Armando Zúñiga
CEO
Grupo Ips
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View from the Top

Securing Mexico’s Northern Treasures

Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:14

Q: How is the private sector working with the new government to foster the growth of the Mexican industrial sectors?
A: We are seeing progress in the effort to create synergies between the private sector and the public sector to promote the Mexican industry. Sales are down in a number of industrial sectors in Mexico and we have had some clients looking to renegotiate contracts to get new payment dates. We have also seen a drop in our internal sales in comparison to 1H2018. We see optimism from one side, but on the other side we see the reality of the situation, which is lower sales. Our strategy to mitigate this economic reality is to look for ways to decrease our costs without any cuts to our human capital. Whenever there is a crisis, companies must reorganize their strategies and sometimes that means becoming more cautious when making investments. Our largest clients at the moment are banks: BBVA and Santander.
Q: What innovative technologies will Grupo IPS introduce into the Mexican market to ensure safety of products?
A: Grupo IPS has three divisions. Among these, our IT division focuses on developing new security technologies to reduce theft on highways. What usually happens is that thieves use signal inhibitors to block GPS tracking devices that use phone signals. This is how most cars are stolen. We developed a new device that sends an alert to the driver and company as soon as the signal from the GPS is blocked, allowing them to take preventive actions instantly.  We are still testing it but so far it has been working well.
Q: What key opportunities has Grupo IPS identified in the mining industry?
A: We recently started operations in the mining industry, with Holcim-Lafarge: we indeed see a great amount of opportunity in this market. Sometimes mining requires armed guards because of the industry’s high-risk operations, including the transfer of precious metals.  We have the infrastructure necessary to provide the mining industry with a complete service. At the national level, there are 7,000 private security companies but fewer than 100 of these companies have permits to carry weapons. That is a competitive advantage that distinguishes us from other companies, and what will be our main added value to the mining industry.
Q: Why is it important to establish a working culture in a security company and how does it reflect on the services Grupo IPS offers?
A: Our competitive advantage is our culture. IPS has a culture that focuses on the people and we are the only security company with a Great Place to Work certification. A high rotation, especially at security companies, has a great impact on costs and generates operational problems for companies. If you have your team wear the company t-shirt, it creates a strong sense of belonging, they are more motivated to stay and work, therefore generating trust with customers and lowering your costs in training new people.
Q: What are Grupo IPS’ goals for the short term and what strategy will it implement to increase its market share?
A: Our main focus is expanding our reach into other Latin American countries. We are already present in Peru and we are entering the Costa Rican market. In five years, our goal is to be in at least 12 countries in Latin America. In Mexico, many children are scared of the police, who inspire distrust rather than being seen as a protection figure. We are striving to change this through the creation of our mascot, Vigiman, and by fostering a family environment within our company. We also want to ensure the company’s sustainability by establishing proper corporate governance in the coming years. As a family company, we want to create a board of directors to institutionalize our processes. We would also like to list on the BMV in order to attract private investors to continue our expansion into Latin America.