TBY talks to Federico Fernández Senderos, President of Grupo SIM, on Mexico’s service-based economy, the company’s portfolio, and the strength of human capital resources.
TBY What circumstances led to the creation of Grupo SIM in 2004?
FEDERICO FERNÁNDEZ SENDEROS I started out very young as an entrepreneur. I began developing service companies from scratch, taking advantage of market conditions. Mexico was meant to be a supplier for different countries, and many big transnational companies were looking to come into the Mexican market and establish operations. I found that it wasn’t necessary to risk a lot of money to start a general services company, which would be of interest to all those big companies coming into Mexico. We’re going strong, and in 2010 we sold services worth $100 million.
How do you assess the services sector in Mexico?
Mexico is a service-based economy, and I have been focusing on services since the beginning, which is where I feel comfortable. Mexico has now developed successful financial and IT services, as well as a host of other services. We have 130 people on our corporate staff, and a total of 20,000 employees.
How is your client portfolio evolving?
We have many large firms on our books, and we have also begun to get contracts from the government. When the government needs to diagnose issues in its human resources or payroll operations, it contracts us as consultants. Large companies also contract us to provide manpower for interim positions. For example, we are developing a product for retail companies around which they will be able to base their growth. We provide people for interim jobs over a few months, and once their training is complete and the company is sure they have the right person for the job, they can be hired permanently. We also help big companies execute payroll operations; they simply send us the information and we do the rest. I think the strength of Grupo SIM is that we have a deep service vocation. We are really proud to be at the service of our clients, and we are concerned about their wellbeing and growth. Another important factor is that we have no direct competition; no one else does what we do. We have people that perform human resources management functions, including accountants. We also have companies that manage funds that provide loans to SMEs. We have different competition in different areas of our business, but there is no one company that provides the same comprehensive list of services we do.
In your view, how is Grupo SIM contributing to the development of human capital and to Mexico’s economy?
Developing human capital is the main philosophy of the company. Everyone on the board of directors, including myself, feels indebted to this country. We have had so many opportunities. I’ve heard it said many times that the US is the land of opportunity, but I couldn’t disagree more. I think Mexico is the land of opportunity. While people can eventually be replaced, we need long-term procedures to ensure the best human resources. We believe that a happy employee is a productive employee.
How does Grupo SIM work with universities to source human capital?
We work closely with young people who are still studying at a wide variety of universities in a diverse range of fields. We bring them on board with part-time contracts, introduce them to different areas of the company, try to understand where their abilities lie, and try to improve their strengths in those areas.
What is your outlook for Grupo SIM over the next five years?
First of all, our main target is to see the companies that are already our clients grow 40% a year. They are small companies with small volumes now, so 40% growth is an achievable goal. This is my main desire.
How many clients do you have currently?
We have more than 200. I would like to see this number grow by 40% a year. We are also running a program to convince young entrepreneurs in Spain to establish businesses in Mexico. We already have five Spanish partners here in Mexico we have invested with, and we assist them with their business and run their back office and financing operations.
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