Ricardo Martínez
View from the Top

Refurbishing the Manufacturing Landscape

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 12:01

Q: To what extent has SIMSA influenced the Mexican automotive industry?

A: SIMSA has been operating in the automotive industry for 23 years. I introduced SIMSA to Mexico to support the automotive industry and all metal-removal companies here, specifically focused on transmission and engine manufacturing. In 1992, we started our sales operations, adding our service area shortly after. At the time, few companies had any support in terms of maintenance or repairs, so it was innovative to employ a service technician. We gradually built up this division, which to date has seen the most growth since we entered the country.

Most OEMs are near one of our four locations, in the cities of Saltillo, Chihuahua, Aguascalientes and Queretaro. Our Queretaro branch services General Motors Toluca and Silao, Volkswagen Puebla and Silao, as well as several other companies based in the Bajio region. Our Aguascalientes branch has specialized Japanese-speaking technicians for NTC who cater to almost all the Japanese plants located in central Mexico, including Mazda, Honda, Nissan and Jatco. Our branch in Saltillo caters to GM, FCA, Linamar and MACIMEX, while our branch in Chihuahua supports Ford’s operations.

Q: What led to the creation of SIMSA’s refurbishing business in Mexico?

A: It was an especially important step for us. Before, our biggest competitors were companies that were refurbishing SIMSA’s equipment. We focused on new equipment for many years until repeated suggestions encouraged us to start our own refurbishing operations. We received positive feedback and continued to refurbish highly technical machines. A Mexico-based company that can refurbish grinding, balancing and polishing equipment to the correct machining standards is invaluable and we expect this business to double our company’s growth rate, or better.

Q: Why has SIMSA decided against including new brands in its portfolio, despite customer suggestions to do so?

A: We are not adding new brands because we believe that it would cause us to lose focus on the customer. 

We are certain that our current offering can service any engine or transmission component. Liebherr, for example, makes gear shaving and grinding machines, whereas Gehring works with honing technology for cinderblocks and connecting rods. Etxe-Tar manufactures crankshaft machines for oil holes and ends milling, while IMPCO deals with polishers for crankshafts and camshafts. Micro Poise Balance Engineering, however, focuses on balancers, again for many components like crankshafts and prop shafts, leaving NTC with machining centers and transfer machines for cylinder heads and blocks. We help customers choose the best company from our portfolio and we have made sure there is no overlap between our different brands.

Our connection with the client has always been our biggest strength, as 65 percent of the company covers post-warranty customer support. GM and Chrysler call us anytime they have a new project or if one of their machines needs spare parts. The maintenance services offered to these clients by our technicians mean that they never hesitate to request our support.

Q: What are SIMSA’s near-term goals and expectations?

A: Our first goal is to grow in line with the booming automotive industry in Mexico. As Ford is growing in Mexico and Toyota has announced its entry into the country, we must be ready to produce all engine and transmission components for these OEMs. Our ultimate target is for SIMSA to be present in all engines, powertrains and transmission components manufactured in Mexico. We also hope to expand into the aerospace industry, as some of the machines we manage are transferable, including a gear hobbing machine that Snecma’s plant in Queretaro has already welcomed.

In terms of future expectations, as technology evolves every year, we must be ready to tackle any new opportunity in the market. As new technology often comes from the US, the UK, Japan, Germany and Italy directly to our company, we ensure that we offer the latest innovations to our customers in Mexico.