In 2003, industrial chemist and engineer Gilbert Cruz took on a mission to reformulate Rugby and strip it of its addictive and damaging content. Using his knowledge and expertise about composition of contact cement products, Cruz was able to do it despite hesitations from critics that a reformulation could possibly be a setback to sales of the adhesive product. On the contrary, by 2004, sales of Rugby grew 25%.
In his over 30 years of experience being a cement technologist, Cruz has made it his advocacy to do things differently, not just to introduce innovations but also to make products better in terms of quality and environmental impact. This time, Cruz is set to shake up the local cement industry by launching a new and 100% Filipino-owned cement manufacturing firm that prioritizes research and development the most.
“Over the last 30 years, I have been working in mega structures,” said Cruz, whose concreting experience includes construction of Malaysia’s Petronas Tower in 1996, Taiwan High Speed Railway Project in 1997, China’s 3G Dam Project in 1999, and Tokyo-Yokohama Underwater Tunnel Project in 1999. “It had been my vision that someday, I will introduce innovations not just in concrete but also in cement,” he added.
The new boss arrives
Now, Cruz’s focus is set on bringing the Philippines to the global construction map by introducing the world’s first truly environmentally friendly cement. “If we make it, we can help the Philippines become greater than it is today,” he said.
Cruz and his team have launched Big Boss Cement, Inc (BBCI). Upon its official entry into the local cement market, the startup cement manufacturing company is preparing to launch its first and flagship product—Big Boss Cement Type 1P that will start market distribution in March this year.
“We are excited at the prospect of making a positive impact not only in the local construction industry but also in terms of decreasing air pollution and damage to the environment,” said Cruz who will run BBCI as its President.
BBCI is building its solid foundation on a revolutionary manufacturing technology that significantly modifies the century-old system of mining raw materials (like clay, limestone, shale, and sand) and heating those within a kiln at about 1,500°C—a process that makes the cement making industry account for about 5% of total carbon dioxide emission globally.
Cruz disclosed that BBCI would use its own manufacturing process that is still in the course of being patented. He noted that deviating from common industry practice, their system will utilize readily available raw materials like lahar, which explains why its first manufacturing facility is located in Porac, Pampanga, one of the towns that were hit the hardest during the historic eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.
“Science and technology are key drivers of our organization. We put a premium on research and development to be able to produce products that are superior while keeping in mind environmental sustainability,” Cruz asserted.
BBCI is aiming to account for at least 3% of the local cement market. It hopes it could be among the strong players that are supplying cement to the government’s aggressive ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program. It intends to sell about 18 million bags of cement on its first year.
When asked about the pricing strategy, Cruz said BBCI would sell their product at P206 per bag, which is within the normal price range of P205 to P215 per bag of cement products in the market today. “We intend to be a game changer, but right now, we don’t plan to rock the boat in terms of costing,” Cruz briefly explained.