JAVIER MORENO

Mexico 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Javier Moreno, Commercial Division Director México of Daikin, about recent achievements, major contracts, and new products on the way in the coming year.

What do you consider Daikin's biggest achievements so far in 2019?

Our biggest achievement of the year was being awarded a contract with Grupo Aeroportuario del Sureste (ASUR) for Cancún International Airport. Daikin has a close relationship with ASUR and we are going to replace considerable equipment at the airport. We want to work with ASUR for the entire airport expansion. In the past ASUR has also been very satisfied with our performance in maintaining equipment once installed and running. We are doing the installation work at Cancún International Airport in 2020, and have already started manufacturing the equipment required. The ASUR contract is worth around US$5.5 million.

Is Daikin also interested in participating in the new Santa Lucía Airport set to be built?

Absolutely. Daikin was one of the brands specified for the terminal at Mexico City Texcoco Airport. Therefore, it was not good for us that they canceled and shifted that airport project, but again we are going to invest much effort to do something at the proposed Santa Lucía Airport.

Which private sector projects were the biggest for Daikin in 2019?

In the private sector, it was commercial buildings. Monterrey is one of the core centers for air conditioning because due to its climate. In Mexico City, it was not the best year because many construction licenses were canceled. For us, big projects involve construction of over 10,000sqm and this is precisely the size at which construction licenses were reduced or stopped. Hotels are important for Daikin's business. The company has a big portfolio of solutions for many types of buildings, but hotels are vital for us. There are many hotel projects underway, not just for the big chains, but also for boutique hotels. Those are the ones that not just ourselves, but much of the industry is looking for when it comes to hospitality projects. Los Cabos is another important destination for us, not just for hotels, but also for second homes for the wealthy.

Industry 4.0 is a hot topic currently. How is Daikin adapting its portfolio to digitization?

This is a big deal for Daikin because we are also following these trends from Japan. We are investing a lot in order to align our efforts with Industry 4.0. In Mexico the demand is not there yet, but Mexicans invest heavily in tech like cellphones and gadgets. So the digitization trend is slow here now, but I believe we are going to ride a wave in one or two years at the most. And Daikin hopes to be one of the first companies bringing in this new technology.

What new products and services is Daikin about to launch in Mexico?

Daikin D-Net is a new product and service for us in Mexico. It is a platform where we install control systems that connect buildings, for instance to create multi-site supervision from headquarters and for preventive maintenance. It means it is not necessary to send technicians to the job site to diagnose a problem, but monitor equipment remotely and send a technician with the right parts to do the repair. With this platform you can save a lot of energy through efficiency measures that improve the operation of buildings. The Daikin D-Net platform is also an important tool for our refrigeration division. There is competition in providing platforms like this, but Daikin has some advantage because we are the only company in the industry to have also developed refrigeration technology.

What is the added value Daikin is offering the Mexican market compared to its competitors?

Daikin is probably not the biggest player here because we are new to the Mexican market. But we want to differentiate ourselves in our approach to our customers and the way we serve the market. We try to be close to our customers, such as building integrators and developers to provide them with the best solutions for their particular project or need. We aim at the best of both worlds here by bringing in excellent, but different technology available from the US and Japan. For example, Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) was invented by Daikin in 1982 and none of our competitors can use our VRV technology – it is trademarked. If you go back 15 years no one in Mexico was talking about VRV or Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF). So being a pioneer has given us a significant advantage and a strong reputation because customers identify Daikin with this technology. It was innovative at the time. We believe Daikin is always one step ahead of the competition in terms of technology. Another important and advanced technology we offer is chillers with magnetic bearing compressors, these are very efficient and quiet because they do not use oil, hence no friction, less power consumption and less spare parts required.

What are your main goals for 2020? Are you investing in new plants or increasing capacity?

One priority is definitely to increase brand awareness because we want to grow the business in terms of sales in Mexico. We have a manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosí, but today we are only using 10% of the land we own there. That plant is currently used for one of our specific technologies called Applied Business. But the plan is to have our air conditioning units and VRV production there as well, not just for Mexico, but for the whole of Latin America. That expansion will happen over the next couple of years. Another goal for 2020 is to consolidate our 2019 joint-venture with the Mexican specialist mechanical contractor, CYVSA. We need to collaborate with them for mutual growth. In 2020, we are also going to invest in our customer experience. It is not just about selling our systems and equipment. We want to ensure owners and users are satisfied with the result because that is how we can be sure that next time the customer thinks about air conditioning, they think Daikin.