Bridging the Gap between Clients and Valve SuppliersWed, 01/22/2014 - 14:13
When ATM launched its oil and gas division, ATM Válvulas, in 2013, it sought to leverage its whole array of products, such as valves, pipes, and fittings, to enter a new line of business. A year on, the move seems to have paid off. ATM Válvulas boasts of significant success over its short time in the market, as it is now selling its products to Petrofac, Halliburton, and is in the quotation process with Schlumberger. Despite these marquee names on its client list, the bulk volume of ATM Válvulas’ sales is directed towards smaller construction companies and service providers that have large maintenance contracts with PEMEX. The company is planning to create a new department exclusively in charge of directly servicing PEMEX, with a team dedicated to securing PEMEX tenders, to capitalize on the upcoming procurement opportunities stemming from the NOC opening up. “It has become increasingly important for companies to become experts in preparing for the rigorous specificities that PEMEX looks for,” says Graciela Delgadillo, Director General of ATM Válvulas. Therefore, this team will be tasked with intelligence gathering to make sure ATM Válvulas can meet all the requirements that PEMEX demands. One of the companies’ current lines of business is providing specialized products for refining processes, such as needle valves and strangleholds, among others. Delgadillo estimates that ATM Válvulas’ product line is about equally focused on serving extraction processes, and on refining and processing. While the company is specialized in the upstream segment, both onshore and offshore, it is also looking at opportunities in the midstream segment, such as pipeline manufacturing and hydrocarbon distribution.
ATM Válvulas’ products are manufactured for specific purposes but, although there are exceptions in which the firm provides tailored products for its clients, 90% of its products are sold as ready-to-use components. Delgadillo attributes the company’s rapid rise to this adaptability, as well as prompt delivery and wise inventory management. As a product reaches the end of its lifespan, ATM Válvulas can supply its clients with a replacement before the original component expires, avoiding any halt to production. By keeping a large inventory, the anticipated oil and gas industry boom can be catered to with no complications, an idea Delgadillo says harks back to ATM’s cost-qualityavailability philosophy.
Selling products to the oil and gas sector requires a firm to be highly mindful of quality and safety. This becomes all the more relevant when a leak or fault in certain products can cause a fire. “The latest fires in oil and gas facilities have been a consequence of valves breaking, which takes us back to the fact that valves have a certain lifespan,” says Delgadillo. “When working in this industry, receiving a material test report (MTR) is almost as important as receiving an invoice. This report certifies that the products we are delivering have been successfully tested against pressure, temperature, and the liquids flowing through them, among other things.” As the exclusive distributor for several manufacturing companies, Delgadillo explains that ATM Válvulas can track where the components of its products are made, offering significant advantages in terms of quality guarantees. “68% of components are made in the US, as well as most processes, including product design, material selection, assembly and quality control tests,” she says. With products being made in the US, ATM Válvulas believes it can use this proximity to the Mexican market to access better products. Delgadillo says clear evidence of this strategy is seen in the relationship with Chem Oil Products, a Texas-based pipe accessory, manifolds and plug valve manufacturer. Even though ATM was already distributing Chem Oil Products’ merchandise in the mining sector, starting an oil and gas venture required a different approach. ATM Válvulas designed a new business model focused on finding sub-distributors for its products, which saw Chem Oil Products’ equipment taken to smaller distributors in Villahermosa, Veracruz, Tampico, and other important oil hubs. This provided closer access to the projects being developed and helped boost sales. “We offer our providers a business model that did not exist previously in Mexico. In this country, there are either really large providers and distributors or low-tier ones. Our company connects providers from the US to significant users with an urgent need for their product at better prices,” states Delgadillo.
Delgadillo expects that growth in the near future will see the firm expand its sales department and support services in Mexico, particularly given its widespread distribution network. Given the range of products it sells for different manufacturers, ATM Válvulas will also be introducing a support center to assist companies in selecting the best product for their needs. “We should concentrate on this area, since companies can be unsure as to which valve best suits their projects’ characteristics. “Our intention is to help clients determine which valve would be best for the exact liquid and process-voltage-temperature conditions they will be dealing with,” Delgadillo explains.