Matching Client Expectations and Quality StandardsWed, 01/25/2012 - 13:58
“The financial crisis has hit the service and supply industry in Ciudad del Carmen very hard, so these last years we have been focused on surviving,” says Abelardo Rivera Lechuga, Director General of service firm Proyectos Peninsulares.
At the same time, Mexico underwent an energy reform, Pemex reorganized its Exploration and Production division, and the investment program known as PIDIREGAS was replaced by a new contracting model. “In short, the flow of maintenance and supply contracts slowed down substantially in recent years while Pemex’s procedure for awarding contracts remained cost rather than quality-driven. When the quality standards of your biggest potential customer are low compared to global standards, it is a challenge to deliver high quality work,” explains Rivera Lechuga. In response to unfavourable market conditions, he plotted a new strategic direction for his company based on two guiding principles: looking beyond Pemex to develop an alternative customer base, and investing in new technology and infrastructure to continuously raise quality standards and provide the company with the technological capability to meet and exceed customer expectations.
Offering a portfolio of corrective and preventative maintenance services, as well as automation and control systems, the company has found its niche in the numerous service providers operating in Pemex’s shallow water fields. “But in working primarily with international companies, we have had to face the challenge of national stereotyping,” says Rivera Lechuga. “Particularly when approaching American companies for the first time, we have to overcome the misconception that Mexican companies and their workers cannot do an equally good job as their international counterparts,” explains Rivera Lechuga. “We need an opportunity to be recognized by new companies as a hard-working, innovative and quality-driven company. For example, it took three years to convince Nabors to work with us, and they are based right across the street.”
To accelerate the acceptance process by international clients, Proyectos Peninsulares introduced a progress reporting process that allows for complete transparency with its clients. “Upon commencement of a project, we provide the client with a receiving report that documents the initial condition of the equipment, as well as a planned programme of works. As the project advances, we provide our clients with frequent progress reports, with photographs and explanations about how the work is progressing, enabling them to check on our progress against the programme of works at any moment,” explains Rivera Lechuga. “All of our customers receive this service, and we are the only company that provides such detailed feedback to our clients. We have received high praise as a result of this strategy; Cotemar has told us that the reason they work with Proyectos Peninsulares is precisely because of these programmes.”
For Mexican companies in Ciudad del Carmen, quality is the issue that stands in the way of winning contracts with international companies. “Here in Ciudad del Carmen, there are a lot of workshops with which no international company would consider working, because they do not issue reports and provide quality certification. The equipment of Proyectos Peninsulares is certified to ISO 9001 2008 standards, which is a definite advantage.”