Clear Rules for Responsible Sourcing
Q: Grupo RO is a consortium that integrates several companies. How does it work?
A: We started as a law firm focused on providing legal assessment on labor litigation across the country, which spurred the development of a responsible-sourcing vertical. Considering the complexity of the legal aspects on collective labor relations in Mexico, we also provide companies proper assessment to negotiate with unions and handle contract terminations. If needed, we can handle the labor-related part of their operations. Today, one of the consortium’s largest companies is Human Access.
Our emphasis on providing responsible-sourcing practices and services also led the group to create Money Access, a SOFOM that provides services to all Human Access employees. We also have Vínculo Systems, which provides technology services to all the consortiums’ companies and clients.
Not all our growth, however, has been organic. Real estate is a good example. A few years ago, some of our clients in the construction sector faced liquidity constraints. Rather than money, they paid us in kind, with houses and buildings. As a result, we created a development company to sell those assets. In the past three years, Grupo RO started acquiring several properties in and around Mexico City, where we see a lot of potential. In addition to companies, Grupo RO has a foundation that focuses on helping to develop communities in the south of the country.
Q: What is Grupo RO’s largest area of interest?
A: We need to return our focus to basic areas such as Corpusiure, our law firm. Grupo RO is expanding operations toward South America and the US so we are in the process of understanding how to adapt our services to other countries. It is easier to export a product than it is to export a service, particularly legal services; therefore, we are consolidating Corpusiure in the Central and South America regions through strategic alliances with law firms in different countries.
Sourcing is also a vertical that is bound to experience growth. We are studying the possibility of purchasing human resources companies in South America. As part of that growth strategy, we tried to migrate our model. However, we felt it would be better to venture into the South American market with acquisitions of companies that are already in compliance with local laws and then adapt our services.
Q: What are the challenges of implementing responsiblesourcing practices in the country?
A: Sourcing depends heavily on your perspective. If you approach the subject from the point of view of compliance, the criteria are increasingly complex. We work hand in hand with triple A-rated companies. However, taking into consideration Mexico’s reality, growth opportunities are not with triple-A companies but with medium-sized businesses that tend to be neglected. This, combined with stricter regulations from the SHCP, sometimes forces them to engage in hiring practices that fall within a gray legal area. We offer these clients services that in the long run will help them become more competitive. Practices and requirements from SHCP should become more flexible to help companies.
We still need the new labor regulations to determine how sourcing practices will work. There is still a significant gray area in which sourcing companies operate. In fact, several sourcing companies that are constantly branded as not responsible are in fact operating in this gray area that is not illegal. According to the reforms introduced in the last few years, the labor law should be front and center. However, in practice this does not happen and we are seeing Social Security and SAT taking on responsibilities that do not correspond to their area. Sourcing companies will not disappear because they help companies make their operations more efficient. The focus of all these changes should be to make business operations easier. However, the authorities are making the rules more complicated, just to improve tax collection.