National Instruments' Mexican ApproachWed, 01/25/2012 - 11:48
In the Mexican oil and gas industry, National Instruments has a multi-tiered approach. Firstly, through partnerships with international companies like Key Energy, a US workover company with operations in Mexico, National Instruments’ technology has a chance to gain exposure in the Mexican market and obtain references of its compliance with Mexican norms, law, regulations, and safety standards. Secondly, National Instruments builds lasting partnerships in the local market by providing the technology that enables promising companies to better compete for tenders. Thirdly, National Instruments is also trialing a number of projects directly with Pemex. “In the end, what really matters to Pemex managers is the solution to their needs rather than the tools used to solve them,” explains Juan Carlos Castillo, Branch Manager of National Instruments in Mexico. “They need to solve a problem and want the best solution. When you approach the customer at that level, our position may seem weak. However, when you go slightly below that level and move to the level of implementation, managers recognize the beauty of our products’ capabilities to adapt to their needs versus the traditional model where providers offer a take-it-or-leave-it solution. At the same time, our products are complementary with existing infrastructure.”
A good example of this approach is the SIMVO crude oil and management system initiated by a group of visionary Pemex engineers. Traditionally, Pemex outsources the implementation of such projects through a bidding process. The decision to develop the system in-house resulted in a number of implementation challenges. National Instruments’ LabVIEW software was selected as the optimal solution for the challenge of integrating a mixture of programmable logic controllers and technologies into Pemex’s existing platform. Today, the system measures 4,000 different variables, and National Instruments is working to upgrade and expand it to other areas.
Castillo is clear about the challenges that lie ahead in the Mexican oil and gas market. “Our first goal is to be a widely recognized brand within Pemex. Another goal is having the right business partnerships in place so that we can provide a complete solution to Pemex as opposed to solely our components. The third is strengthening our alliances with research institutions and universities.” By following this strategy, Castillo hopes that National Instruments can build a sustainable business in the Mexican oil and gas industry by successfully going against the grain of measurement and automation companies.