The Automotive Industry's Hidden PartnerThu, 09/01/2016 - 09:56
Q: How has Parker adapted its commercial strategy to the Mexican market?
A: Our hoses, connectors and hydraulics divisions have been our company’s most popular segments in the Mexican market. However, Parker has many other products including gaskets, filters and even automation solutions. Clients may not even realize they are using one or several of our products in their installations. Parker is directly connected with the original equipment market in Mexico. Our client base includes Freightliner, Kenworth and Navistar in the heavy-duty market and Volkswagen, FCA and Isuzu in the light vehicle segment. We are always on the lookout for new OEMs entering the market. We approached Hyundai Truck & Bus’ engineering department as soon as the company established local operations. Parker can offer complete solutions rather than sole products, correlating our solutions with the customer’s needs.
We work closely with our clients’ design and engineering departments to ensure they are familiar with all the new products we offer. Even though most of our products are developed in the US, we try to keep close contact with our counterparts to know what we could develop for clients. It is crucial to identify customers’ needs to offer the best solutions. This contact with clients builds a relationship and attracts new clients to the brand.
Q: What opportunities do you see to develop Parker’s engineering division in Mexico?
A: The biggest opportunity to strengthen our engineering operations is the company’s human capital development. To date, we only employ one applications engineer but we normally have more than one project running at a time. Ideally, we would like to have one engineer per OEM but this is only the norm in the US. Excellent human capital availability in the country, especially in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, would make it perfectly possible to have the same dynamic in Mexico. To this end, we offer specialized training courses for all our new recruits and these courses are adapted to Mexican industry needs.
Q: In which regions is Parker determined to boost its presence?
A: For the past five years, several new companies have introduced manufacturing operations to Mexico. Parker’s contact with them provides insight into market gaps as soon as they emerge. However, our current priority is the South American market. Mexico manages all the operations for this region but we want to open corporate offices in strategic countries to serve local companies. South America is a complex market in which each region varies radically. The characteristic in common is that the South Cone is completely price-oriented.
We make a special effort to portray the benefits of a product with an elevated price to convince pricesavvy decision-makers. Several factors such as extreme climate conditions also affect our components and the solutions Parker can offer to clients. Biofuel is also more commonly used, which generates other mechanical challenges that we would not find in Mexico.
Our sales force needs to grow significantly but we have been successful in the South American market. Being aware of potential challenges means that we can prepare in advance. Parker is being restructured, reallocating resources and evaluating administrative efforts.
Q: How do you plan to diversify your operations in Mexico?
A: We see many new opportunities under our new structure. Parker has a consolidated customer base and our interests lie in improving relationships with existing clients. As we supply most OEMs in the market, our primary strategy should be to understand their operations and know which products we could offer them as part of an integrated solution. Distinct opportunities with companies that have generator plants, apart from the marine and the oil and gas market, could be worth exploring. The aerospace sector also presents an interesting business proposition for Parker, for which we have a separate division in the company. We have already started working in aerospace by building off our experience in automotive and fully orienting our Guaymas, Sonora production toward its specific requirements.