Local Maker Switches on New OpportunitiesThu, 12/01/2016 - 13:47
Q: How has Switch Luz/Electro-Mech Components evolved thanks to its relationship with Boeing?
A: Our experience in aerospace dates back to the 1980s when we began manufacturing different types of switches, especially electromechanical switches. We started working with Boeing and benefited from growing and evolving alongside them, although we can manufacture switches for different applications.
We now work with Boeing, and we have projects with C&D Zodiac, among other aerospace companies, to manufacture components for Embraer, Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Sukhoi aircraft to name a few. Our collaboration with Boeing opened new business opportunities and we are beginning to collaborate with an Airbus distributor, which has shown interest in performing more manufacturing operations in Mexico in the near future.
Q: How has the Boeing relationship supported the development of the company’s manufacturing competencies?
A: Our team of representatives is in direct contact with engineers from Boeing and other OEMs, for whom we manufacture custom-made switches. After so many years working with them, we have developed relationships built on trust and they continue to consider us for new projects and product improvements.
We provide top-quality products. For two years in a row, we have obtained the Performance Excellence Award, for which we had to overhaul our manufacturing process, reassess the company’s quality standards and provide new training courses to our collaborators. Switch Luz/ElectroMech Components successfully obtained the AS 9100 certification. We are audited frequently because being Boeing’s suppliers obligates us to constantly re-evaluate and improve our quality standards.
Q: How is Switch Luz managing the increasing costs of aerospace components?
A: Manufacturing products for the aerospace industry is very expensive. We have been asked by Boeing not to increase our prices since this would inevitably impact airline prices. We have to walk a very delicate line between costs and pricing. Fortunately, we have not been affected negatively by the increase in the US dollar exchange rate since our operational costs are in the national currency and our sales prices are in US dollars. We have maintained our price competitiveness and are actually benefiting from the current exchange rate, at least in the current year. On the other hand, the cost of materials such as polycarbonates, aluminum, brass and electronic components has increased, so our overall cost is level.
Q: What is the scope of Switch Luz’ business operations in the aerospace industry?
A: Even though we participate in other industries, our main business is in the aerospace sector. Seventy-five percent of our production is for aerospace and the remaining 25 percent is dedicated to heavy machinery, medical devices, broadcasting, buses, taxis, firefighter radios and many more applications.
We design and manufacture switches with high-added value for the avionics sector and we perform a high-mix low-volume production. Switch Luz has the capacity to manufacture around 2,900 different parts, including molding, CNC machining, die stamping, conventional machining, solder and assembly operations. We have competitors in the US, Germany and Japan but they also produce different kinds of switches.
Q: To what do you attribute your growth in 2016?
A: Switch Luz is a small company, focused on human quality. We allow employees to grow intellectually and personally. We have a high employee-retention rate, which means our staff feel comfortable with us and they have developed their professional careers with us. Our team totals 46 people, whom we regularly provide with growth opportunities. We have two factors for success: our people and the experience of operating in Mexico for 50 years. This experience in different manufacturing eras allows us to keep the best practices from each generation and face the future in an integral manner