Long-Term Vision Opens OpportunitiesBy MBN Staff | Mon, 04/01/2019 - 13:25
Price is a key factor for automotive suppliers when investing in industrial equipment. According to Salvador Icazbalceta, General Manager of Heller Machine Tools de México, many global automotive companies based in Mexico will purchase from various tooling and machine suppliers and integrate these technologies on their own to reduce costs. “Many OEMs and automotive suppliers will look for short-term industrial solutions to fulfill contracts and tackle only one or two production projects,” he says.
This shortsightedness has hampered the growth of industrial machine suppliers like Heller Machine Tools that specialize in delivering machines designed to remain productive and stable for much longer than a few production projects. “The industrial equipment we build and install is designed to be productive for 15 to 20 years,” he says. “Our ideal clients are companies with a long-term vision for their investments that are serious about their role as automotive suppliers.” Among Heller Machine Tools’ clients, Icazbalceta highlights the world-class supplier American-Axle Manufacturing (AAM).
Although Heller Machine Tools has positive expectations for the automotive and aerospace industries, Icazbalceta also sees challenges ahead that will limit potential growth. “Results in the industrial equipment sector will be stable in 2019 as some investment projects are consolidated while others remain on standby due to crime rates and government policies,” he says. The US policy of attracting investment to generate new jobs will create further challenges for the Mexican automotive industry, according to Icazbalceta. As a result, Heller Machine Tools’ plan for growth is rooted in supporting its current client portfolio. “Our clients’ production increases will be our main driver for growth in the short term,” he says.
Still, the company has not given up on trying to reach new clients and has created a sales engineering strategy to showcase the productivity and cost benefits of using a long-term turnkey industrial equipment solution. “We calculate all variables that a company will deal with when installing a production line, from lubricant and energy costs to the number of operators necessary and the wear that tools will suffer,” says Icazbalceta. These calculations help Heller Machine Tools show that its equipment delivers a better cost-benefit ratio compared to self-integrated technologies.
The company also offers a variety of added-value services around the machines it sells to ensure their productivity over long periods of time. “There is little point in selling a machine for the sake of selling it,” says Icazbalceta. “We focus on filling gaps in productivity and downtime and delivering a strong customer service to respond swiftly to client needs, which helps us gain their trust and loyalty.” Heller Machine Tools has a department that develops new features for the company’s machines and updates exiting equipment to adapt to new industry trends and needs, ensuring that machines remain productive over the long term.
Heller Machine Tools’ long-term vision for its clients’ operation also entails a step-by-step approach to Industry 4.0 practices and technologies. According to Icazbalceta, the company approaches clients to understand their operational need in terms of Industry 4.0 capabilities. “Being aware of what type of data each company requires and how it will be used are key elements for us to propose a solution that meets the client’s expectations,” he says. However, there is more to Industry 4.0 than just obtaining information. “Clients need to have a clear view of how to process this information and take advantage of it,” Icazbalceta says.