Hernán Rodríguez
Director General
AAMEC
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View from the Top

More Public Debt Finance Necessary for SMEs

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 10:37

Q: How would you define AAMEC’s reception among the local aerospace industry?

A: As a Tier 3 company, our clients have been very satisfied with AAMEC’s products and aftersales. Most of our clients were obtained through word of mouth and networking connections. We are now changing our strategy to improve our webpage and promote our newly implemented ISO certification. Thus far, the AS 9100 has not been indispensable to our operations but we plan to acquire it and our ISO certification will act as a platform to obtain others.

Our goal is to continue growing at a rate of two new clients per year. We have grown much faster than expected and today we are working with aerospace giants such as Safran and Aernnova. Our growth alongside them has been exponential and we are now expanding our operations to include more local cluster members.

Q: How could external entities encourage AAMEC’s growth?

A: Funding has represented quite a challenge. As a private capital venture, the acquisition of machinery has created debt. The processes we perform require extremely expensive tools and machines. I have asked for external funding from the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (SHCP) and the Ministry of Economy but it has not materialized. The Ministry of Economy has recommended we apply for the Entrepreneurship Institute INADEM’s funds, which are extremely competitive and difficult for small companies to access. With support from these institutions, we could consolidate our operations much sooner. In my opinion, public financial entities should simplify their processes and make funds more accessible to small companies. Mexican SMEs represent a significant economic force for employment creation, and all our personnel come from local schools, such as UNAQ. We generate approximately US$70,000 per month in revenue yet we are still too small to access larger programs.

Q: What products does AAMEC manufacture for the aerospace industry?

A: We make special tools that aid turbine assembly as well as those for the manufacturing of wings and stabilizers. So far we have not manufactured pieces that go directly into airplanes but we plan to do so next year. We are interested in manufacturing mechanized components and we are looking for partners to develop projects of this type, such as Eurocopter and PCC Aerostructures. The main advantages we offer these companies include our expertise and profound knowledge of the aerospace sector, its norms, regulations and certifications. Most local companies began operations through the automotive industry but we started the company fully focused on the aerospace sector and then branched into automotive, which now represents 20 percent of our production.

Q: From your experience in automotive and aerospace, what are the greatest similarities and differences between the two sectors?

A: While the automotive sector represents much larger volumes, margins are greater for the aerospace industry. The culture in both industries is also distinct as automotive requires short production times and aerospace runs for far longer. The assembly of a single plane can take up to two months. These longer periods in aircraft part production allows us to implement better and more structured plans for manufacturing.

The aerospace industry also has stricter controls for raw materials, which have to be tracked at all times. On the other hand, the automotive industry requires more quality documentation for all processes as the assembly line operates continuously and should not be stopped.

Q: What are AAMEC’s growth plans for the short term?

A: AAMEC is focusing on the aerospace sector but we will follow market trends and our clients’ needs. During 2016 and 2017, we will take on two more aerospace clients and implement new processes. We will also add one CoordinateMeasuring Machine (CMM) to our dimensional metrology laboratory to make computerized measurements. This will avoid the need to subcontract these services and reduce our costs. We will also buy a simultaneous 5-axis machine. With these acquisitions, we expect our workforce to grow by 25 percent.