In Mexico, iPS has entered into a partnership with British Petroleum (BP). Whereas until recently all petrol stations were owned by the Mexican state-owned company Pemex, more and more foreign companies are taking over the petrol stations, including BP.
The plans are ambitious: BP recently opened its first petrol station, and in the next five years another 1500 petrol stations will be opened in Mexico. BP’s aim is not so much to open new stations as to rebrand existing ones. iPS provided BP with a PMO (Project Manager Officer), which is the contact between the petrol stations being converted and BP’s management team. The project is a great success.
Guido van der Zwet, Manager Americas: ‘BP is the first company besides the state-owned company to open a petrol station. It was exciting to see how the Mexicans would react to this foreign company, but the petrol station in Mexico City has more than doubled its revenue. Because of this, it even has one of the largest sales per pump in the world.
The Mexicans are happy for several reasons. The sale of petrol is transparent: you get what you pay for. The service is important: there is a shop, your windows are washed and the tyre pressure is checked. There is always a line of twenty cars, non-stop, 24 hours a day.
We provided BP the first PMO (Project Manager Officer), the person who internally coordinates the rebuilding of the stations. Christopher Elizelde, senior recruiter iPS and contact person for the management of BP, mediated this PMO. The complex issue was that the position did not yet exist. In this case, it was mainly a matter of knowing exactly what the client needed and looking for the right person in comparable industries. Eventually Christopher quickly found the right person, with the right experience. The expectation is that we will recruit and mediate more of these PMOs.
For BP and others, we are a company that knows well how to operate in Mexico; we have knowledge of the industry. We are the experts, we give advice and share our knowledge. When these companies are successful, they often also need staff. That is a win-win situation.
BP’s plans are ambitious, yet the market is big enough. In Mexico City alone, there are 8 million cars. The country is 47 times larger than the Netherlands. There is almost no rail traffic, all transportation is done by car or truck. By January 1, 2018, petrol prices will be released and by 2019 anyone will be allowed to import petrol.
We are proud of our first collaboration with BP, and of course we hope that we can also help them with other projects and that this will lead to more business.’
Joost van Aardenne, Retail Asset Management Director of BP ‘We are making history’ Joost van Aardenne works for BP in Mexico as Retail Asset Management Director. As a result of the opening up of the fuels market, his task, clearly put, is to develop a retail network strategy for BP in Mexico and to lead its implementation.
Joost: ‘Our goal is to achieve a nationwide network of approximately 1,500 service stations in 5 years’ time and to achieve a market share of more than 15%. To achieve this, we are opening ten petrol stations a week. We permanently employ between 100 and 120 people to negotiate contracts with owners and dealers and to change petrol stations from the Pemex brand to BP. We also explore the construction of new service stations in good locations.
We have been warmly welcomed by Mexican clients. Why? BP is the first international oil company to open a service station in more than 80 years. This has generated a huge amount of positive publicity. In addition to the BP brand, the determining factors are the prime locations of the stations, the service, delivering the right amount of purchased fuel as well as the quality of the fuel. We are also helping to protect our clients engines. Our fuel scientists have come up with a new and unique gasoline for Mexico – that you can only buy at our stations.
BP gasoline with ACTIVE technology protects the engine from building-up of harmful deposits. We have an active presence in social media, and get lots of great feedback on the performance of our product and on the fact that we give complete litres.’
iPS has found and appointed the first Project Management Officer for BP. This is a key role for providing support to the rapid growth plans for the Retail business and to manage it in a process-oriented manner. Joost: ‘Perhaps more staff will be recruited in the future, such as project engineers, architects and contract negotiators. In addition to retail, BP is also active in other areas in Mexico. The “Upstream” division, for example, was awarded two deepwater exploration blocks. We sell Castrol lubricants and we are active in the supply of aviation fuels to our clients at the most important Mexican airports.’
Doing business in Mexico is special, says Joost. ‘It’s great to work in a country with such a rich history and culture. The liberalisation of the market offers a huge amount of energy and business opportunities. Is it a thrill to participate in this project? Absolutely! We sometimes say to each other here: we are making history. Currently, there is no other country where BP is growing as fast as in Mexico. For BP, the current development in Mexico serves an exemplary role, which we also want to realize in the future in other growth markets such as China, Indonesia and India.’