Juan Manuel Kuri
Vice President and Country Manager Mesoamérica
Siemens Industry Software
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View from the Top

Leading the Intelligent Manufacturing Revolution

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:07

Q: How is automation expected to boost the development of the national automotive industry?

A: Automation is crucial in all manufacturing systems. For a company to be competitive, quality and price are pivotal factors. The country’s automotive industry is at a turning point since many OEMs and suppliers are moving into engineering operations. This means that apart from being a cost-competitive manufacturing country, Mexico is also becoming a low-cost engineering location. For this change to be successful companies need to keep lowering their production costs and investing in technology to optimize all processes.

Regarding the Industry 4.0 trend, virtualization and predictability are the bases for all engineering and manufacturing operations. Initially, only design processes were virtual but migrating that knowledge to the production level will result in intelligent manufacturing sites. All processes need to generate and gather information to be collected by the company’s decision-makers. This relates to the Internet of Things and to how equipment and devices can communicate to deliver data more efficiently.

Q: How can Siemens change the mindset of its clients from a low-cost labor, short-term benefit approach to an automation-based, long-term gain vision?

A: Certain companies prefer to hire an extra person rather than investing in an automation solution that could benefit the company in the long term. The adoption of technology has improved considerably in Mexico and the younger generations have made this process even easier. The technological evolution of cars also has been a contributing factor. Most salespeople focus on the digital and electronic features of a vehicle rather than its mechanical advantages. To include them, companies need to implement digital manufacturing processes that would foster a suitable environment for the adoption of technology.

Q: What can Siemens offer in integration of processes between OEMs and suppliers?

A: One of the main challenges in the automotive industry is the number of links in the supply chain. Communication is vital between all levels and across borders. Our technology allows OEMs to keep in touch with all suppliers regardless of their position in the production chain. The elimination of all possible delays in product development creates flawless synchronization between those involved. Platform lifecycle reduction is desirable for any industry and this level of integration is the only way to manage it. Siemens is the leading company offering these solutions and the standard provider in 65 percent of the industry.

Between 2000 and 2010, many Mexican companies realized the only way to compete with their Asian counterparts was to either lower base salaries or invest in automation. The millennial generation has pushed the industry toward technology at an accelerated pace. This has resulted in automation being more widely welcomed. Siemens has recognized the importance of the SME segment in Mexico and we have adapted our solutions to the needs of this particular sector.

Q: What is Siemens’ biggest challenge to continue innovating in its solutions?

A: Infrastructure is the biggest area of opportunity in Mexico. Internet bandwidth is still insufficient to support major developments for the Internet of Things. There have been cases where we limited our offerings to clients because of a lack of available infrastructure. Internally we are focusing our efforts on developing better solutions catered to Industry 4.0. Digitalization, data collection, and the Internet of Things have become our priorities and will define our strategies in the years to come.

Mexico has amazing opportunities in the manufacturing sector. Investments continue to be made throughout the country’s supply chain and several reforms are boosting the country’s growth. Companies must understand how to take advantage of these circumstances and make the right investment in necessary technology. Technological integration is a complicated process and even though Siemens is a leader in quality and development, our local support has been a defining factor to ensure the correct implementation of our systems.