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MX24_RC_HILTI_eduardo

MEXICO - Real Estate & Construction

Eduardo Silva

President & CEO, Hilti

Bio

Eduardo Silva is the general manager of Hilti Mexico. He has a broad background in leadership roles both domestically and internationally. For 14 years, he held various operational, commercial, and executive positions at the multinational oilfield services company Schlumberger. In 2018, he transitioned to the construction industry, joining Hilti as the director of energy and industry. He doubled the business’s size in three years and assumed the role of general manager in 2021. Silva is an electronic engineer graduate from ITESM, holding a master’s degree in administration from the same institution. He completed the Executive Management Program at IPADE and has furthered his education through executive programs at Harvard Business School, IMD, Wharton, and Yale universities.

"Technological innovations can help improve three key areas: productivity, safety, and sustainability."
Hilti Mexico specializes in technological solutions focused on improving productivity, safety, and sustainability in the construction industry.
Why is it important for the construction industry to invest more in technology?

Technological innovations can help improve three key areas: productivity, safety, and sustainability. Productivity means that we can perform a task in less time with fewer workers. The construction industry has not really evolved much over the past 30 to 40 years. It takes the same time to perform a task as it did in the past. In the other hand, industries such as automotive, have leveraged from technology to make their processes more efficient. In Mexico, there has been a significant rise in the cost of raw materials whereby the profitability of large construction projects is at risk. In the past, the construction business was recognized for being very profitable, with profit margins at 25% on average. In contrast, at present profit margins are 2-5% for many projects, which means companies cannot afford any mistakes. A specific example of investing in technological solutions could be the substitution of a welding point with direct fastening, which not only reduce the size of the crew, but also could be executed about 10 times faster. We have several examples and applications that have a direct positive impact on our customers’ profitability. We still don’t have the positioning as HILTI do in Europe, but this improvement in productivity has been recognized by many of our customers, and despite the industry is growing by 5-7% we are growing by 18-20% while we contribute to the development of the industry. We are a strong company in terms of R&D, with an annual investment of over USD500 million. Therefore, our technological solutions are far above the market average.

In addition to the rising prices of materials, what other challenges are your clients dealing with?

There are three main challenges that we have seen. The first two are the rising costs of materials and the quality of labor. Many people left the industry during COVID-19, and the younger generations are not particularly interested in construction. The third challenge is timing, because everything is becoming urgent. We have seen projects where the engineering is being done at the same time as the construction—that can lead to errors that put projects at risk. Another challenge widely seen in the country is that many do not always see the full picture. Technological solutions are not being used because they seem more expensive in comparison to traditional methods. However, once we work with customers, our value proposition immediately becomes apparent, allowing us to establish long-term relationships. Experience makes us strong because we are a global company. We divide our company by trade and have specialized teams by type of project: high rises, hotels, airports, refineries, combined cycle plants, data centers, and more.

You mentioned 2024 will be a good year for Mexico and for Hilti. What leads you to say so?

The need to improve profitability and build faster puts us in a solid position because the solutions we offer are geared at precisely that consideration. Also, in 2023 we introduced a revolutionary cordless power tool platform called NURON. Typically, what creates the most unproductive time on a site is the need to find an extension cord, generator, and so on. There are other challenges, but having next-generation cordless tools at hand without sacrificing performance saves time. This technology has had great success in Europe and US, and we can now offer it in Mexico. There is a need for warehouses, quick renovations to airports or trains, and so forth, all of which spell a busy year for us, as we increase their productivity. Our market intelligence shows that this year will see an accelerated growth in industrial projects not only related to nearshoring, but also several investments in infrastructure and coastal development. HILTI stands ready to support the evolution of the construction industry in Mexico, having worked closely with public organizations, such as SEDENA and Pemex, and private national and international companies.

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