Armando Bravo
View from the Top

CeDIAM Adapts Courses to Engineering Vision

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 14:27

Q: After 10 years, what impact has CeDIAM had on the auto industry?

A: The top executives who make up our Board of Directors are Chief Engineers to some of the main OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the industry, including Marcos Pérez from Ford, David Rojas from GM, Cari Leslie from FCA Group, and Arturo Cortés from Nissan. Together with the government we have worked to define a plan for ITESM and have become the official trainers of Nissan and GM in Mexico.

Mexican Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies are not yet suited to competing with international players, ultimately leading to many imports for Tier 1s and OEMs. We want to substitute these imports with local products by developing our supply chain. To this end, we organized a multicampus meeting at Campus Puebla in 2008, with the participation of Hermosillo, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Puebla and the State of Mexico, and designed our Supplier Development Program as well as a new academic plan for automotive design engineering.

CeDIAM is part of two groups organized by AMIA. The first centers on automotive clusters while the second focuses on universities and research centers, allowing us to connect with all other players in the industry and not solely focus on teaching. We manage R&D and consulting operations since we can offer laboratories, infrastructure and specialized professionals who cater to the industry’s needs. Our strategy is to adopt Mexico’s 2013-2018 National Development Plan of the Automotive Industry, collaborating with AMIA, INA and all other automotive associations.

Q: How have you promoted CeDIAM’s services to Tier 2 and Tier 3 companies?

A: We guide small providers toward opportunities to enter the market through two important events. The first event is Expo Partes, which began in Aguascalientes with Nissan’s suppliers. After its success, we repeated the process in Hermosillo to support Ford’s suppliers and in San Luis Potosi to target GM’s providers. The 2016 edition will target suppliers for both GM and BMW. The second event that CeDIAM oversees is the Annual Automotive Industry Congress, which is a spin-off from the original AKJ Automotive Congress in Germany. After 2010, we decided to extend beyond production, logistics and quality to include engineering and design companies, in line with CeDIAM’s overall vision.

Instead of suppliers exhibiting their own products, our stands are reserved for OEMs and Tier 1 companies that want to expand their national content. Some attendees have the necessary certifications to supply large companies but smaller players might not have the technological capabilities, knowledge or infrastructure to cover projects of such magnitude, which is where CeDIAM can offer assistance. Close to 70 percent of CONACYT’s budget is destined for the automotive industry, demonstrating the government’s commitment to the development of this sector.

Q: What are the main skills engineers must have nowadays to participate in the auto industry?

A: When we sketched out our automotive design engineering program, we collaborated with Volkswagen, Ford and Chrysler to determine the current industry needs. As a result, close to 35 percent of engineers working for Ford are ITESM graduates. We also started adapting other academic engineering programs to meet the automotive industry’s needs. Our graduates speak English and some speak German as well, they are well-trained in CAD/CAE software and many have taken part in exchange programs with major OEMs.

ITESM already offers certifications in different areas such as Six Sigma, Project Management, Quality Process Analysis and SAP in Finance, as well as Logistics and Manufacturing modules. In the future we must develop research and engineering by including experts in autonomous technology, interconnectivity systems and infotainment. From a mechanical standpoint, the trend is to make lighter vehicles by improving the existing materials used. CeDIAM is researching new plastics and composites and passing on requests from industry experts to our university.