Gastón Calero
Mexico Operations Manager
View from the Top

Employee Know-How Essential for Prestigious Spring Manufacturer

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 16:36

Q: Why did Mubea decide to enter the Mexican market?

A: The primary reason was that many OEMs are located in North America, as well as obtaining growing presence in Mexico. The country’s transportation options are very well-suited to the shipping of our products in a safe and timely manner, and there is plenty of well-qualified labor on offer. NAFTA has also created an atmosphere that is conducive to business, incentivizing companies like ours to establish a manufacturing location. Mubea has definite plans to expand its capacity and introduce new products into our Mexico manufacturing portfolio in the coming years. We are well aware of the potential in the industrial and aftermarket sectors, and this year we are creating the necessary marketing structure for the industrial and aftermarket products we currently produce around the world. We are already supplying Mazda, Honda, and Volkswagen in their new locations, and we are currently building relations with Toyota, Hyundai, KIA, and Audi, with whom we already conduct business in other parts of the world, including the US.

Q: Of the vast range of products that Mubea manufactures and supplies, which have the most potential in Mexico?

A: In Mexico, the chassis division manufactures suspension coils, springs and stabilizer bars while the powertrain division provides engine valve springs, hose clamps and belt tensioners. We are satisfied with our successful rate of growth in Mexico to date as we provide a significant volume of products to all the OEMs producing in North America. The long-term vision of our global CEO, Thomas Muhr, and our North American CEO, Doug Cain, has given us the capabilities to build deep product knowledge and a sufficient customer base, enabling us to become a reliable and successful supplier that provides the best technology available in the market. Our R&D facility in Auburn Mills, US, is where most of our valve springs, coil springs, and hose clamps are designed. Locally, we have a designer for our flagship belt tensioner business, but as Mexico continues to grow there will be a greater requirement for these local collaborations.

Q: What are the main challenges in producing Mubea’s vast range of products?

A: The main challenge is in understanding and implementing the technology and technical skills that these products require to be manufactured. Mubea develops much of its own technology in its products and equipment. To do so, we first define the business and technical requirements and compare them with an internal assessment of our workforce to develop a training plan. We perform this at every level of the organization, from machine operator to management. Another strategy is the advanced training we provide for new products, ensuring that when the production initiates we already have well-trained staff with the appropriate knowledge.

Q: What aspects of Mubea’s service did Ford recognize when it gave you the Q1 supplier recognition award?

A: This was definitely a great success for us, as it is one of the most prestigious awards in the industry. Fulfilling the initial requirements has been relatively easy and it will become increasingly difficult to maintain our high standards. Ford is currently our biggest customer in our valve springs business, purchasing close to 35% of our production, and we respect and value them greatly. In order to continue evolving and improving, we need to continually work on further strengthening our quality system. The discipline and standardization of our processes and procedures are the keys to ensure the quality of our products. For example, in our valve spring manufacturing facility we produce more than 12 million springs every month and we have developed the procedures and equipment necessary to monitor and correct any deviation that may occur. The design of our equipment with integrated poka-yoke has helped us to guarantee and exceed our customer quality expectations.

Q: What are your main goals for the rest of 2015?

A: We need to focus on the strategies proposed by our global and North American CEOs, which are threefold. The plan is to attract, retain, and develop talent, to establish further investment in quality, and to focus heavily on growth. The strategy is in place to meet these objectives, so every business unit must focus and make a concerted effort to ensure these goals are met. I am extremely confident that by the end of the year Mubea Mexico will be well-positioned to become the location of choice for new investments.