Innovation Results in Higher Productivity and Lower CostsBy Karin Dilge | Thu, 05/19/2022 - 16:10
Q: What factors drove Sercom to start working in the mining sector?
PA: We created Sercom to meet the needs of the global industries in general. However, our first specialization opportunity was within the mining sector. We have operated in the sector now for five years, during which we have sought to provide a different service to what is commonly offered in the mining market. We believe that the main objective of other similar companies is to sell as much as possible but, rather than selling, we want to provide a personalized service.
JF: From the beginning, we saw that the market was saturated, since chemicals and reagents have always been offered and required. For this reason, we decided to differentiate our offer by not focusing on the product but on the service. We are dedicated to solving problems.
Q: What is the main challenge that Sercom has identified in the Mexican mining industry?
PA: The main issue is financing. Since mining companies handle very large daily production volumes, their overhead cost is always high. Therefore, miners want to solve their problems but within their credit limitations. In the end, it becomes a financial decision in which companies have to be strategic. Financing has also been our own barrier to growth. Early on, we did not have the necessary capital to establish a sizable inventory immediately. It cost the company years of savings and investment. However, we have been growing organically, which has allowed us to improve our warehouse logistics.
Q: How did the company strengthen its position in the market despite the pandemic and its impact on the mining sector?
JF: The key aspect that allowed us to maintain the company during the pandemic was its commercial alliances with manufacturers that have warehouses throughout the country. Our partners allowed us access to these warehouses. As a result, we were able to be closer to our customers.
PA: Furthermore, the pandemic forced us to either reconfigure our operations or risk being very affected by it. Sercom decided to adapt as quickly as possible to the new market dynamics. We believe that the pandemic benefited us in terms of our logistics because it became easier and faster to see our customers. Normally, to visit a mine requires a minimum of 20 days in terms of planning. With the pandemic, we were able to do quick Zoom calls and solve our customers’ issues right away. This rapid adaptation process during the pandemic and our customer-focused strategies have allowed us to grow significantly year on year despite the market difficulties.
Q: How is the company innovating in the mining industry and what benefits do miners receive from these new solutions?
JF: One of our alliances is with a multinational, research-focused company. Together, we have designed chemicals that improve the recovery rate of any mineral. Previously, depending on the material, miners needed to use around three chemicals for recovery. However, we have designed a single chemical that miners can use to recover even more ore. These types of solutions are beneficial because, in addition to improving recovery, they reduce product and warehousing costs.
Q: What are the company’s national and international expansion plans?
JF: We are present in Zacatecas and we have an expansion plan for Chihuahua and Hermosillo. Internationally, we are already manufacturing and importing material from China and Australia. Our plan is to have offices in Asia to facilitate logistics and gain greater control of the products that we distribute so that they meet the highest possible quality standards.
PA: Apart from our plans to bolster our presence in Mexico, it is a priority for us to continue implementing and investing in innovation. Granting our clients a different solution compared to others will be our greatest competitive advantage.
Sercom is a Mexican company specialized in chemicals and reagents, metallurgical laboratory products and certified reference materials.