SMART BUILDINGS

Mexico 2018 | CONSTRUCTION & REAL ESTATE | B2B

Companies are focusing on innovation in order to facilitate Mexico's high rates of rural-urban migration and omnipresent export potential.

Dominique Azam
DOMINIQUE AZAM
General Delegate
Saint-Gobain México, Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Perú
ALICIA BANDALA
Managing Director
KONE Mexico

What role does the Mexican market play in your global sales strategy?

DOMINIQUE AZAM Saint-Gobain arrived in Mexico in 1952 and it has played an important role in the group's global strategy. The automotive and aerospace sectors and all others have changed as a result of foreign investment. The company has gone through many changes in the production of glass for the construction, automotive, and abrasive sectors. Although Mexico is considered one of the group's priorities, it will continue to be aggressive in India, China, and Southeast Asia. For two years, we have concluded that Saint-Gobain must grow, taking chances and testing possibilities of internal growth. Mexico's role in Saint-Gobain's strategy is important because of the size of the market and its evolution. The country must continue to receive money from abroad to foster growth. Having the highest number of FTAs, Mexico has high export potential. We are building plants in Saltillo because we are targeting the US; the company's relationship with Mexico is set to continue strongly.

ALICIA BANDALA Our business is growing by double digits even though the economy is growing slowly. We have more systems percentage-wise in comparison to other countries. Moreover, KONE stands out in terms of innovation; it is one of the 50 most innovative companies. Innovation for us means more than just providing an elevator or escalator; we provide an experience, technology, and safety to create an atmosphere and ensure the comfort and safety of the end user. Developers in Mexico are truly early adopters. For example, we have one building that is part of Torre Anseli complex with double-deck elevators—the first in the Americas. In that building, we also have an access control system, where people can enter a building or travel between buildings in the fastest, most efficient, comfortable, and safest way possible. VIPs, for example, can call an elevator from their mobile devices when they approach the building. It is a streamlined solution for access control with elevators and visitors can obtain access codes the day before in order to avoid queues. Mexico is an early adopter of smart design such as project management and building information modeling (BIM).

What are your investments plans in Mexico?

DA We will set up new plants in Saltillo. In March 2018, we started the production of automotive glasses and we are preparing the investment for a third float glass plant, a base glass that is used for construction and automotive. These are significant investments. We are investing in CONTOUR, a line of thermic and acoustic glass production in Cuautla, in October 2018. In three years we have invested USD250 million in the glass industry. We are highly successful in the field of offices buildings and shopping centers. In one year, we will have 11 plants in Mexico producing locally, paying taxes, and creating jobs.

What opportunities do you see for KONE's operation in public spaces in Mexico and the rest of Latin America?

AB We are mainly in cities, which are being driven by mega trends such as urbanization. Every day over 200,000 people are moving to major cities across the world, which provides the pressure to provide housing as well as transportation services in the safest and most comfortable way. Companies such as KONE are facing pressure to use technology to help, with smart design to move large numbers of people in less time. In general, we work with developers and constructors to see how and which technology is useful in each application. For instance, Torre Anseli, or Portal San Ángel, are close to metro stop Barranca Del Muerto. It is a seamless transition between the public transport and the building

What is your outlook for 2018?

DA We will not abandon the social housing sector. Around one year ago, we launched SOL-LITE, a monolayer product dedicated to social housing that has a solar control to provide higher levels of comfort. We are working with the federal mortgage association. We seek to approach the entire housing segment. We plan to participate in a change with allies such as National Commission for Efficient Energy Use and Federal Institute for Workers Housing. At the same time, we are following the automotive market, including features such as high-performance plastics, abrasives, and automotive glass. We are extremely aware of the evolution of the sector.

AB The positive news for our market is that we are driven by the mega trends of urbanization and demographic change. With that, our horizon looks promising. Our market is growing by double digits due to these mega trends and Mexico is a part of that. The residential market is moving rapidly, and it is now one of the fastest-growing markets in Mexico. Our outlook for the future is promising. We have plenty of contracts and orders to execute and will thus be busy in the future.