Francisco Gomez – Country Leader Iberia, Ingersoll Rand, Spain
Francisco Gomez, Country Leader for Spain and Portugal, is in charge of one of the most influential divisions within the EMEA region of Ingersoll Rand. In this interview, he discusses the unique portfolio of maintenance services dispensed by the company, the competitive advantages linked to the global foothold of the group, its commitment to the environment through innovation, and the cost savings that can be derived from the company’s innovative equipment.
With 17 years’ experience with the company, can you give us an introduction to the scope of Ingersoll Rand’s activities in Iberia?
“The production of basic oil and gas product requires many transformations. These transformations require major energy consumption and technical solutions. Therefore, the oil and gas sector is very important for Ingersoll Rand.”
Ingersoll Rand was established in the Iberian Peninsula in 1920, starting off supplying rock drill and portable power equipment for the construction of tunnels in Spain. The company has grown to 200 employees working in different businesses. We do have Compression Technologies and Services (CTS) that I work for, we have HVAC and Transport Solutions, Power Tools, Material Handling, Fluid Handling and Club Car®.
Ingersoll Rand Compression Technologies and Services offers a complete range of centrifugal, reciprocating and rotary air compressor products, systems and services for industrial and manufacturing markets and air separation and process gas applications.
We have 7 sales and services offices across Spain covering the Iberian Peninsula and we do also have a manufacturing plant for Transport Solutions (Thermoking ®) close to Barcelona. I handle the CTS business units in all 7 offices. However, the CTS related operations in the factories are not under my supervision. I am therefore on the commercial side of sales and services.
The EMEA region represented 15 percent of Ingersoll Rand revenues in 2016. What is the importance of this region for the group and relatively what is the importance of Iberia?
The company has worldwide presence; as a result, regardless of our customer’s location we can reach them. In fact, global coverage is a mandatory management prerogative, and in some cases, we resort to global partnerships to deliver our solutions everywhere in the world. Additionally, a significant part of our activity is in relation to strategic account management; we do partnership with some of the largest industrial customers we give them coverage for the global scheme.
Despite being only 15 percent of our business, the EMEA region employs over 6,000 people across 33 countries. These people work mostly in the sales services and factory work relating to the different business units.
More specifically, CTS in Iberia represent almost a tenth of the business conducted in this division in EMEA. This is mainly due to the fact we have a long tradition in the country. Indeed, over time Ingersoll Rand has managed to establish a strong foothold in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, food & beverage, motor vehicle industry, glass, petrochemicals, power generation and renewables.
In 2016, 78 percent of the group’s revenues came from what is referred to as the “climate” division, while only 22percent were related to industrial activities. What does this climate business unit mean, and why does it dominate your portfolio?
The climate division of our group is mainly composed of two business. The first is a company called Trane® that Ingersoll Rand acquired some years ago. They were a big company that became even stronger since the acquisition. They offer a broad portfolio of operational and energy efficient solutions that earn customers for life by creating better places for people to work, learn, heal and live their lives. They design and manufacture reliable, efficient and connected HVAC systems, and maintain and improve by our world-class services business to maximize building performance.
The other one is Thermo King®. Thermo King was founded in 1938 and leads the world in manufacturing and innovating transport temperature control systems for a variety of mobile applications, including trailers, truck bodies, buses, shipboard containers and rail cars. Thermo King currently has nine plants in six countries and a global network of over 300 dealers.
How important is the oil & gas sector for Ingersoll Rand Iberia?
First, the production of basic oil and gas product requires many transformations. These transformations require major energy consumption and technical solutions. Therefore, the oil and gas sector is very important for Ingersoll Rand. Indeed, we have customers that have been using our services for energy infrastructures such as gas plants, liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, petrochemicals and transformation facilities for a long time. As a matter of fact, Ingersoll Rand compressors are present in all the refineries across the country for companies like Repsol Petronor, Cepsa, BP Oil for over 30 years.
Second, Spanish engineering, procurement and construction companies (EPC), work for the energy sector all around the world. The EPCs need our products different applications such as plant air, process air and instrument air. They do also require pumps, gas compressors. To cater to their needs, we have developed a complete product range in relation to these applications The API and ATEX engineered compressors for example, specifically designed for the industry, meet the industry’s highest compliance standards and the needs of these EPC companies. Important to highlight, that Ingersoll Rand acquired Cameron Centrifugal Compression Division two years ago to create an extended range of air and gas compressors suitable for many industries but particularly addressing the requirements of the Oil & Gas sector.
The refining and distribution networks in Spain are competitive but mature. How do you see growth coming from the downstream side of business?
Ingersoll Rand is most likely to experience growth through providing services to the industry. In fact, we have developed a highly valued service agreement called PackageCARE® where customer transfer completely the risk to us. With Package CARE® we do take care of the equipment, servicing, maintaining, repairing and even replacing it if it is needed. The customer therefore has nothing to worry about; the entire maintenance of the equipment and risks involved are on our side. The PackageCARE® is a global success for Ingersoll Rand and it has been successfully implemented in Spain for many customers to date.
