A Modern Approach to Drilling in MexicoMon, 10/21/2013 - 20:57
Q: In light of increasing international competition in the drilling market in the country, what is the advantage of being a Mexican drilling company operating in Mexico?
A: As a Mexican company we understand the culture and the way of working here very well. This allows us to take the best approach to training and motivating our team in ways that create the highest quality of work. Interaction with Mexico’s local communities is extremely important, since exploration projects tend to be in remote locations. These communities often do not differentiate a drilling company’s employees from a mining company’s, so any problems with our staff would not only risk our drilling contract but more importantly can risk our client’s reputation as well. All of our employees understand that our actions can actually risk the potential of a future mine. We run a 100% alcohol and drug free operation, and we maintain this rule even during off hours. This is not just for safety reasons but also for the responsible image it promotes to clients and communities. To build a positive relationship with the local communities, we take environmental cleanliness as seriously as being courteous at the local gas station, motel or machine shop. Small details like driving slowly to keep dust to a minimum, closing ranchers’ gates or offering to repair a rancher’s tractor all help to build a good relationship with the local community. In one case a client asked us to stop the drill while they waited for assay results, so our crews drilled a water well for the local town. We also try to hire locals whenever possible. This gives us a competitive edge over foreign companies that do not always understand how best to work with local people.
Q: To what would you attribute the company’s success?
A: We believe the fact that we are still operating at 85% during this downturn validates our positive reputation. We have proven with actions, not words, that Globexplore offers genuine value that cannot easily be found elsewhere. We have had some contracts where we lost a lot of money due to unforeseen challenges, but we never walked away from the commitment we made to that client. We finished the job as promised and earned that client’s trust. In another example, working with one of Mexico’s largest producers we improved our productivity and cut our operating costs to a point where we were making a higher than normal
margin. We could see the potential long term benefits of the partnership so we called them up and offered to lower our contract price. The client was shocked - it had never had a contractor offer an unsolicited discount. It is this type of honesty and fairness that helped us earn our customers’ respect and build a lasting partnership. To us it says a lot that every client we have ever worked for would recommend our service and hire us again.
Q: What are the main reasons your clients work with Globexplore, and what do they value most about the company?
A: Our clients appreciate that we do not create profit centers for every challenge that arises. Drilling deep into the earth is an unpredictable venture and we take the responsibility of finding technical solutions that deliver the results our clients need, without taking advantage of them along the way. Most of our clients have similar concerns and we make sure we meet or exceed their expectations in every possible way. Globexplore is also small enough for the owners to be intimately involved in every project, and not in a boardroom in another country. At the same time, we are large enough to have a first class company supporting our field operations at every level.
Q: What role do technology and innovation play in improving efficiency on drilling projects?
A: There is so much more to achieving the desired results than just a new drill and an expert driller. At Globexplore we have developed the High Tech infrastructure that is required to properly support that new drill and expert driller. The brains behind our new headquarters in Hermosillo is our Globexplore Management System (GMS). Using smartphones, tablets or laptops this elaborate system captures and shares real-time data on every aspect of our operations, providing data that answers questions such as: which driller is the most efficient? Are we on schedule to meet our client’s target completion date? Are all employees up to date with their safety training or drug testing? It alerts us when a driver exceeds the speed limit and it generates accurate daily drill logs for the client to review. The system helps us run our operations with much greater efficiency by reducing the chance of human error, and allows us to operate safely and at a more competitive cost.
Q: What are your technology and performance strategies for selecting rigs, and why does your fleet look the way it does today?
A: We are proud to run the most High Tech and modern fleet available. All of our rigs were built within the last five years, which ensures the latest technology, performance, reliability and safety standards. We purge our fleet as it ages and keep no equipment past six years. We have standardized our fleet, which helps us maintain the rigs and keep a sufficient stock of spare parts. We can move drillers from project to project without the delays and risks associated with a new learning curve. Should there be a time consuming repair we can swap out the entire rig if necessary. Most importantly our drillers get the training and experience needed to maximize the capabilities of the rig.
Our diamond rig fleet was designed by drillers for drillers, and offers top class power to advance through challenging ground or reach targets as deep as 1,700m, whilst remaining small enough to be transported by helicopter and fit in a drill pad as small as 4x8m. Our reverse circulation fleet also offers some of the smallest footprints in the industry, requiring a pad size of as small as 6x8m. This helps us access tighter, more remote areas and lowers the cost, time and environmental impact of constructing larger drill pads. With depths of up to 450m, production is often higher than on rigs twice their size. Engineered with automated rod loaders and breakout systems with remote control operations, we have eliminated the most common causes of injury. Our rigs can be mounted on a variety of options to suit different client needs, with truck, skid, buggy or tracks, and we offer both Diamond and Underground RC rigs.
Q: Your staff play a key role in your success; what is your strategy to building and developing your team?
A: The talent of drilling is acquired over time; hiring, training and retaining the best team we can is the biggest challenge we face and the part of our business that receives most attention. We have developed a culture that motivates our people to work as if they were the owners of the company. We compensate our people by paying above industry averages, with a bonus program that incentivizes our staff, based on a combination of safety performance, innovation, and high productivity. Employees are rewarded if they develop a new procedure that helps us save money or work more efficiently, or if a supervisor operates an accident-free project. This strategy helps us to attract the best people in the industry and maintain a consistent team, with low staff turnover. We have developed a large family that shares common goals, and our staff are proud to wear our logo on their chest.
Q: How will you balance Globexplore’s growth ambitions, whilst maintaining the quality of your services?
A: We were very aggressive when we first started and grew the company by 100% every year from 2006 to 2012. We could sustain that level of growth then because we were smaller and the increments were easier to deal with, but given our current size it is not intelligent to maintain that pace. In mid-2012 we halted new rig purchases and focused on upgrading our infrastructure. We built a state of the art headquarters and mechanics shop and polished up our training programs. We also improved our supply chain and preventative maintenance departments, and created reliable procedures for the most important tasks. We now have the foundations to grow and expand as soon as the market demands it. However, we know that being bigger is not always better and we have a simple rule that we will not add a new rig or take on a new contract unless we are 100% sure we can maintain our high level of customer service.