Italian Maker Eyes Consolidating and EfficiencyThu, 09/01/2016 - 14:50
Q: How significant is the Mexican market to Brovedani’s global operations?
A: Brovedani began operations in Mexico in 2009, amid the economic crisis. This turned out to be the right decision for us because we were able to establish a solid base and clientele just in time for the market boom. Our Mexican plant is the first operations location we established on this side of the world. Our decision was principally fueled by our clients’ requests, namely Bosch, to be closer to its production locations. Nonetheless, the suggestion that we enter a country with such high potential for growth made the decision even easier. Brovedani’s objective is to completely fill its 10,000m2 plant in Queretaro, although we have bought a further 10,000m2 for future projects. The company will undoubtedly require this space very soon, as last year we grew by 40 percent and we forecast a further 20 percent growth this year. We would like to consolidate our existing operations to achieve as much stability as possible. We consider precision and efficiency to be paramount and consistently work to maintain our strong reputation to be a profitable entity for our shareholders. Our strategy in Mexico is 60 percent focused on the gasoline segment, which has been the fastest growing market and is predicted to see the greatest growth in coming years. In Europe, Brovedani was completely focused on the diesel market, though recent tendencies show that gasoline is now much more important there. We also have products for suspension parts, specifically dampers.
Q: How has Brovedani adapted to the demands of the domestic market?
A: This facility was originally created to be only a production plant but last year the group decided to award complete autonomy to all individual plants, thus our Mexican team chose to reorganize the plant’s operations. The economic environment is different here and projects cannot simply be copied piece by piece between one country and another. This led to the creation of our eight- man development department — seven Mexican engineers led by an Italian engineer — to develop 100 percent of the projects here.
Our 2016 strategy includes moving the company’s central commercial department in Italy to a more locally managed division. This department manages and closes all the contracts with clients across the world before delegating projects to different plants. We established a commercial department in Mexico to implement more aggressive tactics to cover local market demand. Face-to-face interactions are needed here so I have turned the focus toward implementing this commercial approach.
Q: Can you describe the process of obtaining and developing a skilled workforce?
A: In 2009, the city was very different. Fewer companies were competing for human capital and employee turnover was far lower. Today, limiting this requires a complicated daily process of motivating the workforce. The group must ensure that our people have constant professional development opportunities so that no one stagnates because this risks us losing talented personnel. In the indirect part of our operations, we are training workers from scratch and hiring technicians who are progressively trained by talented operators.
Q: What is the company's stance on automation versus manpower?
A: The cold numbers suggest there is no economic benefit to automating our operations in Mexico and that the cost of manpower does not justify this level of investment. Nevertheless, employee turnover is inevitable and remains high across the sector, while human capital is still lacking in skills. These points, then, suggest the return on investment in terms of efficiency and quality of our products is worth the initial expense. For this reason, we are in the process of automating our operations, following a several million- dollar investment in two robots, which load, unload and arrange components. We have also implemented four semiautomatic machines that can dimensionally measure the accuracy of a piece in 2.5 seconds. One of our targets this year is to reduce staff by 30-40 people by implementing automation processes for extremely precise production. This will help us reduce risk and get as close as possible to the level of 0 ppm that our clients request.