Building an Empire

Building an Empire

Key distributor has Mexico on a string

Thirty years ago, Lucy Rivero entered the security industry. She worked as an administrative assistant at a security company, and then worked her way into sales. Four years later, she founded Inalarm, a distribution company located in the heart of Mexico City.

Today, Rivero is a player on the Mexican playbook. The Mexico City facility is central to the other 12 branches located around the country. It also serves as corporate headquarters and a showroom where integrators can bring end users to look at all types of technology.

Rivero is probably one of the most sought after interviews in Mexico, because of her knowledge of the business and her influence. Ask her when she plans to retire, and it is met with a laugh. She simply enjoys what she is doing, and she is teaching and training her son, Ricardo Guzman, the business.

Necessary Changes

Of all the changes Rivero has made over the years, she recently named a board of advisors to help her stay on top of things, such as technology, solutions, the end user and many other facets of business and the industry. The business is growing.

“We receive shipments of new product every week,” Rivero said. “For our company it is all about logistics. Having branch offices all over Mexico has saved us a lot of money. Twenty percent of our merchandise comes from the Orient, by boat, and is unloaded at several ports on the western side of Mexico.”

The products have changed over the years. During the past five years, convergence has played a huge role in security in Mexico. The dealers and integrators in Mexico have had to get used to using best of breed products, and networking products to the Internet.

“Today’s technicians have to be better schooled and educated,” Rivero said. “Technicians have to understand communications, IT, automation, and many for variables that the security market offers today.”

Over the past five years, Rivero has had to up her game as she now competes with several global competitors in the distribution business. She said a lot of distributors have added security to their portfolio, plus having a global presence put added pressure on Inalarm. Rivero makes up the difference by working harder and smarter throughout Mexico. It also helps that 12 branches are strategically placed, and that she is opening three more branches in 2016. The other 11 branches are located in Culiacan, Chihuahua, Puebla, Hermosillo, Tijuana, Juarez, Guadalajara, Guatemala, Monterey, Leon and Merida.

“We offer the best technical support in Mexico,” Rivero said. “Our engineers and technicians analyze the products that we distribute, and if asked, can go out to the field and put together a solution. We’re not integrators, but we can help make things right. We work mostly with the integrator, but once in a while an end user comes to the Mexico City office and buys the products they need. There are many times that the end user will come to our showroom and bring the integrator with them where they go through the exhibition rooms looking at product, or will use our training rooms to better understand the product they are buying.”

Respect and Passion

Inalarm was the pioneer of distribution in Mexico. Rivero has gone from an employee to the executive by developing many good friends in the industry. For her, respect and passion are the key ingredients of success.

“I also had a great desire to succeed,” Rivero said. “First of all, I fell in love with the technology, then I found I understood it and wanted to share the possibilities with our many customers.”

Rivero’s success has placed her on the international stage. She and her team are guests at ISC West, and ASIS, but also at conferences and tradeshows in the Orient. The business, however, is here at home.

The Mexican Republic is home to nearly 113 million people; Mexico City has about 25 million people. There is a need for security, and with this many people, security is on the minds of everyone. Mexico is home to Rivero, who travels the Republic about 25 times a year.

“I enjoy meeting our customers and looking in on our branch activities,” She said. “Our goal is to have happy employees. We’re among the top employers in the Republic. We have been honored twice (2012 and 2013) as a business where employees are happy to work.”

Because products are manufactured outside of Mexico, Rivero tries to keep enough stock on hand for local sales, with major products kept in Mexico City. Enough stock means a supply for at least 60 to 70 days. When additional stock, or even major stock, is needed in another branch, immediate delivery has to happen.

“Customers don’t want to wait on their products,” Rivero said. “Immediate delivery from Mexico City is the only way we can do it. We handle Axis and Bosch cameras, and when they are needed at another location, we move them quickly.”

Understanding the Camera Business

Rivero knows cameras so much so that Inalarm now has its own brand, the Pyxis. Rivero describes this as a low-end camera suited more for smaller dealers. It is a 4-camera kit with the Inalarm label.

Despite the fact that business has been up and down thus far, Rivero and son, Guzman, keep pounding away. Guzman, who is the director of business marketing, plays a major role in day to day affairs. Their goal is to enjoy their work, keep business relationships strong and viable, and to provide a place of employment where employees take ownership of all they do. Overall, the security industry has given everyone a better life.

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Security Today.

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