears to learn that their smart systems were backed by good ol’ Oracle. This illustrates that the sophisticated shopping database and involuntary credit approval matrix can quickly go live in America as its technical architecture is based on the popular provider, Oracle. Of course, regulations prevent the hits to our credit etc. but the infrastructure is there and elaborate. Side note and worth mentioning as its a cultural takeaway: I also enjoyed Corona’s meeting sandwiches and found the offering to be quite hospitable. The chicken mushroom sandwich ranked high on my list of random Colombia noms.

  7. Ashley C Tisdale Says:

    When we arrived at the World Trade Center Bogota, it validated how important Corona was in Colombia. I was surprised and impressed that the CEO took the time to introduce himself to all of us and inform us about the company. When we did the tour of the Home Center, I enjoyed having the headphones so we could view the facility of the store while an interpreter translated information to us. The drive-thru part of the Home Center made me wonder why we do not incorporate that technique more in the US because sometimes, customers know exactly what they want and it would speed up the process. Based on how Home Center conducts operations, they possess efficient inventory management controls as they hold their inventory within the store. As some stores care more about the aesthetics of the store and do not have their inventory within aisles, Home Center had a different approach.

  8. Curtis Davis Says:

    During our visit to Corona, it was immediately clear that the company’s CEO was passionate about his job. It was very gracious of him to spend so much time with us and to explain the history of Corona. The traffic jam after Corona was unfortunate and kind threw a wrench into our plans for the rest of the day. I think that day was our initial exposure to the fact that things in Colombia do not always go to plan.

  9. Jessica Jozwiak Says:

    This is an interesting post for me as it is the day I went to the Salida Emergencia with Dierdra. The main thing I knew how to say with my rusty Spanish was “Me duelen los ojos”. The hospital ISOS recommended to us in Bogota was clean and modern, and I had a much shorted waiting time than I expected based on my experiences in the United States. An intern and an ophthalmologist examined my eye and even though there was a language barrier (I was told I had a “strange body” in my eye, and envisioned a parasite swimming around), I got the antibiotics I needed and left unscathed. Overall, it was a positive experience considering the circumstances!

  10. David H Chung Says:

    It was honor to meet current CEO of Corona, and I enjoyed the nice food served and the time with presentation of the both CEOs form Corona and Falabella as well. I was impressed to see that one of the major Colombian conglomerate was family owned company. Visit to Home Center was great experience, and it reminded me of Home Depot in the United States. We could learn operating process in the store and operation of automated facilities in replenishment and stock management.

  11. carlisland Says:

    Today I realized that we needed to “go with the flow” while on this trip. Orlando had been talking about how things never go as planned. Today proved that true.

    Our morning meetings went as planned and i felt that everyone enjoyed the meeting with Fallabella. From there we had to improvise as we ended up in traffic for the next 2 hours.

    We spent the afternoon at homecenter and while i found the visit educational the biggest lesson I took from the day is that latin amerricans love futbol.

    After the tour we had time to blow in the food court. I joined a group of folks around the direct TV stand to watch the champions cup game. It was interesting to see that some people had elected to watch the game there rather than at a bar. And it was fun to bond with Colombians over our common love of soccer.

  12. Kyle Gabb Says:

    I found our visit/chat with Falabella and Corona very informative. The biggest take away is how different a big a company is in Latin America vs the USA. Corona is the true definition of a conglomerate with forays into banking, retail, travel agencies, wedding focused services, and more. In the USA, there has been a big push to focus on core businesses and only a few major corporation have many unrelated business units (GE, Google). Corona seems to embrace these various business units and continues to expand its products and services as well as geographically. I greatly appreciated hearing from the VP and CEO about their views on the company, the country’s economy, and political views on the direction of many Latin American countries.

    The daily rain shower and unexpected blocked off traffic jam caused us to alter our game plan for the day, but we became good at going with the flow. I enjoyed seeing the homecenter – again a different layout than you would see in the USA. I was bummed we didn’t get to visit the factory as I’m sure it is a massive, well oiled machine.

  13. Kent Kronenberg Says:

    The amount of access to extremely important business leaders at Corona and Fabella was awesome. They spent two hours chatting with us about their businesses and the problems facing Colombia. Again, family business and the role of business in propping up communities were central to the discussion. The CEO of Corona truly seemed committed to the idea that it was his duty as a business leader to help develop the nation at large. This is something rarely found in corporate America.

