Alejandro Lara
Director General
American Industries
View from the Top

Replicating Quality a Secret to Growth

Thu, 09/01/2016 - 08:17

Q: What are the most important industry developments that American Industries has observed?

A: Many new companies have entered the Mexican market, following in the footsteps of large OEMs, especially in the Bajio area. There have been several plant expansions in the north thanks to the recovering US economy. Importantly, the exchange rate has been encouraging for foreign companies evaluating Mexico as a strong investment location. Improving security conditions in the north has also boosted companies’ confidence to establish new plants and operations, allowing them to take advantage of the peso’s depreciation. Our clients’ expenses are managed in pesos and more often than not their income is tied to the US dollar. Consequently, many have seen their profit margins increase and their capital expenditure requirements drop due to the currency devaluation.

Q: How is American Industries ensuring the availability of human capital to offer its services?

A: We are actively designing programs with companies to retain human capital by making long-term employment much more attractive. Companies may address this subject through economic incentives such as anniversary bonuses, social events on special occasions, quality transport services or career planning within the company. Multinational projects offer great opportunities for Mexican talent. While it is difficult to generalize, most international companies can offer competitive salaries and benefit plans so our clients rarely struggle to attract interested workers. Mexico has a young and eager population, such that there is always demand for new positions. An agreeable work climate is often the most important factor related to staff retention. We always try to emphasize this point with our shelter clients. Also, working closely with investors and explaining known cultural differences and values of the Mexican workforce is paramount. The numerous Asian companies being welcomed here must translate their large investments into an active respect of our customs and law. Simultaneously, local workers have to adjust to newcomers.

Q: How is American Industries differentiating itself to target new players in the market?

A: Our company promotes the diffusion of information about what it is like to manufacture in Mexico, including the costs and challenges as well as the benefits reaped by establishing facilities here. We offer support in terms of site selection and organizing forums and seminars to educate potential clients about each location. Building a sense of trust with potential investors allows us to keep attracting a growing client base.

Our former and existing clients are the best source of reference for new business. We strive to offer the highest quality customer service so they feel compelled to continue recommending us. Replicating the quality customer service we offered in the past is our utmost priority. This is homogenous across all companies that are branching into other markets.

We are one of the few companies that complement real estate with a shelter program and vice versa, which has helped strengthen our market position. Our aim is to be flexible and offer in-depth customization options. As we turn 40, we are now one of the longest-standing players in the market, affording plenty of experience supported by a robust system and work practices to attend the needs of our clients.

Q: What do you consider American Industries' largest areas of opportunity for the automotive sector?

A: We believe we are well placed for any company entering the Bajio region and we have worked extensively on building up our presence in Queretaro, San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and Jalisco. We continue operating in our traditional markets near the US border so there is no immediate need to expand our portfolio. American Industries has extensive land reserves plus the necessary human and capital resources to expand rapidly.

Having witnessed increased trust in Mexican manufacturing operations among US customers and other export markets, we are optimistic about the industry’s future.