3M the Corporate Giant Unknown in Colombia

Recognized by brands such as Scotch-Brite, Post-it and Micropore, 3M is one of the best-known multinationals in the country, with more than 50 years of direct business. However, it is at the same time one of the companies whose work less is known, is responsible for the new passports of the country, signaling the highways and even white resins that are used to fit the teeth.


Few people know that 3M, whose name is an abbreviation of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is a company that has 55,000 products and that, for example, on an iPhone, there are at least five components that provide this multinational.

3M Company

Bogota industrial engineer Enrique Türk Fernández directs 3M Colombia three years ago. It is a lover of the eastern plains and is convinced that success in the work is in balancing family life and work. It is an idea that puts into practice among 270 employees and is the first to set an example. So you are viewing to the country and his company.

The entire portfolio of 3M sold in Colombia?

Here we have 4650 products, but that figure rises with the needs of customers. Proof of this was what gave us about 10 years ago at a request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today migration Colombia, requiring a team to scan passports. At that time only offered security for the physical passport, but no equipment, no validation software. We found out and discovered that in the global portfolio of 3 M had two brands of this type of readers, and since then, this little square machine that reads passports and crosses them against international databases, when we leave or enter the country, is ours.


And they had something to do with the new passport? Yes, we do this in partnership with Thomas Greg & Sons. Today is one more secure world passports, which is evident in the role, the type of printing and up to the thread that is sewn, as this contains internal fibers that to undo them, identify if it is legitimate. Between the two we deliver the full passport and our main contribution is in the page of data, which has the equal safety to a credit card.

What is 3M in Colombia’s strongest business line?

Here we have five lines of business. The first is industrial products such as abrasives, adhesives, and materials to facilitate oil exploration, etc. The second business is the consumption, which includes the line for home, where are the pads (Scotch-Brite); the part of the office, with the Post-it, going through the line of hardware and drugstore, where we have the Micropore tape line. A third line cables for power and communications. The fourth is health, which offers products for hospitals – like aseptic fields for surgery and stethoscopes-; for oral health, where we produce white resins that are used to fit the teeth and brackets for orthodontics, so we are practically in the mouth of all Colombians. The fifth line of business is security and graphics, perhaps the most diverse.

Three M products

And it was the area in which you arrived in 3 M? Yes. There we offer occupational safety equipment. We are strong in part respiratory, visual, auditory, reflective clothing, and with the acquisition of Capital Safety last June, grew up on the line of height as well as helmets. We also work in developing a safety. Do the reflective tape that connects the Orange sticks that are on the roads in construction.


Does that imply that the fourth-generation (4G) is a great business for you? Clear, as these new leases give much importance to the signage. We have contracts or are specified with 12 projects of the first and the second wave. In addition to signage, we are with electronic tools and already have in the 11 concessions. The idea is to grow more, but the delay is that signage is one of the recent contracts signed with the 4G. First is updated via signage that will intervene, then they put temporary signs which warn of dangers and detours during construction and then yes definitive signs with boards, which use no paint, but adhesive papers.

MMM company

Is this security business making passports?

Yes, they are services identification and control, where in addition to passports we make the laissez-passer of a bearing of arms, military books and the system for the control of the prisoners who have house prison, the so-called electronic shackles, which is tender because they will return to be awarded.



Was 2018 and how come 2019?  With the devaluation, 2018 was a particularly difficult year, as it has been for the whole industry, but we anticipate growth of more than 7% in pesos. This result is positive given the slowdown in the economy and higher inflation. For next year we don’t see a dollar up so much and therefore budgeted to grow to double-digit. It must be borne in mind, however, that there will be political and social variables that can impact the business, but still, do not know how to be and how much we are going to contribute their employers.


How much asks its parent about the peace process? They are aware of the difficulties that the conflict generates for businesses and we as a subsidiary make it as one of the critical variables that are living abroad. Undoubtedly, peace will change to Colombia, the possibilities that are open to us are enormous.


And you how to vote in the plebiscite? I firmly believe in peace and the facts are given here to the plebiscite will be decisive for the decision itself or not.



What was the most difficult decision that took this year and what the most successful? The most complicated was to implement a tight control of expenses, without affecting the operation of the company, optimizing costs in all areas and carrying out a thorough renegotiation with suppliers. The best thing was to have anticipated many of the situations that we are living.

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