Friday, March 15, 2013

Customers And Bearings

This is the last installment of my series on my latest Peru trip.  Here, I show some of our customers (in Cajamarca and Lima) and show some photos and comments on what it is like to receive 21 pallets of bearings...

This first picture of Gilmer Correa, who sells auto parts in Cajamarca, Peru to the public.  "C & C Repuestos" is currently our only customer in Cajamarca, but we hope to land more.  A city of 250,000 people!  And, while the fleet is fairly different than Lima's (more below), we need our bearings to be more available there.  I just dropped by to visit, without notice, and yet he talked with me about the bearing market in his city.  The most prominent piece I saw while there was our Chinese hub & bearing assembely number 54KWH02, the front wheel piece for the newer Toyota HiAce (Toyota's van).  GRACIAS por su tiempo, Gilmer, muy amable!

I had some time to wander about downtown Cajamarca when my wife and her toured the area.  I was most interested in seeing the differences between what vehicles are in Cajamarca vs. Lima.  It turns out that Toyota is more popular there in Cajamarca, as the vehicles are considered very sturdy, and the locals will often pay up for a stronger vehicle...  Also, there are LOTS of mototaxis (tri-wheel vehicles based on motorcycles, these are all made in India, mostly by India's Bajaj).

Here are three mototaxis (the last one is way back there...) along a minor street near downtown Cajamarca (click on any image for a better view):

The below picture (downtown, at the Plaza de Armas) is either ALL Toyota or nearly so.  In the center is a white Toyota Probox, it is noticeably different than the Toyota Corolla Station Wagon (bery popular as a taxi all over Peru).  The Probox can haul more volume and more weight than the the Corolla, and so has become very popular.

Other Toyotas of note (hey, I took this photo for a reason...), are the two Toyota HiLux pickup trucks parked at the left, the small blue car "in front of the Probox" is a Toyota Yaris (smaller than the Corolla, they DO sell the Yaris here in the USA, and it is failry popular), and the van in front is the Toyota HiAce van (I do not know if it is the "new" one (using the hub & bearingt assembly) or the older version (using two tapered roller bearings).

My trip to Cajamarca was wonderful and very informative.  I will always remember the people and how nice they were to us.  Not to mention the scenic beauty...


Soon enough we were back in Lima, this time the bus trip only took 16 hours as it was not attacked this time...

Monday evening we invited some of our customers to dinner, a "US-Style" business dinner.  Here is a picture I took of our customers and three of Ameru's employees:

Seated, left to right: customers Julio Flores, Carlos Alcantara (Roma Bearing), Ameru salesman Raul Quispe (our expert in Toyota Probox...), and customer Gino Ñaupari (Repuestos Ñaupari SRL).  Standing are Roberto Arce (Ameru's Sales Manager) and Cesar Rodriguez (General Manager).

Our dinner was enjoyable and informative, just the kind of meeting I like!  I would like to thank Messrs. Flores, Alcantara and Ñaupari (as well as our own Ameru guys) for a great dinner.


Yet another high point of our trip was the arrival of 21 pallets of bearings (Delfu brand from China, double-row wheel bearings and hub & bearing assemblies).  This was by far our largest order (by weight and volume) ever.  It took TWO trucks (a VW Brazil truck in front of the forklift (yellow) and a Ford Brazil in the back (closer to the camera, note that you partly make out "Ameru Trading" on our building above the second truck) to make the delivery.  The first truck was just opened and the forklift is about start working...:

Ameru now is at the point that when we get a large order, we hire (by the hour) a forklift ("pato" in Peruvian slang ("duck", because a forklift looks a little bit like a duck..) or more formally: "montacarga") to do the heavy lifting (rather than breaking down the pallets by hand in the back of the truck and moving boxes to the edge by hand).

This picture shows the very little clearance we have for a forklift at our entrance as well as two of Ameru's team (Roberto Arce and Gonzalo Rodriguez), as a local señorita (not ours) also looks on):

This next photo has kind of a lot going on, at least for those who have not worked in a warehouse or similar. In the back of the truck is our newest employee (Erick Cerrato) who might also be our strongest guy...  He was helping the forklift driver pull that pallet that was near the front of the truck (beyond the reach of the forklift's prongs.  They use the olive-colored cloth straps, wrapped around the pallet of bearings and dragged toward the back by the forklift.  The pallet is now in position to be picked up by the forklift and brought into Ameru.  Note also under the rear of the truck are two hollow steel prongs, these, when put on the forklift's own prongs give about one foot further reach, but they had already gotten the easy-to-reach pallets.  Also in the picture are Roberto Arce and Nestor Cardenas (Warehouse Manager, at the far right).

The below picture shows some "pallet tags".  If you click on the image, you will see at left-center our popular piece 54KWH02 for Toyota HiAce, mentioned above (customer in Cajamarca):

12 of the pallets (actually 13, you can see one at the far left further back):

Ameru team members breaking down pallets.  From left: Erick, Nestor and Cesar.  I put some of the tools we use for this picture.  Note size of the crowbar...

My wife's dad had visitor by chance come by when Ameru was unloading: his brother Zacarias.  I asked them to pose for a picture while "working".  Left is Zacarias (about 85 years old) and right is "Super Lolo" (Eleodoro, 92 years young).  Super Lolo is the right nickname for him though.  He spent about four hours doing the equivalent of construction clean-up work (with no gloves...).  Some of you may remember him from the front page of that Peruvian newspaper demanding their pensions.

Labor laws?  "Que son esas, señor?"

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