Founded over thirty years ago, Hidroconta is a family business that relies on a team of people the company is proud of. They are passionate about their work and that gets transmitted to their clients.
To get to know better the people that are part of the large Hidroconta family we are speaking with different professional profiles in the company, to learn how the different departments work and the reasons why talent and enthusiasm are key to the success of Hidroconta. Today is the turn of Ana Valverde, Export Manager, who tells us about Hidroconta's philosophy and how the company is seen in the international market, as well as its presence outside of Spain and the company's main export data.
Question: What is your role as Export Manager in the company?
Answer: First of all, as the person in charge of exports, essentially my role is to pursue business opportunities for the company in international markets.
With this in mind, and jointly with my colleagues from other departments, we try to get to know the market in order to align our company with it. Our mission is to learn more about real world conditions, not only regarding economic or business aspects, but also cultural and social aspects in this globalised world, to facilitate the communication between the client and our company.
We define strategic business plans to achieve short, medium and long term objectives, we engage in promotional activities jointly with the marketing department, we are in charge of sales management with potential clients, and we monitor and control how sales evolve.
We reach out to clients through different means: our references based on positive prior experiences, sales visits, trade missions and marketing campaigns, studying the market beforehand. Of course, we must not forget our databases which are the result of Hidroconta's 37 years in business and the trust of good clients.
Q: How would you define the working philosophy of Hidroconta?
A: Our philosophy is, while being unpretentious, to research, develop and manufacture the best hydraulic technology to control water resources, in order to provide comprehensive solutions for our clients' projects. We would like to be international leaders in the development of hydraulic technology.
Hidroconta believes in the value of honesty, being fair and truthful with our work and with our clients, valuing also the reliability of our products and services. We consider these to be the cornerstones of Hidroconta's production process.
Our philosophy is, while being unpretentious, to research, develop and manufacture the best hydraulic technology to control water resources
We rely on the value of our commitment. Commitment to the evolution of the sector and our clients' projects; we take ownership of each of the projects.
We strive to offer our clients the best technologies in the field of hydraulics.
We also believe that a dynamic team, willing to adapt, supports the evolution towards constant improvement.
This commitment is transmitted in the work environment, motivating the entire team, but above all, it is transmitted to the client.
Clients are people like us, who need to deal with companies that do not only transfer knowledge to them. They will of course listen to the technical data and the selling arguments for our products, but what they will really remember is our readiness to solve issues, to address their needs, and our interest in moving forward with them. Attitude is a key driver all along this process.
Q: What percentage of Hidroconta's goods and services are exported?
A: In 2019 the contribution of international projects to the company's portfolio was approximately 70%.
In 2020, we hope to maintain this trend, despite the current pandemic. We are developing new strategies to ensure the trend continues as well in 2021.
Q: How have exports evolved in recent years?
A: The most interesting part of our volume of exports is indeed how they have evolved over the past five years.
We have gone from sporadic or no exports up until 2014, to the development of a very interesting distribution network.
With a solid presence in for example Morocco, with the creation of Hidroconta Maroc, or with our own staff in Italy, as well as working hand in hand with major sector distributors in other markets. Currently, our main markets are Morocco, Saudi Arabia, United States, Vietnam, Portugal, France, Italy, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico…
In 2019 the contribution of international projects to the company's portfolio was approximately 70%
This evolution is reflected not only in the business volume, but also in the new products we have developed in order to adapt to each market.
Q: Which markets demand Hidroconta's products and services the most? In which geographies do you expect to see more progress?
A: Different geographies demand different product types.
Traditional metrologic products are demanded in developing countries like Vietnam. It is a strategic country for Hidroconta, where we have consolidated our position thanks to our distributor, with whom we have a very solid sales relationship.
Products with a technological added value, such as ultrasonic meters with communications are demanded in countries like Saudi Arabia or the United States.
The most interesting part of our volume of exports is indeed how they have evolved over the past five years
Our strategic priorities for 2021 include our consolidation in Middle East countries, with new local staff joining our network. On the other hand, we will continue to increase our presence in those countries where we are already present, like countries in Latin America, Brazil, etc.
Q: To what extent are clients receptive to your products and technologies?
A: Clients describe ours as a company with cutting-edge technology in the field of telemetry and remote control.
Hidroconta's products are perceived as high-quality products, with several added values.
The major one is the communications technology we use with our products, which gives us a competitive edge against products from Turkey and China.
Another of our added values is selling under the premise MADE IN SPAIN/MADE IN EUROPE, a very appreciated brand, particularly in Southeast Asia and in the Middle East, where Chinese products have traditionally dominated the market.
Q: To conclude, what challenges does Hidroconta face in the short and medium-term concerning exports?
A: I think that, in the short and medium-term, the challenges all companies are facing are related to the global pandemic, which is forcing us to assess our entire strategy.
In a time of change, companies must become competitive again with business models that probably have changed. This reshaping includes increasing efficiency, becoming progressively more digital companies. Therefore, companies must find a structure and organisation that adapt better to changes in the market, that is, a more flexible and adaptable structure.
As a result of this process of adaptation and digitalisation, Hidroconta has implemented teleworking and virtual offices, a step we were forced to successfully implement in just a few weeks. Another consequence of this digital adaptation has been a stronger presence and interactions in social media, which replaces other traditional strategies.
The challenges all companies are facing are related to the global pandemic
Not being able to travel has also forced us to develop new strategies to communicate with our clients, for instance, using video calls or engaging in virtual trade missions. New formats we are adapting to very quickly.
Another of our strategies is to develop a culture of cooperation to take advantage of any synergies that may emerge, not only with complementary companies from the sector, but also with communications companies, and even with competitors. That is, we reach a higher degree of cooperation between companies, across the board.
This enables us, for example, to adapt our product to each market (especially those that incorporate communications) much faster since we have local partners.
Those are challenges that already existed. Since the last crisis in 2008, those changes have been present, and now with this pandemic, people have realised that everything that had been foreseen is real, and that, from one day to the next, the rules of the game have changed. In my opinion, it is not so much about the changes this crisis has brought about; rather, the pandemic has accelerated what we have been seeing for years.