Manuel Flores Buendía
Country Manager
Taylors International Services
View from the Top

Comfort Comes First for Offshore Operations

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:49

Q: What distinguishes Taylors International Services’ catering services from what was available in the market when it entered Mexico?

A: Taylors International Services (Taylors) started offering services from US chefs, as many companies bring in American expatriates. The style of southern food we offer is very special to these people because it makes them feel at home. When we started providing this service on rigs, people got very excited and the word started spreading. This allowed us to rapidly grow within the private market but our intention was to reach PEMEX, for which we finally won a tender in December 2014. Taylors is different because we care about what the diverse individuals onboard are used to eating every day. Taylors designs menus with the goal of satisfying everyone, unlike other catering companies which think that they have to serve Mexican food because they are in Mexico. Workers from other nationalities want dishes that are familiar or brands they are acquainted with, which is an added value we offer. Our hospitality area also includes platform cleaning services as well as the changing and laundering of bed sheets, uniforms, and regular clothes.

Q: What factors persuaded Taylors to set up shop in Ciudad del Carmen?

A: Taylors has had its headquarters in Lafayette, Louisiana, since 1986. In order to continue expanding its operations, the company decided that Mexico was a strategic location that would enable Taylors to close the gap between the US and Brazil. This is how Taylors landed in Mexico in 2013. From here, we can now provide services to many clients working in this country. We entered Mexico with a client who is no longer operating here. Therefore, we began doing business with companies that have operations in Ciudad del Carmen, such as Grupo Diavaz, Oro Negro, Noble, Paragon, Nabors, and other international players that knew us from the US. The facility that Taylors is building in Ciudad del Carmen occupies 2,800m and is located by the shore. We also offer real flexibility as Taylors has the ability to rapidly come up with new amenities, such as refrigeration containers, and can provide direct service to ships, as needed.

We believe that Mexico has huge growth potential for food and hospitality services along the Gulf coast. However, I do see the national market constraining at the moment. The drop in oil prices has also affected our company, especially since companies often target food services when it comes to lowering costs. Nevertheless, our expectations are high for 2016 and beyond. Volume and innovation will keep Taylors in the market. The more innovative a service company is, the more chances it will have to respond when its clients cut their budgets. Our clients know that they can count on us during emergencies and that we will always be at the forefront of innovation. We aim to grab an 80% market share of the oil industry’s food services market, which is quite a challenge. It might seem easy to provide food onboard a ship, rig, or platform, but it is far from that.

Q: How important are certifications for Taylors as the Mexican oil and gas industry opens up?

A: We recognize the value of certifications both for corporate image purposes and for the operational value they provide. Taylors has ISO 9000 certification for all of its processes, which encompass logistics, preparation, food delivery, and hospitality services. Having all our procedures certified under this norm has helped us standardize many steps, maintain better control over our budget, and ultimately satisfy our clients. Customers expect our chefs to be properly certified, while we also comply with PEMEX’s safety norms. In addition, we give our staff open sea survival training, so our clients know that our people will know what to do in case of a contingency. After all, this is a high-risk environment.

Q: Which are Mexico’s differentiating characteristic at the operational level when compared to countries like the US or Brazil?

A: Mexico has very particular conditions, and PEMEX used to impose plenty of restrictions. For example, our catering personnel had to wear helmets when onboard, even though this is not a common practice in other countries. Likewise, PEMEX demands a larger amount of catering staff than the market standard but this is done to provide more comfort to the personnel onboard. In Mexico, it is also complex to work with the port administration body, API, because it requires permits to carry out many everyday activities.