Paolo Bortolan
President and CEO
OSRAM México

Promoting the Switch to Led Lighting Technology

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 15:44

Mexico is doing an excellent job when it comes to introducing efficient energy consumption norms, according to Paolo Bortolan, President and CEO of OSRAM México. These norms have defined specific requirements for products in terms of safety, efficiency and quality of lighting. “This is one of the best efforts I have seen in this area worldwide,” says Bortolan. In recent years OSRAM has participated in the development of these norms, giving the company invaluable experience of how the Mexican industry works, and the direction in which it is heading. When people think of lighting they tend to think of light bulbs and street lamps. For OSRAM, however, lighting includes the automotive industry, movie theaters, airports and any other place or application that requires illumination. The company is not focused on a specific sector, instead regarding lighting as a market in itself.

In terms of promoting and improving efficiency in energy consumption in Mexico, OSRAM recognizes the achievements of the public sector. For instance, the Sustainable Lighting Program has now been running for two years and is actively pushing the transition from incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lights. Bortolan believes this initiative has been the public sector’s largest accomplishment in this area. FIDE was the organism in charge of managing the Sustainable Lighting program and OSRAM participated in the second phase. OSRAM also worked alongside CONUEE to develop energy efficiency norms, which resulted from its recognition that the market needed to be understood before the move towards energy saving technology could truly happen. For Bortolan, the private sector plays an important role in fostering this transition. Shifting from traditional lighting technology to LED lighting is not an easy move for large companies but players like OSRAM promote this change among their clients. Bortolan claims that the private sector is responsible for introducing new ideas to the general population, such as switching to new technologies.

OSRAM divides its market into regular customers and professional industries, and educates both segments in efficient lighting by constantly proposing and explaining better solutions, which are tailor-made to suit each client’s needs. “We work with retailers, which represent strong communication channels, to get to our final customers and instruct them on adopting new products, such as energysaving light bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps and LED lighting,” explains Bortolan. The latter is already a popular product among professional clients.

Educating middle-class customers in energy efficiency is not difficult, says Bortolan, as for them, changing from incandescent to fluorescent lighting is not a drastic decision. On the other hand, such a change represents a colossal investment for professional customers who own facilities with thousands of lights. Bortolan says that the only way to introduce a product with a lifetime of 10 years is by proving to clients that the product will comply with the advertised characteristics. Therefore, OSRAM’s strongest marketing tool is the quality of the products the company distributes. “We are aiming to sell the highest quality products on the Mexican market; that has always been our strategy,” says Bortolan. To achieve this aim, OSRAM spends 6% of its global revenues on research and development, and hosts some of the few laboratories that can certify lighting products in Mexico. “A supplier alone cannot prove the quality and working life of its products; they need laboratories to do so,” states Bortolan. To further corroborate the quality of the company’s portfolio, OSRAM has a department focused on energy auditing, which is dedicated to choosing which products to use in installations, warehouses or large industrial complexes. According to Bortolan, lighting is the only energy related area where switching from one technology to another can result in savings of up to 80%, making it an extremely attractive area to invest in. Energy audits are an easy way of showing potential customers how much they can save by installing proper lighting systems. It is not as simple as it may seem, for customers have different needs that go beyond efficient energy use. OSRAM needs to determine the light’s quality, life expectancy and temperature in order to advise its customers on the best solution. Maintenance is something that is also taken into consideration. “If someone needs to change lights on a ceiling that is 12 meters high and we sell them a product that will last 10 years, we are drastically reducing their maintenance challenges,” tells Bortolan.

As Mexican society becomes more aware of the need for energy efficiency, OSRAM expands its commercial activities by recruiting and instructing more clients in the art of intelligent lighting. “OSRAM’s active involvement in the process of drawing up official norms and our firm commitment to research and development combine with the company’s commercial experience to create products that incorporate safety, efficiency and quality into customers’ lighting solutions,” concludes Bortolan.