Alejandro Lara
Director General
American Industries
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View from the Top

Real Estate Developer Well-Prepared for Rapid Turnaround

Tue, 09/01/2015 - 13:15

Q: How has the market evolved for American Industries, and what new strategies have you implemented to attract new clients?

A: Approximately 40% of our clients come from the automotive sector, so we are currently working with various OEMs to create strategies for presenting the shelter program to more automotive suppliers. This product is a comprehensive service package that allows us to collaborate with any company entering Mexico and provide it with all the necessary administrative functions, including human resources, accounting, fiscal operations, customs, and logistics. These processes are specific to Mexico because of our unique legal framework and business practices. That way, it is easy for international companies to establish their new operations, focusing on core business competencies, quality, productivity, and on-time delivery.

Q: What challenges has American Industries faced while bringing new companies into the country?

A: Normally, the main concern is assessing the cost business model, but there is also a focus on the quantity of required paperwork, logistics for importing equipment and raw materials, corresponding customs strategies, and basic logistics of setting up the company. We have addressed these issues by bringing these companies through the shelter program. They can elect to use our legal entity in Mexico, which is already certified in customs transactions by the Mexican IRS, taking advantage of our expertise gained by supporting more than 200 companies already operating in the country. We know the best strategies to optimize tariff payments and tax processes, and we offer this service not as a consulting company, but as a day-to-day administrative partner. We manage everything in conjunction with our clients, and thanks to our administrative systems, robust IT platform, and ISO certified processes, the client has a reliable and accountable partner in American Industries. To complement our offer, we actively work with the state and federal government’s investment promotion agencies. Since the government is proactive about receiving foreign direct investments, and there is actually a lot of competition between states to attract the best companies, this is a mutually beneficial arrangement. The latest Fiscal Reform initially brought some uncertainty to our IMMEX sector, but we have seen an open and proactive attitude from the authorities, giving us a sense of certainty for the upcoming years.

Q: Now that the country is moving away from IMMEX operations in order to become a proper design and engineering hub, how is the shelter program adapting to receive these types of companies?

A: Companies that are more service-oriented can also take advantage of the IMMEX program, given that they may have to bring equipment from other countries. Understandably, due to the sophisticated nature of these projects, these companies present new challenges in terms of human resources, since the required workforce must be more specialized than with other companies. The best way to address this is to work directly with universities and academic institutions in order to provide the appropriate training and even create specific educational programs designed to target the needs of the specific company. For example, in terms of advising our clients on salaries and benefits policies, we use our own data in collaboration with local index chapters, chambers of commerce, and other associations depending on the region.

Q: Now that many new OEMs are entering the market, how are you working to attract all the suppliers coming with them?

A: We are fully prepared to receive all these new players, and we have a sufficient inventory of land in states such as Guanajuato, Queretaro, San Luis Potosi and Nuevo Leon to supply these companies. Additionally, we have investment plans in strategic locations throughout the country to offer inventory space. Some corporations have specific requirements such as thicker floors, clean rooms, or temperature control, so our strategy is to construct standard buildings, and then adapt them to client specifications. For clients with more unique requirements, we collaborate to customize a build-to-suit option for them. In terms of sustainability, there has been an increasing interest in the industry, and with the arrival of many European and North American companies who place a considerable emphasis on this factor, we expect this to become a priority.