Colombina S.A.: A Case Study of Colombian Progress

Lollipops production line in Colombina’s La Paila-Valle confectionery plant
Spending a couple of days in Colombina’s manufacturing and administrative facilities gives one a sense of the similarities as well as the differences between the business culture in Colombia and in the United States. The most striking characteristic of Colombina was a seemingly universal dedication to advancing the success of the company both within its domestic market of Colombia and around the world.
Colombina’s administrative/management and factory employees work very hard.  At the Colombina administrative headquarters in Cali, Colombia, the workday starts at 7:30 a.m. and formally finishes at 6 p.m., but many employees will be found still on the job well after 6 p.m. on nearly any given evening. Yes, Colombina employees take a two-hour lunch break, have many more holidays than we do in North America and more vacation time. However, the dedication, pride, energy and single-minded focus found among the Colombina staff are not found everyday within U.S. companies.
Colombina’s manufacturing facilities are state-of-the art, and the plant employees share the same passion and dedication for Colombina’s success that the administrative staff possesses.
Another striking difference between Colombina and a typical confectionery plant in the United States from an operational perspective is Colombina’s export dock operation within its warehouses. Colombina is Basc-certified (Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition). Colombina’s export docks are sectioned off and locked, and the export dock is on camera 24 hours a day. The movement of every case can be tracked to every individual who played a role in transporting it, and trained scent dogs inspect every shipment prior to it leaving the warehouse.
Last, but certainly not least, Colombina’s dedication to producing quality products is unwavering. Colombians will not eat highly processed foods lacking taste and quality. Fruit-flavored candies must be flavorful and be true to life. Cookies, candies and pastries that include a milk or a cream aspect, must contain real milk or cream. This dedication to quality has allowed Colombina’s success within Latin America and is providing the company a competitive edge as it moves into markets around the world.
Like Colombia overall, Colombina’s future is bright. Hard work and dedication to proving itself within the global economy will fuel many years of future success. n
Colombina at a Glance
Business: Largest food distributor in Colombia (distributors of their own products and products for many multi-national packaged goods companies) and leading confectionery, snack, pastry and cookie manufacturer
Customer Base: 350,000 retail and distribution customers in 26 countries around the world
Number of Confectionery, Cookie, Pastry and Snack Plants: 5
Production Output (five confectionery, cookie, pastry and snack plants combined): 398.7 tons/year
Products Produced: Lollipops, bubble gum, extruded corn snacks, chocolate, marshmallow, hard candy, jellies, cookies, wafer cookies, snack cakes, chewy candies
Key Brands: Bon Bon Bum, Soft Mint Puffs, Soft Fruit Puffs, Tiger Pops, Coffee Delight, Snow Mint,  Snacky, Ponky, Galleta de Leche, Bridge, Squirt, ChocoBreak, Nucita, GoLeador
Key Certifications: ISO 9002, Basc (Business Anti-Smuggling Coalition), Kosher, HACCP