Jimmy Otani
Director of Business Operations at MISUMI MEXICO
View from the Top

New Investor Seeks Aggressive Growth

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 13:03

Q: What are MISUMI’s development plans for its new investment in Mexico?
A: We analyzed the project for years and we finally decided to pull the trigger on our investment in Mexico in 2018. We thought that the opportunities that incoming OEMs would bring to Mexico outweighed any possible complications in the country. MISUMI has aggressive growth expectations for its new operations in Mexico. The automotive sector will be a key contributing driver for the company considering that most of our sales and products are oriented to this market. Our challenge now is to strengthen our sales to reach growth. Japanese companies are familiar with MISUMI and our products but there is an enormous opportunity with local companies as well.
We understand Mexico has strong manufacturing capabilities and its human capital is extremely competitive. Having local manufacturing capabilities to reduce our costs and our delivery times will be among our future considerations.
Q: What are the main advantages that MISUMI can offer to clients in Mexico?
A: MISUMI imports its components directly from Japan every day with a dedicated cargo. Customers can select from a wide portfolio of components depending on the tolerances, shape and materials they need. They can receive their purchase within days, which is one of the main advantages we can offer compared to other providers.
At the same time, we are aligned with the latest automation and Industry 4.0 practices. As a global company, we are capable to supply German and American players for their manufacturing needs. Right now, our challenge is to improve our marketing strategies to target more international players.
Q: What opportunities will the recent OEM investments in the Bajio create for the company?
A: The arrival of new companies to the Bajio region presents an excellent opportunity for MISUMI, not only Toyota but its suppliers as well. Choosing Queretaro as our preferred investment destination was a strategic business decision. Our sister group Dayton Mexico had already established operations in the state, which gave us an insight on Queretaro's industrial and logistics advantages. Similarly, we analyzed what the state could offer in terms of customs operations. We have daily imports and having the support of logistics companies, as well as access to the airport, was a key issue.
We have approached the State Minister of Sustainable Economic Development to understand what Queretaro’s future development plans for the industry are and what these could mean for MISUMI. Toyota will certainly be a motor for the Guanajuato economy but all its suppliers will also boost the entire Bajio region. There are many new companies arriving to Mexico but we also see an opportunity to target all players currently expanding their operations.
Q: What opportunities do you see to expand beyond the Bajio and into new industries?
A: Presence of OEMs in the Bajio has certainly been an advantage for Japanese companies. However, the north of the country is also a greenfield for new investors looking to grow their participation in the global supply chain.
We are at an early stage in our establishment in Mexico and most of our clients are companies that already knew MISUMI from our operations in the US. These players are now realizing the advantages of having local supply for their products. Moving forward, our plan is to start tackling new companies not only in the Bajio but in the north of the country and to participate in other industries such as aerospace and medical devices. Aerospace is a big industry in Queretaro and Chihuahua and we have high hopes for our participation in this market. We are already planning an expansion of our existing distribution center and the expectation is to grow to twice our current size to manage 20,000 SKUs by mid-2019. At the same time, we are growing our entire product portfolio and our goal is to have over 20 million SKUs available for our Mexico customers.
Q: What can MISUMI bring to the table as a Japanese supplier in a global market?
A: MISUMI does not compromise quality for cost. Our bet has always been to ensure quality products for our clients, while offering timely deliveries to support continuous manufacturing operations.
As a Japanese company, we are also bringing best practices to the country that support our clients’ operations. We are experienced in just-in-time standards and we are committed to maintaining strict quality and delivery standards. Time is critical in all manufacturing operations and we are one of the few players that can meet strict requirements.
Q: What role does digitalization play in your business development strategy?
A: We have implemented an e-catalog and a system called WOS, which stands for Web Order System, that allows customers to draw and select components easier and faster, while avoiding clients having to send a purchase order to the sales department and then follow up with the request. Everything is managed digitally and automatically, thus reducing errors and delivery times. Digitalization is a key factor in today’s industry and players that do not embrace this trend will have their operations obstructed and will not reach all the sectors they could hope to attack.
Q: What are the main areas of opportunity you see in the die and mold market in Mexico?
A: Demand for molds and tooling components is growing in Mexico. Most of these products must still be imported, making it difficult for clients to request maintenance and repairs. Now that MISUMI has operations in Mexico, we have been able to fill a gap in the industry that impacts many manufacturers and companies working in the metal-mechanic sector.
Q: What do you see as the main opportunities for Mexico to remain a key investment destination in the automotive sector?
A: We hope the country maintains the same investment promotion strategy that has been in place over the last few years. Mexico has become a strategic partner for Japan and other countries looking to grow their industries beyond their borders, mainly because of its strategic geographic position and its specialized labor. The country should take advantage of that, incentivizing more investment to come.