June 30, 2021
Hector Trabucco, DFS: “Latin America will be a late adopter of alternative fuels”
Industry veteran Hector Trabucco spoke to PetrolPlaza about his recent appointment as leader of the Dover Fueling Solutions business in Latin America, regional trends and why compliance must be an unnegotiable priority.
Born in Argentina, Hector Trabucco has over 20 years of experience in the fuel and convenience store industry. After serving as the CEO of Gilbarco Veeder-Root for Latin America, he spent three years outside of the industry. In September of 2020 he was appointed Vice President and General Manager for Latin America at DFS.
Q: You took over as Managing Director for Dover Fueling Solutions in Latin America in the middle of the pandemic. How has this year been for you so far?
A: It has actually been great. After three years out of the industry working with a different company it feels good to come back to my roots. It is a great opportunity to lead the DFS business in Latin America. It's been a crazy year – Covid has impacted the demand substantially. As a team, one of the biggest challenges we faced was how to work around the obstacles of the pandemic. It’s impact on demand and how to manage a business.
Our factory in Rio de Janeiro has already been operating for 90 years. Brazil is one of our biggest markets due to our tradition in the country and its size. With 40,000 sites, it is the largest market in the region. We have also been working with major oil companies in the South America such as YPF, Axion Energy, Copec, Primax and Shell for decades now.
Q: What do you identify as the most promising markets rights now?
A: We have made some progress in countries with projects focused on the expanded portfolio, which includes solutions like payment, loyalty and fleet. We made progress in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and Argentina. In the foreseeable future those will continue to be important. We want to continue to grow in our solutions segment as we are already really strong in terms of pumps. In Brazil we are also focusing on solutions such as automatic tank gauging (ATG).
Q: DFS signed an agreement with Alvic in August for the distribution of wetstock management products in Latin America. How do you see the development of this segment in the region?
We have a very aggressive strategy to expand in the future in high value added services like wetstock management and pricing solutions. We recently launched the cloud-enabled connected solutions platform DFS DX on a global level – a solution that allows us to tie together all our offerings supported by data visibility. The system is also part of our offering in Latin America.
Another growing part of our business is payment. We have a unique combination of outdoor payment terminals and pay-at-the-pump function that provides a seamless integration to our customers. That helps to accelerate the implementation. Different sites are more suited to either model.
Q: In terms of fueling, what do you see as an important trend across the region?
A: There is an increasing number of grades being offered. We have several grades for diesel depending on the sulphur content and the level of additives. More fuels being offered is a challenge for the sites as it has an impact on the infrastructure. We have a very unique solution that enables our customers to manage a wider range of grades at the site while minimizing the investment in tanks, pipes and other infrastructure. It's a pump that can actually mix the additives. The site doesn't need to have a dedicated tank for each of the grades. We are looking forward to some projects related to this in Latin America.
There is also an increased demand for data management at the pump. We are working on the early stages of this evolution – having the pump as a tool to generate a richer amount of data and information about the site. Monitoring both the condition of the equipment and the behaviour of the consumer, which is helpful to make decisions around marketing.
Q: You have worked in the fuelling industry in Latin America for over two decades. How do you see the industry going forward? And what are some of your own goals as the MD of DFS?
From a personal side, my goal is to continue to contribute to this industry as a whole. For me it's a privilege to have led the two major players in the fuel equipment market. The industry right now is working with the same basic rules of engagement. Compliance is an unnegotiable priority for all the big players in the market. That's very positive. It allows for sustainable growth.
Latin America is probably going to be one of the late adopters of new technologies in alternative fuels, especially those related to hydrogen and electric vehicles. It will happen eventually but the region will be a late adopter. One, because of the availability of traditional fuels; and two, Latin America was an early adopter of some environmental friendly options like ethanol in Brazil. The biggest portion of the business will continue to be focused on liquid fuels with a high share of petroleum.
[For technology companies], there will also be a transition to a wider portfolio of products including software, solutions and services. No company will be able to survive by just selling pumps. More and more, pumps are becoming a key technology component. Investment in new technologies will be key in the future.