Need-to-Know for SMEsThu, 12/01/2016 - 14:11
Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face more obstacles than large companies in any sector. Economies of scale and established branding cannot be relied upon to secure success as an initiating company in a new industry. Moreover, companies with experience in other industries cannot simply hop from similar manufacturing operations as easily as into other sectors because aerospace expertise is less common and quality standards are highly demanding.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Economy has various incentive programs for companies to secure certifications such as Nadcap and AS 9100 certifications. These are required to
obtain contracts with OEMs. Funds for consulting, technical support and equipment can be a barrier to entry, especially as the costs of these are particularly elevated in the aerospace industry.
Certain companies and associations are communicating ways to enter the segment and offering support to those that want to make the leap. These entities help SMEs obtain the appropriate funding and certifications. They also help new companies secure contracts and manage their expectations of return on investment, in the hopes of consolidating the supply chain and increasing aerospace's contribution to GDP.
The country must promote its quality supply chain. Tecmaq’s goal is to be a reliable supplier, above all, and we are confident that small to medium-sized companies will follow in our footsteps to strengthen Mexican manufacturing. Although we do not offer the cheapest product in the region, we can guarantee the best price-quality relationship. Tecmaq has held the AS 9100 certification for over eight years now and official certifications coupled with our successful alliances with companies such as Honeywell and Fokker build trust in Tecmaq, as well as in the Mexican industry as a whole. These certifications are a must for smaller or new companies to gain the trust of OEMs.
SMEs must be aware of the importance of certifications for the aerospace industry. These processes can be extremely complex, especially for metal machining, forcing local companies to send their products north of the border for specific processes only to later bring them back to finish them. ProMéxico, among other organizations such as Bancomext, supports these companies through the certification process. We are also working with state governments to create awareness of existing subsidies and facilitate provisions for companies. Alternatively, SMEs may choose to be guided by experts that may identify specific issues and help them work with the government. To obtain proper certifications companies can approach ProMéxico and we can help them determine which is appropriate for their plans. We can also put them in touch with the government to receive incentives.
We collaborated with the state and federal governments to position local companies. The cluster operated four projects with Nuevo Leon’s government to develop local suppliers, train human capital and to help companies acquire certifications. This represented an investment of MX$5 million (US$278,000) to help 45 companies.
Before the cluster was established, the state government also created the Citizen Council for the Aerospace Industry in Nuevo Leon that met every three months from 2003 onward to develop a regional strategy for the sector. This helped the supply chain’s creation.
Having focused on working with SMEs for nine years, we will continue in this direction. We would like to raise the cluster’s standards by certifying its activities, supporting its growth. We are closing the connection gap in the supply chain by providing direct services to all companies. For example, we are developing a service to assist in contract negotiation, which is a key aspect of our acceleration processes.
SMEs must understand that the aerospace industry is unlike any other and that it takes a long time to see results. They must invest in certifications, new equipment and professionals to eventually secure a contract. There is significant government funding available to these companies but the biggest challenge that companies face in obtaining these funds is their lack of focused knowledge for their contracts and particular growth strategy.