FRESH START

Mexico 2019 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

Sasil is a Mexican company, but has grown adept at competing with other cleaning supply companies on both sides of the US-Mexico border.

Bruno Aviña
BIOGRAPHY
Bruno Aviña has been Director General of Grupo Sasil since its establishment 30 years ago. Previously, he served eight years in management positions in both the public sector and multinational companies. He has a master’s degree in public administration.

What factors have helped Sasil remain a dynamic player in the consumer goods market despite a competitive environment?

Sasil participates in the detergents and soaps industry in a significant way, and we have a solid position in that segment. While the market is mostly dominated by multinationals, Sasil is a 100% Mexican company. The effort for us to reach more households has not been easy, and we have thrived by always looking for business niches. We do what logic dictates within a business of this type. For example, there are raw materials that we can only obtain abroad, which is why we are obliged to export to maintain a healthy commercial balance. The industry of detergents and cleaning grows constantly, and we have managed to expand to the US, Central America, and the Caribbean.

How do these two markets—the US and the Caribbean and Central American region—respond to Mexican brands?

The American market is extremely particular. We entered the American market through Mexican residents who tend to concentrate in particular regions. These people were looking for Mexican products, so the competition was not against American products, but with other Mexican products in the US. However, we took a step forward in terms of reaching these communities and letting them know which of our products were available in their supermarkets. Mexican companies tend to export to this region given the proximity. We are closer to the Caribbean than to Tijuana, and Mexico is an important country for many countries in the Caribbean. The quality of Mexican products always stands out in that region. Mexican brands there are aspirational, while in the US they are not.

What trends do you see in the detergent market as consumers become more environmentally conscious?

The detergent powder market is massive. Local production in Mexico is more than 1.5 million tons a year; however, there is a tendency to consume liquids because they are friendlier to the environment, though these require a washing machine. In Mexico, many do not have washing machines and have to use powder. Therefore, liquids will continue to gain more market share as eco-friendliness and the penetration of washing machines in Mexican households become more prominent.

How would you assess consumer confidence at the moment in Mexico?

Mexico has a new administration, and it is still too early to say what will happen. We have grown consistently in previous years compared to 2018, though it is not necessarily a consequence of a government change. When there are competitive prices, people buy more. There are important factors that must be considered. A significant share of the costs of many production companies in Mexico is in dollars. If the dollar is unstable, and the exchange rate is unfavorable, we will face difficult times. Some of our raw materials are derived from petroleum, which also fluctuates. Given this context, finding new markets of revenue remains a priority for us. We want to export more to the countries we already export to and export to more countries. We plan to export more volume to the US and are achieving it. This is an important factor in keeping us in favorable conditions. We have reached sophisticated markets, including Europe. The company is heading toward its 30th year, and we want to continue with the same enthusiasm. The growth of the company has been exponential, and today we have a production capacity of 250,000 tons per year.