Emiliano González
Saltillo Plant Manager
Commercial Vehicle Group

Proximity to Clients as a Critical Success Factor

Tue, 09/15/2015 - 15:57

Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) serves the entire commercial vehicle segment including heavy-duty trucks for the construction and agricultural markets. After years of growing through acquisitions, the company changed its focus to emphasize organic growth. CVG decided to create a company to manage its operating process, employing a compilation of the best practices of the conglomerate. Emiliano González, the Saltillo Plant Manager, began as Engineering and Maintenance manager when the facilities were no more than four walls at the beginning stages of the construction process. The business has grown since then and a further 30,000ft2 expansion has been planned, indicating impressive growth in less than ten years since the foundation of the automotive parts manufacturer.

CVG currently operates two facilities in Mexico; a plant in Saltillo manufactures seating and interior trim products and another in Agua Prieta, Sonora, specializes in wire harnesses. Establishing in Saltillo was a strategic decision based on client locations. CVG wanted to be close to existing customers as they expanded their operations in Mexico, and consequently the company has been able to gain market share in Saltillo as well as the surrounding area. This was not an easy feat, however. González confirms that winning clients’ trust as a new entrant to the area, unknown to most potential customers, was difficult. Through offering tours and visits to the plant to exhibit its manufacturing capabilities, persistence, and good customer service, the request for quotations started to trickle in. The company is now well established in the region and says it is turning these quotes into solid deals. The sales team’s success has been evident. Diligence in organizing customer visits almost every week has led to increased brand recognition for the manufacturer. Aware of the importance of first impressions, the team immediately presents KPI charts with current trends, as soon as a potential client visits the CVG facilities. The company takes measures to make sure that each product meets the individual client’s quality expectations within a reasonable cost frame, knowing that this will generate loyalty and attract more customers via recommendations from existing clients. “They come back with business proposals because they know we can meet quality requirements within their budgets,” continues González. The geographical location is also a considerable advantage; the majority of competitors are not local and parts may even need to be imported from China or India if not sourced locally.

The seats, upholstery, and headliners produced by CVG are among the best in their class. In the three years since launching these creations, 12 diversified processes have been launched, such as the manufacturing of an entire seat or a piece of carpet. CVG now produces various 2D processes including cutting, sewing, trimming, and finishing methods for upholstery, a broad range of plastic and fabric parts, including a variety of cost and design options to match program needs and brand image. “Our  expertise includes 3D processes such as injection molding, low pressure injection molding, urethane molding and foaming processes, compression molding, heavy-gauge thermoforming, and vacuum forming,” says González. He cites the company’s large R&D Center at the headquarters in Ohio as being responsible for technology and competence, which is distributed across the different facilities around the world. Each country then improves and customizes these innovations based on their local market needs, although the designs are owned by CVG in the US. A strong Mexico- based engineering team helps tropicalize processes and matches them with national quality standards.

“We have already outlined a publicly available and ambitious growth plan up to 2020,” says González. The Saltillo plant will be focused on organic growth in the commercial vehicle and truck segment. Economic growth in the US has triggered increases in sales for the heavy truck market, and the Plant Manager thinks that the market will continue with the same energy for at least 12 months. An enduring pursuit has been to share best practices throughout the group’s manufacturing facilities worldwide, which will ensure the company holds a competitive advantage among the many existing and potential buyers that are moving production to Mexico. These companies know that the country offers excellent quality and manufacturing capabilities, and CVG believes that the Saltillo plant is well positioned to rise to the occasion by capturing these new opportunities.