Electrical components are integral to automotive manufacturing but the industry suffers a lack of basic parts at competitive prices. For companies like Austrian’s FMT, an expert in mechanical and electrical infrastructure installations, this represents an opening.
“The automotive industry needs certified, high-quality electrical components and we have many projects in the pipeline for these applications,” says Michael Giesenkirchen, Head of Sales, Electrical and Instrumentation Systems at FMT Christof Industries México. The company, whose core business includes piping, welding and control cabinets for plants’ equipment, participates in Mexican manufacturing by offering cost-competitive solutions, including the production of specialized electrical and electronic components.
The need for basic electrical and electronic parts is a widespread deficiency in Mexico that executives like Alejandro García, Vice President North America Operations of Harman, and Hideki Ono, President and Director General of Pioneer Electronics de México, have identified as a factor that decreases the country’s competitiveness. According to FMT’s Giesenkirchen, the main problem is that producing these components is too expensive in Mexico. FMT’s global approach allows it to supply the base parts from Austria and to make the final installation at the client’s plant in Mexico. For FMT, the supply deficit also denotes a gap in the available workforce specialized in electrical installations. The company has jumped to fill that opening in the production chain, making its specialized talent one of its main advantages when attracting new customers. Regardless of the size and complexity of the project, Giesenkirchen thinks every client can benefit from the company’s global connections and its team’s expertise.
“One of our clients in the automotive industry is the German company Dürr,” says Giesenkirchen about the equipment and engineering company. “This client knows FMT from its previous projects in Europe and it has already contracted FMT’s specialized services for electrical installations in its paint shop projects in Mexico. Our global reputation precedes us so clients like Dürr are certain we can offer the same added value and quality we have in Europe.” FMT’s approach might be global but it also sees the value in a local presence, which is the main reason behind the establishment of a new subsidiary in Mexico. FMT is relying on the Austrian Embassy to build a local network with potential clients. The company’s global Managing Director, Günter Dörflinger, is in close contact with the Embassy in Mexico to increase awareness of FMT among Austrian and German players.
The company’s ambitions are not limited to the initial opportunity of electrical installations, however. After 35 years in plant construction and modernization processes, FMT has developed the technology and experience to also explore a previously untapped area in the Mexican industry: energy generation through waste.
The segment is an underdeveloped area that companies have begun exploring in Mexico since the country’s market-opening 2013 Energy Reform. Only this year, the Mexico City government awarded a permit to construct a plant for energy generation to Veolia and its subsidiary Proactiva Medio Ambiente México, the first permit to supply energy to the city’s subway system. “The Energy Reform has allowed companies to produce their own energy and even sell it to others. The energy generation sector is one of our priorities for all industry verticals and we hope to participate in these kinds of projects in the near future,” says Giesenkirchen. Energy, however, is forward-thinking for FMT. In the meantime, the company is focusing on installation projects mainly for German companies. The company has already participated in the installation of Audi’s paint shop at its new plant in San Jose Chiapa and since BMW is bringing a manufacturing site to San Luis Potosi, FMT got in line to offer its services to the premium automaker.
FMT’s ties with German players will be stepping stones to other automotive contracts and Giesenkirchen says that his next targets are local clients. “As companies grow, they need a partner that can support their infrastructure and equipment development.”