This week’s Interview of the Week is with Sabastián Figueroa, CEO of Fullgas. We discussed the company’s differentiating features, its use of apps and the company’s predicted growth in the coming years.
Q: What is Fullgas’ primary differentiator among the variety of service station brands available in the market?
A: Fullgas has cultivated a successful track record spanning well over six years from working in the mature free market structures that have been in place in Guatemala and Honduras for over 30 years. Our Central American experience gave us the required patience for successful decision-making in the industry. Amid Mexico’s dynamic changes and the entry of several new players with yearly additions and modifications to the country’s regulatory framework, Fullgas is familiar with the inner workings of an open market so we have the knowledge and tools necessary to deal with free market prices and economies of scale.
Q: How does your Central American experience reflect on your entry into Mexico?
A: Fullgas’ Central American venture showcased its capacity to deal with market variables significantly different from Mexico, starting with Guatemala’s Quetzal currency and an operation using gallons instead of liters. While Mexico continues to operate with a single importer, meaning PEMEX, Guatemala’s market includes seven importers. Selling to multiple importers implies strong negotiation capacity to address the various difficulties arising from closing deals across several fronts. We want to showcase in Mexico’s unlocked market what we have learned along the line.
Clients want to witness tangible benefits in the short term when deeply-rooted changes revolve around the long haul. Mexico’s characteristics make it particularly challenging to showcase immediate results, with 120 million inhabitants and well over 13,000 service stations nationwide. Mexico is a challenge we are excited to face and for that reason by the end of 2018 we want to grow our local presence from four to eight states, surpass 100 service stations and provide a fully-deployed Fullgas license.
Q: What is the value proposition of Fullgas’ Bee Safe app?
A: The app was created in-house by Fullgas’ Innovation department. It was an opportunity to thank our customers for their loyalty, based on Fullgas’ close to 3 million gasoline dispatches per month. The app is designed to reward final customers who do not use their smartphone while driving, one of the rewards being free gasoline. The idea is twofold: it rewards our customers for their preference while simultaneously raising road safety awareness to prevent fatal accidents caused by smartphone distractions.
Q: How is Fullgas working to provide a continuous, reliable supply of gasoline at its stations?
A: As Mexico prepares to have several gasoline importers, we are working closely with small service station owners to fully grasp the fine print in the new contracts. While there are several projects in the pipeline, a multiple-importers market in Mexico will materialize in the long term.
Q: How does Fullgas’ El Buen Trato program fit the needs of Mexico’s service stations?
A: The El Buen Trato program is the result of five years of working together with top-tier consultancies specialized in the Mexican market. The program is set to go beyond offering a solution to traditional inefficiencies within service stations and focus on hospitality. Consumer satisfaction plays the leading role in this program. The first step is to have training programs for our service station dispatchers to provide the best experience for our customers and make them feel at home, based both on the customer’s particular profile and the service station’s location. To avoid interrupting dispatch services, which have to work 24-7, we developed a program with trainers and psychologists to reinforce the premise of the program for two hours per month at every service station.
Q: What milestones is Fullgas looking to accomplish and showcase in the years to come?
A: We are working around the clock to surpass the 100-service station landmark before the end of 2018 and break the 600-service station ceiling by 2023. Our goals may seem overly ambitious but our day-to-day operations show the demand is there. It is the primary reason behind our decision to offer a license for our brand for small service station owners across the country. So far, 200 parties have expressed their interest in our license. Our license plan will be backed by a US$70 million investment over the next five years. Fullgas is putting the finishing touches on 10 new service stations in the State of Mexico, effectively turning it into an economic zone for our brand. We strongly believe this critical mass will be the launching pad for other key states, starting with immediate vicinities such as Puebla to then setting up activities to the north in a state like Durango and eventually as far as Tijuana.
This is an excerpt from the 2018 edition of Mexico Oil and Gas Review. If you want to get all the information, plus other relevant insights regarding this industry, pre-order your copy Mexico Oil and Gas Review or access our digital copy.
Don’t miss out on your chance to rub shoulders with the industry’s leaders at the launch of the new edition of Mexico Oil and Gas Review at Mexico Oil and Gas Summit 2019, at the Sheraton Maria Isabel Hotel in Mexico City this July 17 – 18! Register here!