Fidel Otake
President of CLAUGTO
View from the Top

Ensure Competitiveness Through Technology Implementation

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:34

Q: How has supplier integration evolved in Guanajuato and how is CLAUGTO supporting this process?
A: Integration into local supply chains has advanced. OEMs have a time frame of five years to establish their local supplier networks and that has given us enough time to grow the participation of local companies. Many Tier 2 businesses are expected to set up shop in Guanajuato by the end of 2018 and our focus at the moment is to support SMEs that want to participate more actively in global supply chains.
We are organizing several events to promote supplier integration in Guanajuato and in our neighboring states. We have also developed a system to evaluate the level of maturity of local suppliers, coupling that with trainings and couching programs during the year to connect the needs of OEMs and Tier 1 companies with the available capabilities in the local supply chain.
Q: What impact will Toyota’s upcoming operations have on the state?
A: Toyota’s operations will bring a new wave of investment to the state. We expect the company will start operations by the end of 2019 and many new Tier 1 companies will accompany the OEM to support its operations. Companies in Guanajuato are already strengthening their own operations to prepare for when Toyota arrives but newcomers will have to set up shop quickly to be ready when the company starts ramping up its operations.
Q: How has CLAUGTO addressed the challenge of security concerns in Guanajuato?
A: Security has become a key topic for our human resources committee. This became such an issue for companies in the state that we had to create a subcommittee focused on asset protection. We are exchanging information and analyzing the state’s situation along with the government, as well as the state and municipal police forces to determine the best strategy going forward.
Q: What impact are you expecting from the current trade uncertainty between Mexico and the US?
A: Our productivity and competitiveness will help us face whatever challenges we might face. As long as companies remain strong and focused on their operations, we will not be fazed by external tariffs. To this day, many plants in Guanajuato have been recognized by their global headquarters thanks to their productivity levels and that puts Mexico in a good position within the global industry. Our focus now should be on technology integration, both in product and manufacturing processes. Within the cluster, we also have a committee focused on technology and innovation. Product-engineering directors and manufacturing leaders gather periodically to create synergies with research institutions to accelerate technology-development processes. Our role in this is to help the private sector connect with the government to ask for funds and resources for technology development, as well as helping companies access new technologies.
Q: How is CLAUGTO helping companies embrace the Industry 4.0 trend?
A: Industry 4.0 will shape the future of the sector. This is a global trend and if we want to remain competitive, the only way is to implement technologies that ensure traceability, efficiency and data management. In 2018, we are launching the 4.0 Smart Industry program with several industrial institutions to help local suppliers become part of this revolution.
Q: How is the cluster incentivizing investment related to R&D and engineering activities?
A: To incentivize this, we can work with local research centers so they focus their operations on the needs of the industry. In this way, companies know their design operations will be supported by a local player. To that end, we are working with the state government to create an R&D center focused exclusively on supporting the automotive sector.