Gearbox Leader Looks to Sweeten the Mexican Sugar IndustryBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 10/27/2021 - 10:19
Q: As Reggiana Riduttori works to broaden its footprint in the Mexican sugar market, what differentiates the company?
A: What we have been doing and will continue to do is propose placing the sugar mill’s transmission drive system directly on the mill, which results in 50 percent energy savings. Another factor is that our system offers differentials in terms of speed because we put one drive on each roller. This generates more liquid from the sugar cane, producing more sugar. The waste from the cane can be dryer and burning in the boiler is more efficient. The end result is that we provide a great deal more energy savings and increased production.
Our global experience is also among our most valuable differentiators. This includes all the installations we have done worldwide. Our sales totals are 10 times greater than all of our competitors. The new technology we offer is bolstered by an expert team. We have more references than our competitors and we guarantee our clients will have a team that will be able to solve any difficulty they face.
Q: What opportunities do you see in Mexico in terms of the sugar business?
A: We have not been in Mexico as long as we have been in other regions, such as South America and Asia. However, in Mexico specifically, along with our sister company Transtecno Mexico, we are building up our sales and finding opportunities to improve our business. Our goal is to enter one of the five main sugar groups to create relationships and to cooperate on technology. If we succeed with one group, it will be easier to develop business relationships with the other four groups. It’s a gradual process. We already have some groups in mind, but we need to continue growing our business before choosing one specifically.
Q: What has been the greatest challenge you have faced regarding your Mexican ambitions?
A: The most significant challenge has been finding the right people within the sector. Another is the resistance to change, specifically, when it comes to technology, that is prevalent in Mexico. People in the industry do not want to adopt new technologies because they are already used to the technology they have, even though others could provide greater benefits to their operations. Also, there is a fear of being the first to try new technology because no one wants to take the risk. To address this, we demonstrate the capacity of our equipment, showing potential clients what we can do for them. We illustrate our solutions with our success cases around the world, in regions such as Asia, Africa and Central America. We are looking for clients who are open to trying this new technology but it has been difficult to break that barrier.
Q: In which part of the sugar processing line do you see the biggest opportunity?
A: The milling section provides 50 percent of the business we are developing. Another 30 percent is in mill preparation and 20 percent is in the processing house. Our main focus is on the mill but we can supply an entire factory with our systems. It is up to the customer to decide where they want to focus, depending on their production needs and availability of investments to get a fast return.
Q: What role does the National Chamber of the Sugar and Alcohol Industry play in your development and that of the industry in Mexico?
A: We have worked with groups such as this in the past but now, with help from our partner, Transtecno Mexico, we are going even further to build relationships with customers and with chambers by putting a local team in place. We see the importance of having a local team because that can help us create relationships with groups such as the National Chamber of the Sugar and Alcohol Industry and other government-based groups that could further help us develop within the Mexican market. The positive side is that we have been received in the sector with great openness, so we just need to start developing these relationships and work together.
Q: How was the sugar industry and your business affected by the pandemic?
A: The way it affected us, mainly, was that we could not visit the factories and have discussions in person. We were only allowed to have our regular meetings virtually, which delayed our processes. Gradually, we have been recovering and our strategy has become much more assertive and efficient when doing video calls. By doing so, we will be able to speed up the process and assure clients they are safe with us.
Q: Beyond its location, what other factors make Mexico an attractive market for companies like Reggiana?
A: First of all, Mexico is a big country that not only has a broad sugar business but it shines in other areas as well, including mining, steel and agriculture, in general, which are all of interest to us. We know we need to think globally but as of this moment, we need to start acting locally so that we can enjoy the benefits that come from doing business in Mexico. Our key partner has been a big part of this entry into the Mexican market and it has been what has allowed us to start acting locally and launch all the plans we have in mind.
Reggiana Riduttori is a world-leading designer and manufacturer of planetary gearboxes for a wide variety of industrial power transmission applications.