PORTUGAL - Health & Education
Pedro Miguel Carrilho Soares graduated in textile engineering at the University of Beira Interior and started his career in the largest textile industrial company in the region, holding a management position in the production area. He later joined the Technological Centre of Textile and Clothing Industries of Portugal (CITEVE) in the quality and training areas. With higher education in food safety and quality, Soares and his wife set up Interprev – safety and health at work. The success of the company led him to create a food laboratory for microbiological control, Labinter, and acquire a company in the pest control area, Darkcode. He has been President of the Business Association of the Sector since 2010.
When did Interprev begin to operate in the country and how did the company evolve?
Interprev started in Portugal during a difficult time, in August 2004. Interprev focuses on occupational health and occupational risk prevention, and the company offers other complementary services associated with its core, such as food safety, training, pest control, and fire safety, all of this in conjunction with a microbiology and chemical physics laboratory that we run. We are leaders in Portugal in this area of activity, with a turnover volume that will exceed EUR15 million in 2022. We have a structure of 25 clinics across the nation, from north to south, and more than 600 workers. We capitalized on COVID-19, as we had to protect companies and their workers, and that has been an important commitment for us. In addition, in the environmental area we saw increased demand to disinfect workspaces. From this perspective, COVID-19 was an excellent growth opportunity. We also have an online store where we have many products that are related to occupational safety and the individual protection of workers. Again, with COVID-19 we saw increased sales of face masks, alcohol gel disinfectants, and so on.
How did Interprev position itself so strongly in the Portuguese market?
Our strategy was different from our most direct competitors and the biggest ones in the sector. Our biggest competitors were in Porto and Lisbon, while we started from the center to the coast, from the north to the south. We still maintain this culture in our strategy, which is proximity and being close to our clients, doctors, nurses, security technicians, trainers, and so on. When a multinational arrives in Portugal, it must implement series of sanitary services that are mandatory by law—Interprev is the one-stop shop which newcomers usually contact when expanding their operations in the country.
How would you describe the profile of your ideal client?
Our ideal client is the medium-sized company; they know what they want, they recognize the quality of the services provided, and that it is not that related to the price. We mainly work with national companies, and international clients represent 10% of our portfolio. This segment is growing, however. Every week, we receive requests for proposals from companies coming from abroad. The biggest group is our neighbor; Spanish companies are rapidly entering Portugal in various sectors such as health, construction, and distribution, almost every sector.
How do you develop innovation and apply it in each operation that you carry out every day?
Interprev is eager to seek out new innovations and everything to do with technology. For example, across the country we have almost 150-170 people who are in daily commercial contact with our clients. Everything we do is paperless; contracts, signatures, everything is digital. Our central services collect, analyze, and process a huge amount of data, ensuring our services. We have more than 300 vehicles all in a center with computerized management, clinical centers where we perform medical examinations, as well as about 20 large mobile clinics that go to companies. All these are monitored and managed by a complex IT network. However, we want to do more; we want to use AI and are expanding and evaluating applications in this area. AI offers interesting applications in the training area.
What are your main goals for 2022-2023?
In 2022, we intended to have full coverage of all the districts of Portugal. We still do not have a presence on the islands, which are small and have a low business density, or in two districts in the north of the country, Viana do Castelo and Braganza. In 2022, we intended to expand and are negotiating important acquisitions to further consolidate our presence in the country. This phase will be crucial to expanding our operations outside the national borders. It is time to start thinking about an Iberian Interprev.
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