Andrew Auns
Vice President & General Manager
Williams Scotsman Mexico
View from the Top

Modular Buildings that Meet Top Construction Standards

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 17:59

Q: Considering that the modular construction market includes many important players, what is Williams Scotsman doing to stay ahead of its competitors?

A: Our first priority is to invest in our organization and our asset base to ensure we provide the best customer service in the industry. There is a short timeframe between when a mining project is awarded and when our products are needed on site. This means we must expand our product offering and fleet to ensure these products are available as needed. This strategy fits seamlessly alongside new products we are launching in the Mexican market such as Moduflex. At the same time, we continue to be a full solutions provider. We are not just providers of modular buildings, we also provide additional products, such as furniture. These products serve as an added value and allow Williams Scotsman to provide a turnkey solution.

Q: How can Williams Scotsman help make mining operations more efficient?

A: We can best help our mining customers be more efficient by being a full solution provider. We leverage our scale to provide solutions for any size of project, whether it requires five units or hundreds, in a short period of time. This means customers will not fall behind in their project timeline. Finally, in North America, we can leverage the expertise of our sister company, Target Logistics, which is an expert in workforce accommodations for the oil and gas and mining industries. In Mexico, we are particularly looking to grow in the mining market by becoming a true turnkey provider. We are already experts in space solutions, but we can also become experts in 360° customer services within that space. If a mining company needs to set up a camp in six weeks, we can come in and operate it almost like a hotel. We have experience doing so in very large projects in Canada, in Australia, and in the US, as well as some smaller projects in Mexico.

Q: What makes Williams Scotsman more efficient than its competitors in terms of logistics and transportation?

A: We have 13 locations throughout Mexico, which is something unique. Our fleet is also bigger than many of our close competitors. Our main advantage is our ability to identify market demands and to transform our units by modifying and refurbishing them to fit specific needs in a short period of time. We can also provide mobile products that can offer multiple solutions in hard to reach places such as mining sites. For example, we introduced Moduflex to Mexico last year, which has been successful in providing new options to our clients. It adds flexibility to our portfolio as it can be used on mining sites for offices, dorms, or any other kind of modular building needed in such a work environment.

Q: Which solutions does Williams Scotsman provide to optimize the use of scarce resources such as electricity or water?

A: An environmental advantage of modular and temporary space solutions is that they provide options that can be dismantled and removed after use. This means locations can be better restored to their original state without leaving residual buildings that can cause environmental damage or violate environmental legislation. Secondly, as we upgrade and expand our fleet, we continue to source the most efficient materials while working to identify any special needs, such as double tank toilets that can help save on water. There are certainly opportunities to grow in this aspect of the market in Mexico as such evolutions are very recent here.

Q: What are the advantages of renting Williams Scotsman products instead of buying them?

A: This really depends on what the project is. If our units are only going to be used for a short period of time, such as six months to a few years, it makes more sense to rent. For example, mining companies go through different phases. During the exploration phase, a company may only need a few small and flexible units for a short period of time. It will then switch to larger units as the mining site is constructed, before transitioning to a semi-permanent solution after the site is fully established. We can provide various rental options to support each phase of development of a mine and help the customer determine the best long-term solution as their needs become more permanent. There are also certain situations in which we provide both rentals and sales. Our core competency is leasing but it all comes down to how long clients intend to use our units, whether they want to invest the ownership of modular buildings, if further uses for our units will be found, and whether it is worth investing in relocating those units.