Carmen Hernández
Director General
Jalisco Automotive Cluster
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Jalisco Cluster Positions for Growth

By Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 04/01/2020 - 15:07

Q: What are your main objectives as the new leader of the Jalisco Automotive Cluster?

A: When I joined the cluster in March 2019, we started restructuring our operations. We needed to sensitize Jalisco’s companies to the need to pool their efforts so that investors would look at the state as a destination for automotive technological manufacturing and development. We also reshaped our administrative area and we created executive boards for each of our work committees, which gave them a sense of responsibility and commitment. We have opened the floor to dialogue and participation, which has given companies a new dynamic. Today, we have four work committees, the main one focused on the supply chain, followed by human capital, academia and R&D. 

Twenty-three companies are actively participating in the cluster through work meetings, forums and conferences. Fourteen companies were invited to join when we began operations but they never did. Those companies are our goals for 2020.

Q: What are Jalisco’s key contributions to the automotive industry?

A: We have a significant volume of auto parts exports. Jalisco also has great flexibility. Our SMEs are looking for business opportunities and they have made their processes flexible to meet the required production capacity. The state is already increasing its manufacturing equipment capabilities, supported by foreign partners. We also have a strong interaction with the technology industry.

Q: How are you helping companies to integrate technology into their operations?

A: For Tier 1 companies, it is clear that technology, digitalization and automation are a must in their processes, which is why many have already implemented the Internet of Things. The market niche with the highest potential for technification is micro companies and SMEs. With these players, we have to create a program to teach them about digitalization and why it is important. SMEs cannot migrate to Industry 4.0 if they do not have the basic elements. That is a challenge for us as a cluster: to make them more aware of this need so they look for the resources to reinforce their limits, making the transition to digitalization faster and easier.

Q: What advantages does Jalisco offer in terms of logistics?

A: Jalisco has a competitive advantage against Guanajuato and other states. Manzanillo, even with its limitations, is the entry port for the sector in Jalisco. The Bajio region is reaching its limits, which means the industry requires what we can offer. Celaya has two railway lines – Ferromex and Kansas City Southern – that connect Jalisco’s loading and unloading point with companies across the Bajio region.

Another advantage we have is that the automotive industry in Jalisco is not yet saturated. We only have Honda, which unfortunately will stop manufacturing its HR-V in El Salto and will move to Celaya in early 2020. For now, the OEM will continue its operations in Jalisco but only focused on the production of motorcycles and spare parts. Salaries in Jalisco have proven to be very attractive in the automotive industry and when we visit universities, people are genuinely interested in knowing about the automotive industry because they know it will offer them better conditions. 

 

Photo by:   MBN
Alejandro Enríquez Alejandro Enríquez Journalist and Industry Analyst