Located in the south of South America, the second largest country which is only next to Brazil, Republic of Argentina(hereinafter referred to as “Argentina”) is crowned as the “granary of the world” and has great demands for electricity.
Back to 2017, five years ago, the South America Business Team of INHE for the first time set their feet in this land where the dance of samba is prevalent, crossing halfway around the world to prepare for AMI project.
At that time, the Argentine power and energy market was much competitive. The utility did not know much about the products and quality of INHE as there was not much historical cooperation experience. Therefore there were very few opportunities to a new supplier while local experienced supplier were also waiting to catch every opportunity on all side, intensifying the competition.
Moreover, the construction of power infrastructure in South American countries was beset with difficulties. In Argentina, most of the meters were single-phase three-wire meters and two-phase three-wire meters. The special local electricity distribution and the wiring method set unusual and extremely high technical requirements for meters.
At the beginning of the project, after several rounds of discussion between the two sides, the meter performance and model could not yet be determined, and the project stalled. When the business team was at a loss, INHE headquarters decided to assign more technical engineers to Argentina to do directional research and development. Two weeks later, the engineers landed in Argentina with several types of newly-designed smart meters, and they directly rushed to the utility even without a break after a long flight. After rounds of field researches, the demand frames got more and more clear and the rudiment of the customized meters began to come into being.
In the product design phase, INHE held many meetings with the local engineers to discuss the technical specifications and standards to improve the localization of the meters and formulate a suitable solution. Finally, the R&D customized meter was certified by INTI/IRAM certification and piloted in AMI system scheme at one of the well-known power utilities, which became one of the first projects to successfully integrate the prepaid smart meters with the software system (SMARTAMI).
It took INHE more than one year to win meter orders in the market without any historical orders and went through from designing meter prototype to finally installing it in Argentine. After this pilot, the utility decided to completely update the existed prepaid smart metering system, and continued to select INHE as the main meter supplier and the technical solution provider.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the demand for meters in Argentina has dropped dramatically and this regular market has has encountered new challenges. Faced with a fragmented market structure, scattered orders and diverse technical requirements, how to break through to win new orders in batch is a major challenge for the Business Team. The team has to achieve nirvana after great pains and find out new ways to make a breakthrough.
There is no drill in the field, and each second is actual combat. The Business Team accumulates experience in each business combat and applies their experience to facilitate business combat. In terms of sales model, the Team integrates multi-channel with multi-qualification, and introduces a third-party and third-country channels to get through Argentina’s foreign exchange payment dilemma, achieving a win-win situation for customers and INHE. In terms of management model, a relatively strong matrix is applied to integrate the software and hardware of the project, creating a new project execution model. The Team reaped the AMI commercial collection and reading project at one stroke, and won the satisfaction of the new customer, establishing INHE’s leading position in the electricity market in Argentina.