The Cemex way: a Roundtable
Cemex’s growth story is the focus of a new strategy + business1 roundtable discussion involving six Cemex leaders and moderated by Thomas A Stewart. Excerpts from these talks offer an insight into how the Mexican company has evolved from a local cement producer in an emerging market to a global building materials solutions provider by cultivating world-class capabilities. By Thomas A Stewart, National Center for the Middle Market at Ohio State University, USA.
Consider the challenges of selling cement and concrete. These are the most widely-used building materials in the world. They are ancient, dating back to at least 3000 BC and form the literal foundation of civilisation as well as being energy-efficient, durable, versatile and inexpensive. Three tonnes of concrete are poured each year for every person on earth. In most places, the business of providing these materials is capital intensive and cyclical.
The company that can provide cement and concrete at the lowest price in any particular location would seem to have an unbeatable edge. Yet since the early 1990s, Mexican company Cemex, whose primary businesses is cement and concrete, has pursued a strategy of differentiation. It defines itself as a provider of solutions for builders and local governments, particularly in emerging economies and for those seeking environmental sustainability.