Achieving Critical Mass in ManufacturingBy Alessa Flores | Wed, 11/27/2019 - 11:38
Carlos Robles, Vice President of Bombardier Queretaro told the audience at the Mexico Aerospace Forum 2019 that three main clusters are boosting Mexico’s national and international strategies to strengthen the aerospace industry. “Each of the clusters is integrated and focused on developing strategies to improve their state’s industry but also work together in creating better conditions to help the industry grow,” he said at the Marquis Hotel in Mexico City on Wednesday.
The three clusters from Monterrey, Chihuahua and Queretaro agreed that the development of programs to address aerospace needs is one of the strategies that clusters are implementing together. “Together, we have identified three main areas that are key to boosting the sector: competitiveness regarding human talent, supply chain and investment,” said Claire Barnouin, Executive Director of Monterrey Aerocluster.
In addition, Managing Director of Aerocluster Queretaro Antonio Velázquez stressed that talent and consistency have been keys to state and regional strategies. “Human talent has been the basis of our success, along with the consistency of our actions across time to push the development of the sector.” He continued saying, “the establishment of the UNAQ in Queretaro and the sum of beneficial factors between the state and the cluster were decisive for Bombardier to establish in the state.”
For Chihuahua Aerocluster’s part, the contribution to the joint strategy has been the support for the country’s SMEs in the sector. “The support for SMEs has generated the appearance of companies to fill gaps that large companies and other existing companies have not been able to fill, thus strengthening the entire value chain,” René Espinosa, President of the Chihuahua Aerospace Cluster, said.
Despite the three clusters working together, each also saw particular areas of interest when trying to strengthen their value chain. Queretaro is focusing on taking decisions in a surgical manner for critical areas of the sector. “SMEs are key to the sector, so in the state these have preferential payment schemes and other benefits to ensure fair competition in the market with other players,” said Velázquez.
For Monterrey, communicating the benefits of the sector is the cluster's main support tool. "Sharing and communicating the opportunities of the aerospace sector has helped companies to enter and link up with the supply chain," said Barnouin. Although the strategy was planned for the aerospace sector, this benefit has spread to other sectors. "The cluster focuses on providing a wide range of services to different sectors. Thanks to this, other industries have learned from the aerospace sector, which has been the least affected by Mexico's economic recession," said Barnouin.
In the case of the Chihuahua Aerospace Cluster, the strengthening of the value chain has focused on mapping the companies and the areas they serve. “In 2013, the cluster created a route map of the different components and identified the local capacities established to know which other companies could complement the value chain,” said Espinosa. He stressed that the mapping has been a complex but necessary process to boost Chihuahua’s competitiveness.
Approaching the end of the discussion, moderator Robles highlighted that the Golden Aerospace Triangle, consisting of Monterrey, Chihuahua and Queretaro, will be crucial to the strengthening and national development of the industry. For Espinosa, “it is not necessary to have a cluster by state, but a proper representation and support that drives from the existing clusters to other states.”
In the same vein, Barnouin highlighted the importance of continuing to work on individual strategies that are tailored to the needs of each state. “Each of the states has, in addition to the opportunities and general challenges, particular characteristics. It is not possible to ignore local needs due to national conditions, but it is necessary to work on multiple schemes and levels.”