Tomas Sibaja
President
Baja Aerospace Cluster
/
View from the Top

Transforming the Mexican Aerospace Supply Chain

By Sofía Hanna | Tue, 03/29/2022 - 09:41

Q: How have the cluster’s alliances evolved and contributed to the cluster’s objectives?

A: Creating, developing and eventually consolidating an alliance means generating commitments that are followed by actions and shared with the industry. Our alliances have allowed us to help companies in the sector to grow. Technology has been a critical factor in this process since it allows us to provide answers and solutions to these companies almost immediately. We see very clearly that the relationships that we have developed have borne fruit.

 

Our latest alliance is with Argentina, which has numerous growth opportunities, mainly in the logistics arena. With these alliances, we seek to speak a common language that unites the aeronautics and aerospace industries.

 

Q: How has the development of clusters outside of Mexico, like that in Colombia, provided benefits to the industry?

A: Clusters have revolutionized the way industries are managed. We saw a need to align the sector and clustering helped us integrate our technical knowledge vertically and to specialize within the same box. We are the oldest Mexican aerospace cluster, formed in 2006, and we saw opportunities to expand the model to other countries to facilitate the exchange of products and services. With this compendium, the process of connecting businesses becomes much more efficient and beneficial for everyone. With this model, we cross borders, help foreign industries to consolidate and open doors for entrepreneurs. Instead of substituting imports, clusters complemented their strengths with those of other regions to improve production.

 

Q: What have been the main technological advances the cluster is prioritizing to keep one step ahead within the industry?

A: Baja California is a hotbed of technology and we have focused on improving processes. Through our contacts and knowledge, we support building initiatives. As a cluster, we seek to innovate in many sectors using technology and gain the recognition of renowned institutions such as NASA.

 

Baja California works with Sonora, Sinaloa and Baja California Sur to create a production hub in the northwest of Mexico, which goes hand in hand with what the aerospace industry needs. 

 

Q: The cluster has been focused on finding new talent in an industry facing problems regarding talent turnover and scarcity. What has the cluster done to support the training of new talent?

A: We have signed agreements with all educational institutions, including technical universities, in Baja California. We have built a database of teachers, administrators and schools to provide students with access to free information on the sector. We constantly interact with professors regarding licensing and other useful information.

 

At the moment, the sector needs 12,000 people, yet there is a large unemployed population in Mexico. The organization is making changes to try to develop strategies to close this gap. 

 

Q: What are the main challenges and opportunities you see in the potential regionalization of supply chains?

A: Some say that the aerospace industry is global and that it is impossible to regionalize an industry that depends on parts and components manufactured across the world. However, the goal is to have the largest possible supply chain at hand to streamline manufacturing processes, which reduces risks, costs and distances.

 

We are looking for ways to regionalize production and be disruptive, help our own industry and avoid disruptions from problems like manufacturing bottlenecks. We have to ensure that most products can be purchased in Mexico in a way that guarantees delivery. 

 

We have to be visionary, strategic and intelligent to survive. For this, it will be necessary to anticipate what will happen and generate economic models that consider several options for managing the industry.

 

Sofía Hanna Sofía Hanna Journalist and Industry Analyst