Tooling Expert Looks Toward South AmericaFri, 12/01/2017 - 14:27
Q: How is Omni-X increasing its presence as a tooling powerhouse in Mexico?
NG: In 2016, we created two new alliances to address our clients’ requests, one with a US manufacturer of bender machines called Horn Machine Tools (HMT) and the second with a Swiss company called Wecotech, which manufactures end-forming machines. In Mexico, these alliances will allow us to respond to the rapid growth of the automotive and aerospace sectors. We are restructuring the company to better handle this expansion. In 2016, our workforce expanded by one-third so we are investing in our employees by bringing trainers from Switzerland and the US.
HV: We are also increasing our capabilities and focusing more on the customers’ needs and on our alliances with those two companies. Omni-X is in continuous development taking the best practices from our sister sites in the US and the Czech Republic to develop our own engineering, sales and machining departments.
We achieved a very solid platform in our facility in Queretaro. In the past five years, this facility was the fastest growing of our three plants in Mexico, the US and the Czech Republic.
Q: Last year you mentioned that the attraction of qualified professionals was a challenge. What is the company doing to address this?
NG: It is generally difficult for us to find qualified people for our specific sector, but during 2016 we were lucky to find employees with more qualifications for machining processes. We are finding better people, so the level of graduates in Queretaro might have improved. It is also possible that as we continue growing we attract better people.
This year we joined CANACINTRA. Among the benefits the chamber offered was the dual-training system it is developing. This program allows students at universities and technical schools to work in their field while they study. The chamber is looking for partner companies to participate in this program, Omni-X is actively engaged
with Mexican society to empower employees and consolidate a transfer of know-how.
Q: How is Omni-X managing the period of uncertainty brought about by the US presidential election?
NG: The company has been growing enormously in 2017 despite the uncertainty created at the end of 2016 in the wake of the US election result. Many of our US clients were wary of the actions their president said he would take regarding trade. Nevertheless, our European customers are strengthening their position in the region and investing more with us.
Omni-X Mexico is a mature company, so our customers feel confident in the quality of our products. Five years ago, our goal was to be known in the country, but our clients now know who we are and how we work.
HV: We do not depend on only one economic sector. Omni-X is active in aerospace, automotive and commercial appliances, so if one sector is hit we can rely on the others. One of our strengths is our customer service. Most of our competition is from the US and cannot provide customer service in Mexico. Customers know this. They are aware of the benefits we can provide.
Q: What is Omni-X’s short-term growth strategy?
NG: We expect continued double-digit growth in 2017. One of our strategic targets for 2018 is to begin expanding our presence in Latin America, especially in Argentina and Brazil where we already have a footprint but not a permanent presence. Our customers in those countries are pushing us to become more active. There are not enough tooling suppliers in Latin America so it is a good opportunity for us. For now, we are focusing on covering that market from here. We might then open an office followed by a plant.