Within the heavy vehicle and transportation segments, maintenance operations are gradually becoming more essential as owner-operators slowly transform or merge into fleet companies. In order to meet these needs, spare parts must be carefully selected, necessitating the search of effective and reliable suppliers and distributors. Fortunately, having brands with more than half a century of experience puts BPI Distribution in a perfect position to step up to the plate for these companies as they amalgamate their services. The company is highly committed to innovation, and the braking effectiveness and unbeatable durability of its blocks put them ahead of other products on the market. This has allowed BPI Distribution to secure contracts with several commercial brands like Kenworth and Freightliner, as well as other Class 5 and Class 6 companies such as Hino and Isuzu. According to Vicente López, Director General of BPI Distribution, one third of the company’s sales come from the hydraulic part of its braking systems, another third of sales are attributed to light and medium brake pads, while the final third is derived from its brake blocks. Additionally, the newest product line includes rubbers and drums, which represents 10% of the company’s total sales. “Our rubbers and drums division is the newest of their kind,” explains López. “We are currently close to producing 1,000 parts, which reassures us that this division will pay dividends in the near future. Furthermore, our block demand has been growing over the last five years, and in some instances, at a double-digit pace.”
With Lusac, American Brakeblok, and Raybestos Brakes as BPI Distribution’s main brands in the market, the company has focused on marketing its products through wholesalers and Chinese retail shops. López states that the main reason for this is that BPI Distribution’s structure does not suit a small retailer scheme. Nevertheless, the company does not move completely away from these players, as it supports them with training and information about its products. “Our team of promoters approaches installers and teaches them about our product, convincing them that demand for such items is high. Even though Raybestos Brakes have not been in the market as long as our other brands, it is extremely well positioned and it is well recognized in the Mexican market.”
Following its innovation-driven strategy, in 2013 BPI Distribution launched its new product line Element3, which combines the benefits of semi-metallic and ceramic parts in its components. This new technology is only available in BPI Distribution products, and it will shortly debut in the Mexican market. Noise is an important factor during brake part manufacturing, and Element3 manages to outperform all equivalent components. Moreover, comparing these to basic OEE products, the difference is significant in terms of braking distance and safety, since these allow vehicles to stop 30% faster than normal, with a productive lifecycle 25% longer than other components. Dust emissions are also reduced considerably and the feeling of deceleration through the pedal is significantly improved. This product is specially designed for vehicles manufactured during the year 2000 or later, and is primarily designed for medium class or luxury cars rather than the economy segment. “We think the demand for ceramic and semi-metallic components is a trend that will continue, since the market research we conducted in the US and Canada clearly shows that it is outperforming other devices. Our Mexican facilities manufacture this product in small volumes, but BPI Distribution has specialized plants in the US, India, and China to cover larger orders. Additionally, we recently acquired a facility in Ciudad Juarez, to support our facility in Los Reyes, and we are currently testing the Element3 among our Mexican customers,” states López.
Currently, BPI Distribution’s Mexican facilities manufacture master cylinders, wheel cylinders, piston repair kits, and master and wheel cylinder kits. The plant also fabricates shoe parts for drum brakes, brake parts for disc brakes, and block and air disc brakes. The one product line that it does not manufacture is rubbers and drums, since BPI Distribution’s plant in China covers all worldwide demand for that product line. “Our Nuevo Laredo plant is in charge of manufacturing brake calipers, which is complementing the established manufacturing in Ciudad Juarez, as well as promoting the importance of Mexico in terms of cost and quality competitiveness,” says López. “Our Nuevo Laredo facility is also pending a new expansion. We certainly have the space to grow four times our current size, to satisfy the demand across the globe, since most of our products are destined for export.” Additionally, the company is trying to work more directly with private vehicle or fleet installers, in order to mitigate problems caused by lack of knowledge. There is a lot of room for improvement in public transportation, and BPI Distribution is working with installers and distributers to push the industry in that direction.