SCREEN TIME

Panama 2015 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Eng. Jorge Him, General Manager of Gauss Systems, on delivering consistent services, using technology to promote local businesses, and the conditions and potential for regional expansion.

Eng. Jorge Him
BIOGRAPHY
Eng. Jorge Him graduated from the Technological University of Panama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. Along with his team, he undertakes constant training.

What factors underpin the growth of your company?

The principle factor is our customer service and personalization. We are ready to provide service 24 hours a day. This industry is stressful, because you can have events starting at 7pm, but the set up for such an event could begin up to two days before and when the event ends at 11pm, we do not finish until the next day because we have to break down the equipment. Gauss Systems always stays with the customers.

How does Gauss Systems help its clients to build a stronger image, and can you elaborate on the main services that you provide to your clients?

Gauss Systems is a leading technology and audiovisual services company, both locally and regionally. We have a broad portfolio of several services in the event industry. The main service is rentals, and we offer support to hotels that do not have a qualified staff or expertise in setting up audiovisual equipment. The investment in this hardware is often prohibitively expensive for our customers, who turn to us for support. Another major activity that we are involved in is system integration. We have a department that is involved in systems sales, and we have engineering teams who make original designs for conference rooms, or audiovisual installations, like store displays video walls, as well as videoconference room systems. These systems are for sale and not for rental, and we have a special team who undertakes this work. We sell projectors, like any retail store, but they are for professional level, rather than home use.

What is the current potential of the MICE segment in Panama and how do you capitalizing on it?

Panama has great potential, and we have many companies offering incentive and corporate tourism who need high quality audiovisual equipment; we have worked with many companies that select Panama to host a major convention. The work that the government is undertaking to promote Panama as a destination is also helping us, because many large groups are choosing to come to Panama as their destination. We have branches in other cities, and some hotels in Panama, and operations in other countries, but these are less formal at this point in time.

Are you planning to expand your business in the region? Which country shows the most potential?

We started in Nicaragua, which has a growing economy, and we want to be the first to start in that market. People have asked me why we do not enter Costa Rica instead, but that country already has too much competition to my thinking.

What is the importance of a qualified team in your business?

Human capital is incredibly important, because one person cannot do it all, and on an average day we are working on about six events in Panama. The country has a problem with qualified people, because firstly, we do not have the right education programs to promote careers in this industry. Gauss Systems has to send people to Colombia or Argentina to take specific audio and video courses. We also provide a lot of in-house training, and our human resources team develops courses and seminars for new staff.

What are your priorities for Gauss Systems for 2015?

We want to grow and move from our current rented office. The company is looking for a larger space where we can centralize our operations and install a retail store to grow that area of our business. We already have a small retail store, see a major opportunity there that requires better facilities. There are an increased number of companies keen to purchase plasma televisions, switches, and other technical devices. We have four stores here—the rental store, the project store, the installation store, and the sales department, which handles projectors, plasma televisions, and so forth. Each segment has a specific characteristic and skill set, so the staff working in rentals cannot work in project design, for example, and we have to lead all the operations.