Armando Ávila
Vice President NMEX MFG
Nissan Mexicana
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View from the Top

Mexico a Global Benchmark for Nissan

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 11:33

Q: How is Nissan balancing its manufacturing operations across its locations?

A: Nissan Mexicana is the top producer in Mexico with four production lines. We accounted for 26 percent of the country’s car production in the first half of 2016, producing 155 cars per hour. Our A1 plant in Aguascalientes is Nissan’s fastest production line worldwide with a capacity to manufacture 65 cars per hour on a single line. Together, Nissan’s A1 and A2 plants are producing one vehicle every 37 seconds. Besides final assembly, A1 also has a powertrain plant that completes one engine every 17 seconds for the cars produced in A1, A2 and Cuernavaca, Morelos, in addition to engine components that are exported mainly to Japan, the US and Brazil. We manufacture 11 different products in Mexico. The flexibility of our plants in Cuernavaca and Aguascalientes allows us to balance the production among both sites according to market tendencies in the US, Mexico and South America. Our products are exported to 30 different countries mainly in North and South America. In A1, we manufacture five different models, while the CIVAC plant produces six models including the New York Taxi and the NV200 that are not commercialized in Mexico.

Q: What infrastructure needs does Nissan Mexicana foresee to maintain operational growth?

A: Mexico is set to produce at least 5 million units in the next five years. Nissan will play an important role through its new Aguascalientes production site COMPAS that will start operations in November 2017, manufacturing premium vehicles for both Infiniti and Daimler. The government has increased road infrastructure but there is room for improvement due to new facilities in the area surrounding Aguascalientes. For the industry to continue growing, improving infrastructure needs to be a joint objective. Connecting key points by train such as Manzanillo, Colima; Aguascalientes; and Piedras Negras, Coahuila would mean shorter routes for production sites in Mexico and the US. Hence the importance of making connectivity a priority.

Q: How has the integration of Industry 4.0 procedures into Nissan Mexicana modernized and improved manufacturing, communication and connectivity?

A: Nissan Mexicana operations are based on the Douki Seisan system, which synchronizes our vehicle production, internal engine, stamped and plastic parts production, as well as the integration of parts from external suppliers. That helps us achieve high competitiveness in terms of inventory control, damaged material and highly accurate production times, synchronizing our vehicle shipments to all our dealers and the final customer.

Our whole production chain is integrated and connected. Since materials are shipped to site, we track their position and time of arrival. We keep track of imported components at all times to foresee probable interruptions on their way to the plant. Working intensively with our suppliers has allowed us to have the same language in terms of synchronization, supported by logistics training we give all our suppliers. Our Mexico operations are the international benchmark for the countries in which Nissan operates, with 99 percent precision in our production schedule. The automotive industry in Mexico offers an important investment opportunity and we want to make sure that our employees are ready to work through the constant innovations of the industry.

Q: What is Nissan Mexicana's approach to human capital development?

A: Nissan Mexicana is investing resources in training. The Nissan School program started in 2001 to attract specialized technicians and engineers. Students can develop a project within Nissan for six or 12 months, strengthening their academic background by following actual industry needs.

Q: What are the company’s sustainability objectives?

A: Our sustainability strategy is based on the global Nissan Green Program. Its main pillars are carbon footprint reduction, waste reduction, recycling and water consumption reduction. Over 50 percent of the energy used in our plants is clean and free of CO2, coming from renewable sources such as wind parks and biogas. We have reduced the CO2 emissions at our plants 57 percent since 2006, we recycle 100 percent of our waste and our water treatment plants allow us to reuse water for internal consumption in green and services areas.