Víctor Fuentes
Director General of Mitsubishi Electric Automation Mexico / Latin America
Mitsubishi Electric Automation Mexico / Latin America
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The Manufacturing Roller-Coaster

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 09:35

Q: Automation practices are being increasingly implemented in Mexico. What are the potential associated risks?
A: I do not see risk in this process as much as I see opportunities for the industry to achieve a more agile competitiveness. Automation implies challenges, including the development of more local technologies and the training of specialists in products and solutions that boost productivity, process optimization and cost reductions. It also has an impact on jobs — or more accurately, the transformation of jobs — but Mexican companies are willing to change their production processes and make use of the workforce.  
Automation is a large field in which we can advance in terms of integral automation of productive processes. This means having fully automated plants where, for instance, production lines that are usually controlled by 10 to 15 people will only need two operators. Process transformation implies greater investments in the personnel that will design, produce and operate these lines, but will also result in the development of specialized talent. It is no longer about having a worker tightening four screws eight hours a day but having a person who is designing new products and instrumentations to optimize the process adapted to a machine.
Q: How is Mitsubishi Electric making equipment more affordable for companies?
A: The company focuses on making our clients’ ROI tangible and achievable from the moment a proposal is presented. Our value proposition is the lowest total cost of ownership. In simple terms: amortizing expenses at a lower cost during the useful life of a project or the components of the acquired equipment to positively impact asset management. Mitsubishi Electric supports its clients and advises them to take the best possible decision about automation-related investment costs. The keys to success are an assessment of production processes and the positive impact of automation investments, a lower ROI time and a lower total cost of ownership.
Q: How important is Mexico for the growth of Mitsubishi Electric?
A: Mitsubishi is about to turn 100 years old. 2020 represents an important milestone because it reflects the company’s consolidation as a world leader in technology development. There are five great technology suppliers on the planet. General Electric thrives in America, Siemens, Schneider and ABB do so in Europe while Mitsubishi Electric has Asia. China is our main market as it is the largest consumer of technology and components, Europe is our second-largest market and America is the third. Mexico’s significance for Mitsubishi Electric lies in it being an emerging country with a planned and potential yearly growth of between 2 and 2.8 percent that could make it the eighth-biggest world economy. Mitsubishi Electric’s automation division’s sales have grown on a double-digit basis for six years in a row. The market share of this division amounts to 5 percent with a little more in the segment of reversing gears and movement controls. There is still plenty of room to grow and improve in the Mexican market.
Q: How much does Mitsubishi Electric expect to grow by 2020?
A: The company’s main objective is to reach between 8 and 10 percent of the market between 2020 and 2025. The company’s strategies are helping us approach this level but we did not expect the turbulence that has slowed down a few investments. Some companies have placed their capital investments on standby and are focused on keeping a running production until there is a clearer vision about what is going to happen. One of the strategies is targeting the domestic market. For instance, Mitsubishi Electric has several projects with a significant 100-percent Mexican client. This company wants to increase its production and reduce its costs related to personnel. Automation is replacing jobs but two factors must be considered on that matter. First, where a leader wants to take his company and the personnel he wants to train. And second, that this leader would prefer not to make such a considerable investment in automation had he not had problems with employee turnover.