Doing business our customer’s way
CIB Corporation, established in 1961, is a leading industrial distributor of pipe, valves, fittings, valve automation, petroleum equipment, pipe tools, and related equipment. The company serves clients in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region from its warehouses in San Juan, Ponce, and Barceloneta, Puerto Rico.
Fernando Quijano, whose father, Gerónimo, founded the firm, is the company’s President. He came to CIB in the 1970s, and ultimately bought the company from his father. Today, CIB has about 45 employees. Most of its customers are in the manufacturing sector, with clients in the pharmaceutical, chemical, and LP gas industries. “Mostly, we deal with mechanical, plumbing, and gas station contractors,” Quijano explains.
The company has several divisions: the PVF Division, the Structural Steel Service Center, the Petroleum Equipment Division, and the Valve Automation Center. The PVF Division offers pipe, valves, high-quality fittings, and other materials, such as bolts, nuts, gauges and thermometers, gaskets, Teflon tape, and sealings. It threads, grooves, and cuts pipe per customer request.
The Structural Steel Center offers carbon steel, stainless steel, and aluminum shapes and forms. It cuts plates and sheets to the sizes required by its customers. It also offers galvanized steel grating and expanded metal sheets. The Petroleum Equipment Division offers all the necessary products for new gas station construction and maintenance, including everything from the underground storage tanks, to the monitoring systems, to the nozzles that fill vehicle gas tanks. The Valve Automation Center offers pneumatic and electrical actuators.
CIB’s products come predominantly from U.S. manufacturers – some directly and some from master distributors. “We also buy some products, like pipe, directly from foreign mills, through traders,” Quijano adds. CIB is affiliated with several major professional organizations, such as the Petroleum Equipment Institute, the Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association, and the Mechanical Contractors Association, which keep the company up to date on new products, regulations, and other matters that affect the industry.
CIB is also part of Affiliated Distributors, the largest group of electrical, mechanical, industrial, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning supply distributors in North America. This gives the company a competitive advantage to negotiate with its major vendors on the same level as the national chains. In addition, as a Supply Force Owner member, CIB is able to participate in integrated supply contracts on a national level, as well.
While CIB does have competitors, Quijano believes that what sets his company apart is its devotion to good service for its customers. “Service means trying to keep the best inventory and to deliver what they need,” he says. “We also try to deliver on time so that our customers can go on with their business as they need to.”
The Great Recession was “a very difficult time for us,” Quijano remarks, “and it’s not yet over in Puerto Rico. We still haven’t seen the bottom, yet. At the moment, we are trying to cut costs and increase our sales.” While times are still tough for the sector, as a whole, Quijano remains confident that a better economic climate is imminent and that business will improve over the next several years. “I would like to see that we are able to survive this depression, as I call it, because it’s been more than eight years we’ve been in recession. So, I would like to know that we were able to make the right adjustments so that we can survive,” he states. “And I believe – I’m always hopeful – that by that time, the economy would have recovered and we are gaining the fruits of those efforts.”
For over 55 years, CIB has contributed to the economic development of Puerto Rico, having been selected to supply the projects of many of the island’s major companies. Quijano and his employees intend to continue the company’s tradition of excellent service through technological innovation, hard work, and commitment – “Doing Business Our Customer’s Way.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: CIB Corporation
WHAT: Distributor of industrial and petroleum-related products
WHERE: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Smith Cooper – www.smithcooper.com