Oscar Llamas
General Manager
Forjadora Mexicana de Tornillos

Certifications Key to Better Opportunities

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 10:21

Besides quality, commitment and persistence, suppliers need certifications to work with OEMs in the automotive industry, according to the General Manager of Forjadora Mexicana de Tornillos (FMTOR) Oscar Llamas. “Certifications and quality controls in our processes allowed us to supply an OEM in about six months. Persistence and fulfilling promises to clients are key. We have to focus on quality and following up on the client relationship,” he says.

FMTOR is a company with over 40 years of experience in the industry working to provide development, manufacturing and marketing of screws to satisfy customers’ requirements using a Quality Management System. In 2005, an imports boom from China hit Mexican screw production, with only 15 manufacturers surviving the onslaught out of the 50 that were originally in the country. One of those survivors was FMTOR. Llamas explains teamwork, cost reduction and specialization, along with product customization, were decisive factors for the company. "We make the screws based on the needs of our customers. Everything is on demand and we have no stock."

The trade war between the US and China also provided companies with an opportunity to turn the market around as the industry looks for national suppliers, according to Llamas. Having said that, Llamas admits that there is a great challenge to overcome: the poor image of Mexican production. “Customers want to shop for Chinese prices and that cannot continue,” he says.

The price issue is even more relevant when considering the production volumes needed to sustain such manufacturing operations. Llamas mention “it is difficult to diversify its client portfolio since large volume orders are needed. The disadvantage of a screw is that it cannot be manufactured automatically. “We produce different screws throughout the day to offset that gap in demand. This leads to delays and higher costs as operators must constantly manipulate the machinery to adjust it to each design."

Currently, the Mexican company manufactures 8 tons of screws per month and the automotive industry receives 20 percent of this portfolio, a percentage expected to grow to 40 percent in 2020. In addition, the company is strengthening its relationship with the Automotive Cluster of the State of Mexico, in which it enrolled in 2019.