    The integration of data at Fabella was really cool and was not in fact ‘scary’ at all. I was very impressed at how advanced some of the technological tools were and it made me feel like things were a bit backwards in the U.S. (privacy concerns aside).

    The mindblowing traffic jam and subsequent downpour changed the days plans, which was unfortunate. I have never been to a proper industrial factory, so I was hoping to check it out. Alas, so is Colombia.

  14. Bryan Benson Says:

    I was extremely surprised to learn that Corona is, for the most part, a family-run business. When talking about a relatively small flower shop like La Gaitana, I wasn’t taken aback by learning it was family run, but a huge multi-national business like Corona? Wow. This was when I really had the realization that family businesses are the norm in Colombia.

    I found the home center to be less innovative than most I guess. I couldn’t shake the feeling that it looked like a Home Depot.

    I left this day appreciating my commute in Austin – on it’s worst day, it’s not near as bad as Bogota.

  15. Yeony Bae Says:

    I really enjoyed talking to CEO of Corona and senior executive of Fabella. It was really cool opportunity to meet high-impact people in Colombian economy and learn about his view of business environment, labor conditions, and other social issues of Colombia. I thought Colombia is somewhat similar with Korea, in terms of that many businesses which are central in national economy are rooted from family business. Korea has gone through a lot of changes and some pains changing economic structure from family-oriented private business to more publicly available business. We still have a lot of problems, and I am very curious how these business leaders will transform the Colombian economy in next several decades.

  16. Ivo Fink Says:

    In my opinion, our time at Corona administration was the most remarkable company visit during our entire trip. First, it was impressive to see how both the CEO of Corona and the General Manager of Banco Falabella devoted their precious time to meet with us students for more than two hours. Besides that, both Corona and Grupo Falabella are family owned companies and thus represent brilliant examples for typical Latin American firms, which are often characterized by a conglomerate structure. As far as the Corona Homecenter/ Constructor is concerned, it was definitely an eye opener for me to see how a home improvement goods retailer can cater to B2B as well as B2C customers in one common facility, which stands in sharp contract to the US where one can see a much more clear cut separation between B2B and B2C channels. After our store visit we went on to a Falabella department store in a nearby shopping mall. Given the fact that prices in most of these stores were roughly the same as in the US, it quickly became clear to me that only few Colombians can afford to shop at such upscale stores, since overall wage levels in the country are much lower than in the US.
    Unfortunately, we got stuck in Bogotá traffic in between so that our plans had to be adjusted and we couldn’t visit the Sopá plant in the end, yet I must say that it was still an impressive day!

  17. Ibk Ol Says:

    The Corona visit was really amazing, we were later surprised to find out that the CEO himself would be handling the visit. The Bank side of fallabella was also a very interesting concept relative to how most Americans would think about their privacy in such a situation. They get a great service because they do not care as much as we do about such a hang up. Of course, the traffic in Bogota is quite terrible and it did put a massive wrench in our plans. I did get to try Ajaico and it is a lot more filling than I thought it would be.

  18. Anna Knyazhitskaya Says:

    What are the chances that an important politician will be making a visit to the same area at the same time as the Global group? Very high, given our – collective – luck. Missed opportunities aside, I really enjoyed the Falabella and Corona presentations. I learned a lot about the nature of personal banking in Latin America. It is still a nascent industry but it is benefiting greatly from technological advances of the last decade. Falabella is able to combine its brick and mortar stores with wireless technology to instantaneously provide lines of credit to the public. The Corona presentation introduced two overarching themes to corporate structure and policy in Colombia: (1) the family owned business and (2) charitable giving. We already encountered a family-owned business at La Gaitana but it did not hit how common that corporate structure is in Colombia until Corona – a gigantic, multinational corporation that is still partially controlled by the founding family.

  19. Kavita Rangaswamy Says:

    I was impressed that the CEO of Corona not only took the time to speak with us, but also went around the entire room shaking everyone’s hands. The presentation was eye opening for me, as I would’ve never known that Corona was invested in such a diverse set of business lines. I was also struck by the fact that the CEO of this massive organization was so interested in serving the community. When he spoke about helping the disabled, he started to get emotional and it made me respect him as a leader and as a person.

