Roberto Reyes
Director General
Commosa
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View from the Top

Mexican Leader in Modular Living Spaces

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 12:58

Q: What strategies have been used by Commosa to take on its competitors from Mexico and abroad?

A: Our competitors have usually been foreign companies, specifically from Texas. We have small local competitors in each region but none of them manufactures nationally and internationally as Commosa does. We have worked for over ten years with world-class companies such as General Electric or Williams Scotsman, which have commercialized our products. There are also four Caterpillar distributors operating in the country that also commercialize Commosa’s products, namely TRACSA, MAQSA, MATCO, and MADISA. The latter of the four is dedicated to the oil and gas sector and holds 50% of the market share. However, all of these are strength and provide us with a very important aspect. They are not merely resellers as they are able to provide financing options to customers when selling our equipment. This also allows Commosa to stand out from its competitors in several ways: we manufacture and our distributors sell directly to the end customer, we rely on this network of finance companies, which allows us to focus on manufacturing. For this purpose, we have two plants, one in Monterrey to cover the northern region, and one in Queretaro to cover the Bajio, Mexico City, and the southeast.

Q: How does Commosa collaborate with the likes of General Electric, Williams Scotsman, and Caterpillar?

A: We manufacture products for them, but we have also brought projects to them. Caterpillar commercializes a huge family of products. It is very strong on the machinery side, but it does not have the same quick reaction capacity in other areas. We are exclusively dedicated to building mobile and modular living and working spaces, and always strive to be aware of any major projects in the country that may require our products. In many cases, the projects come directly to us and not through our network. However, the projects are often large, and renting modules to a large project is not within everyone’s capacity. In those cases, once we fully understand a project, we get some of the aforementioned companies involved. We sometimes even divide the project among several companies, depending on the number of units they have in stock, in order to provide a quick response to the customer. Overall, it is a massive undertaking to set up 100 connected modules in inhospitable terrain on a very tight deadline. Our customers are very demanding, but we always provide them with realistic timelines and a solid budget, which obliges us to deliver on our promises.

Q: How can Commosa help its customers reduce costs in the short, medium, and long term?

A: First, we must take into account the sites where the units go, which generally have no electricity. This is a very  important factor. For example, the air conditioning systems that Commosa offers include central heating, mini-splits, or a weather window system. The latter is very expensive to be used in a camp, so we commonly advise our clients to use the mini-splits. We must also look at how the air conditioning systems can be powered in a cost effective manner. Commosa follows all relevant construction specifications and our products are certified and comply with American regulations, and therefore, most of our customers are American. Our competitors have developed their own solutions, but due to the lack of regulations, we often see low quality products in Mexico. In this sense, the competition is not very fair. Nevertheless, we are committed to innovation, and we focus on provide cost- saving benefits. At the moment, we want to take a step forward into solar power generation by installing panels on the roofs of our units.

Q: The 10x38 foot model seems to be a preferred oil and gas industry cholice for living modules. What makes this model so appropriate for these camps?

A: Mexico is a big country, where climates are different, and so it is difficult to design a module that works for everyone. The highly humid environment of the Southeastern Region, in contrast to the northern region, where the climate is dry, is just one of the challenges. We have tried to create a unique product for everyone, requiring only a slight modification of materials to adapt to different conditions, especially insulation. We have innovated with fiberglass, which we use for most materials inside the module due to its low maintenance requirement. Last year, our 8x38 modules were audited by companies that are specialized in ergonomics. This led to the creation of an updated 8x38 model and the new 10x38. The larger model was created after a study showed that in a model that was 8ft wide, collisions could not be avoided altogether when people pass each other.

Q: What is the balance between Commosa’s renting and selling businesses?

A: In our business, 80% of the market rents and does not buy. Commosa is interested in increasing its module sales, but this is complicated since we do not sell to end-users as this is the responsibility of the distributors who resell our products. Commosa has developed a product to attack the module sales market which is priced 15% lower without affecting de quality, guarantee, and low maintenance cost. We currently have the ability to produce 200 modules monthly. That is crucial, because if you offer a product but do not have the production capacity, you cannot grow. Mexico has about 15,000 active modules and the majority came from us