Additionally, Ingersoll Rand has been developing its Compressed Air Assessments that offer several solutions to help our customers. A professional Ingersoll Rand compressed air audit will help uncover the often complex problems associated with operating a modern compressed air system. From performing root cause analysis, to analyzing system efficiency to recommending corrective actions, our audit team evaluates the complete process of producing compressed air…not just the compressors. So whether the goal is to: Improve system reliability, Improve overall system efficiency, Increase your facility’s productivity, Extend the life of your system, or Identify, troubleshoot and correct system problems, We can partner with our customers to create the best solutions that meet their return on investment goals. As regulations increase as well as the targets on energy efficiency improvement, I expect these types of activities to account for a growing part of our revenues.
As the global oil & gas sector stabilizes, new EPC projects are back on line. How have you coped with the challenging times of these recent years and how do you see the future?
There have not been many projects to perform recently. We have supported EPCs during these difficult times by finding the most efficient solution to provide to their clients. Our ability to manufacture compliant products at an affordable cost has been one of the keys to our success. The second is our global position. It has enabled us to provide excellent support regardless of the location of the project. For example, if we are talking about working on a project in Malaysia, certain Spanish firm would have to export from the Iberian Peninsula, whereas Ingersoll Rand can benefit from its presence in China for example, manufacture from there and then export to Malaysia. As a result, our delivery times and costs are much lower than those of our competitors. To leverage on this competitive advantage, we have changed the processes to make sure we can sign the contracts in time and deliver products in a coordinated fashion. More precisely, we have integrated the actions of our sales, engineering, procurement, operations, and logistics between themselves and with local service people.
Spanish EPC companies are amongst the leaders in the sector globally. How do you capitalize on your Spanish foothold and heritage to boost the business relationship with local EPCs?
There are many employees guiding Ingersoll Rand’s relationship to Spanish EPCs. Our dedicated office in Spain is one of a kind in the sector. Indeed, not many service providers are ready to support the EPC contractors at any time with a dedicated team of experts. Our arm’s-length connection with EPCs allows us to be more proactive and over time become a partner of choice.
What other competitive advantages do you reckon Ingersoll Rand has?
Technology and ability to meet customers’ specifications is the most critical aspect of a product in the case of these Oil & Gas applications. We do own the compression technologies of our machines. Our main technology in the Oil & Gas sector is Centrifugal compressors followed by the Oil Free Rotary Screws. Both products are certified as Class 0 ISO8573-1 for 100% Oil Free Air. We are now in the process of improving the efficiency of our designs with some significant results to date as for example the new RS range that provides performance improvement of above 15% compared to the former generation. This compressors is considered as the most efficient of its kind in the marketplace. Using Ingersoll Rand products is a guarantee to use the best technologies available on the market at the time. In turn, our customers can expect a competitive edge over their competitors. Indeed, not many companies can offer the technologies similar to our offering.
Our long-standing relationships with our customers are also an advantage we can leverage upon for greater performance. Our goal is to be connected with 100% of our customers during the lifetime of our compressors and accessories.
Ingersoll Rand chairman and CEO Michael W. Lamach recently re-stated his commitment to climate action in the wake of the US’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate agreement, and Spain is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the EU in terms of renewable energy. What role do renewables and sustainable energy play in your client base and projects?
Ingersoll Rand is a strong energy player, far beyond the Spanish Oil&Gas activities. Therefore, the Paris Agreements are of paramount importance with regards to our activities. The management and its employees are devoted to energy waste reductions and the objectives to reduce the company’s environmental footprint. In fact, Ingersoll Rand has always been looking forward to safe energy, reliability, and quality. Energy efficiency has always been at the forefront of its priorities for decades. In fact, we perceive the objectives as an opportunity for us to improve our technologies and an opportunity for our clients to reduce their costs provided they chose products adapted to their needs.
What do you see as the future of Spanish oil and gas?
I am optimistic about the ability of Spanish Oil & Gas companies to bring new contracts. Ingersoll Rand will act to the best of its ability to align its capabilities and product portfolio with future needs. Our customers should know that regardless of the location of their project, our global reach enables us to provide excellent support throughout the world. Moreover, our global reach will allow us to follow the equipment we have provided for the entirety of its lifetime. Additionally, customers should be aware our services are reliable, at the forefront of innovation and cost effective.
In regards to Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0. Are you developing this internally or is this the result of partnerships with digital experts?
It depends on the kind of business. In some cases, Ingersoll Rand simply relies on its internal resources. The remote-controlled devices, for example, were internally designed equipment. This technology allows us to perform operating maintenance from a distance. Our machines are capable of giving indicators on the status of the machine and forecast the required maintenance scheme. In some case the maintenance actions can be performed remotely. While the development of such machines is not that complicated, the investments we make heavily depend on what is good for the customer. In some cases, providing a state of the art technology might require external support.