  20. Adriana Penalba Says:

    My first full day in Colombia! We visited the Corona offices where we heard from both Corona and Falabella. I enjoyed hearing about Falabella’s business model and seeing its prevalence in Latin America. I hadn’t realized that the use of credit was so common in the area, and it was interesting to see how Colombians attitudes toward the privacy of information differed from Americans. The Corona presentation was similarly informative, and I enjoyed looking for the Corona logo everywhere we’d travel later on. We experienced one of many delays when we were stuck in traffic and had to miss our factory tour, and instead just went straight to the Home Center which was very similar to a Lowe’s or Home Depot. I did think it was interesting to find out, though, that what they sell is slightly different since most of the customers at this particular Home Center live in urban areas, so they don’t have as much use for landscaping and things like that.

  21. Victor Okocha Says:

    Today was the day I started to get over the shock of being in a foreign country and began realizing there are several similarities between Colombia and the United States. Corona had a huge impact on this new way of viewing the country. First, the presentation at the beginning of the day by the CEO was very similar to many company presentations I have attended in the past. In addition, the visit to the store reminded me a lot of my time here in the US shopping at Home Depot. The only difference seemed to be the signs in the store were in Spanish instead of English.

  22. Elizabeth Sickler Says:

    I was in awe with the Corona store and the ability to drive through the construction area. My mom does house construction and frequently talks about how annoying it is to shop at Lowes and then go to the loading dock to get the supplies she had picked out. I can only imagine how much she would love shopping in the Corona drive thru store! It is good to see innovation and creativity in places you wouldn’t expect, like a lumber store. My favorite part of the day was hearing from the leader of Falabella. The structure of the company is unique and different from how I think of bank and retail collaborations in the US. It was clear that both the Corona and Falabella leaders were very passionate about their companies.

  23. Krista Fischer Says:

    I am still amazed at the amount of time the CEO of Corona and the President of Banco Falabella spent with our group. This man runs a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate yet he went around to greet each of us personally handing us a business card. This authentic, human interaction really set the tone for the rest of the presentation/conversation for me. This was the second family controlled business we visited on our trip in Colombia. Corona is now in its fifth generation. It has its own family board of directors who elect its representatives to serve on the business’ board of directors.

    This was also the day I started down the slippery slope of ignoring the recommended food restrictions from the UT Health Center. A group of ladies and I ventured out for dinner on our own to a sushi restaurant where I partook in lettuce wraps and two sushi rolls. Told you I was not scared, Bogota!

  24. David F. Says:

    The morning visit to the Corona office was very informative. I enjoyed hearing from the CEO’s of the Corona home goods company as well as the President of Banco Falabella. This was the day that I felt like I learned the most about how Colombian businesses are run and structured. It is amazing to hear that many of the large public enterprises are still essentially family run businesses. The tour of Home Center felt remarkably like touring a Home Depot or Lowe’s. However, they explained in great detail the amount of thought that goes into the decisions and placement of each type of good and really explained how there was a “flow” to the store’s organization.

  25. stephanielmoten Says:

    In a relationship oriented culture people focus on getting things done through their network, which is their form of currency. Whereas task orientated cultures will follow a system or a process, do research and come up with a structured approach to address a problem. Colombia has a relationship-oriented culture, which was illustrated in our company visit to Falabella today. Almost all for the businesses we visited on the trip were family owned businesses. To my surprise the businesses seemed to function very well in light of their status as family businesses. Family businesses in the US often fall apart in the third generation but in Colombia they thrive and provide financial stability and valuable professional experience to their family members.

  26. mikeramirezblog Says:

    Once the Corona CEO came into the room I thought that formalities would ensue and that the culture of Colombia would shift as in not so much of the small talk and learning about each other first. I was wrong – the CEO came in very relaxed and introduced himself literally to everyone. He walked around the large board room like table and shook every single one of our hands. Wow I am 100% that this would not have happened in a Corona like company in the U.S. I learned that the business culture in Colombia stays true regardless of the size of the meeting or the position of the person. Both CEOs were amazing and I really like how they are creating an ecosystem for their customers to basically go into Fallabella and easily get credit or banking started. I also really had to go to the bathroom and once in the very nice mall I went into a stall and noticed the toilet seat was missing…or was it? I quickly looked at the other stalls to notice that this was normal here which is strange because in the hotel there definitely is a toilet seat. Either way the entire day was amazing and left me wanting to learn even more about business in Colombia!

  27. Paolo Boero Says:

    In our first meeting of the day I was amazed that the CEO of Corona had taken the time out of his day to come talk to us. I was very moved by his passion for the business as well as his devotion to helping the people of his country. He was almost moved to tears when talking about one of the programs he had to employ disabled people. This was also our first interaction with bogota traffic, which was so bad that it prevented us from making it to their factory.

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