Ernesto Sánchez
Seeräuber Automotive de México
View from the Top

Handling Electronics Expertise Remotely

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 12:06

Q: How has Seeräuber Automotive evolved in the Mexican automotive industry?

A: In its first year of operations in Mexico, Seeräuber Automotive invoiced a total of US$2 million. In our second full year in the country we expect a total income of US$8 million by October 2016, representing 300 percent growth. Our mission is to simplify our clients’ manufacturing operations by taking care of processes that might be using valuable human capital or logistics resources. ZF Services for example, is tripling its size and needs to outsource certain processes, including material purchasing and inventory management.

We began with basic manufacturing operations but we are now moving into precision machining and CNC applications. We do not have a direct commercial relationship with OEMs but these companies need to certify our processes. Although the manufacturing processes we handle are outsourced, we are responsible for any defects in the final product. We established a relationship with a technical university to train our people in these services, leading to interest from several clients. We are integrating assembly, welding and stamping activities. This is an innovative approach in the automotive industry that no competitors are imitating yet.

Q: How is Seeräuber adapting its facilities to satisfy the needs of its clients?

A: We renovated our plant in Guadalajara to cater to local companies like ZF and Continental. The facility has been operating since 2014 but its refurbishment allowed us to include more operations. Logistics costs heavily affect our overheads and the automotive industry in general, hence our interest in moving closer to clients. It is highly probable that we will inaugurate another facility in 2017 but we are still deciding on the best location between San Luis Potosi and Silao, Guanajuato. Both Silao and San Luis Potosi forecast tremendous growth in the short term, making them the most viable locations for our own expansion. We also considered the north of the country for a new plant but we are receiving several tenders and believe those most likely to win are in San Luis Potosi, Aguascalientes and the Bajio region.

Q: How does Seeräuber work with its clients to decide which processes are better to outsource?

A: We visit our clients’ facilities to understand their process since they may be operating highly complex operations that are beyond our current capabilities. If the company is interested in outsourcing part of its production we send our commercial team and our engineers to analyze alternatives and offer the best solution to the client. We offer a turnkey service incorporating everything from material sourcing and human capital training to inventory management, assembly operations and final product transportation.

Q: How does Seeräuber plan to include design and engineering services in its service portfolio?

A: We are just starting a technology business unit and we hired our first optic inspection and pattern recognition engineer. The first project we are tackling in this division is automated inspection based on artificial vision and pattern recognition. This will be applied mainly to our internal production but the final goal is to offer the service to our clients.

Q: What strategies is Seeräuber implementing to attract the attention of newcomers here?

A: Our goal is to help new companies establish stable operations in Mexico. Many companies are limited to having only a virtual presence in the country so they outsource all their processes to us. We have approached several clients that are still not convinced about entering the country to explain that we can handle all their processes, purchase all the equipment, train their people, even invoice their customers and only charge them for our services. This is common practice in the electronics sector and represents a very efficient model to tackle any new location. A similar idea is the shelter program that many developers offer, but they do not manage any kind of production. In these cases, the company needs to send its own engineers to organize and oversee the process. Seeräuber can handle everything remotely and our clients only need to visit the operation sporadically. We have not finalized any project of this kind yet but the response from the market has been positive.