Seamless Global Design Meets Mexican ManufacturingSat, 09/01/2018 - 10:12
The landing of premium OEMs in Mexico such as BMW in San Luis Potosi, Mercedes-Benz in Aguascalientes and Audi in Puebla has generated new opportunities for German Tier 1 suppliers located in the country. However, Mexico should continue supporting these investments with good conditions, says Michael Voll, Director General of Preh de México.
“As OEMs grow, so will the whole supply chain,” Voll says. “Nevertheless, the country must become interested in companies that provide maintenance for molds and manufacturing equipment. In addition, further development of an education system under the university level of Mexican technicians would give opportunities to companies and people.” Not only German companies setting up operation in Mexico face the challenge of having to train their workforce. Many of them, including Preh, engage in dual-education projects to make this process more efficient. Voll says Preh has a close relationship with CONALEP and CAINTRA in Nuevo Leon. Mold and maintenance technicians can find work at Preh and other companies when they graduate. “Developing a stronger education strategy will boost confidence from German investors thus benefiting the industry,” says Voll.
Headquartered in Bayern, Germany, Preh is a Tier 1 supplier with extensive experience collaborating with European, Asian and US automakers both in the development of state-of-the-art technology for vehicles and in the production of intelligent automotive systems. In Mexico, the company is focused on high vertical integration to produce electronic subsystems, plastic injection subgroups and automotive surfaces for finished goods. According to Voll, all Preh plants around the world use the same technology and have a similar integration in processes to deliver worldwide known premium quality.
After expanding its manufacturing area through the construction of a new building in Preh Guadalupe, Nuevo Leon’s facility, Voll trusts the company will increase its manufacturing capacity by 150 percent once the company ramps up production of new lines. “Our new building expands our available space by 7,500m2,” he says. This space will be destined largely to boosting the company’s injection and paint production capabilities. “We plan to fill this new space as orders arrive for more OEMs including, perhaps, Kia.”
Preh’s plant in Mexico has traditionally focused on supporting OEMs in the US and Mexico, including Ford, GM and Volkswagen. The Mexico plant has a close collaboration with Preh in Novi and Preh Germany where the company designs the products manufactured in Nuevo Leon. At the moment, close to 70 percent of our local production lines are oriented to catering to the needs of Ford and Lincoln,” says Voll. “Preh has worked with Mercedes-Benz for years in Europe and there is a possibility that the company will give us a project once it starts its assembly operations in Mexico,” says Voll. This, however, will depend on the negotiations that Preh’s headquarters in Germany carry out with the OEM.
BMW San Luis Potosi offers growth possibilities, too, as well as Audi’s new operations in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla. “Preh already produces parts for the BMW 5, 6 and 7 Series model,” he says. “We also have a logistics chain that reaches Volkswagen and Audi in Puebla and have passed the necessary audit for painting process at Audi.”
Globally, Preh develops products that OEM clients demand and creates its own technological designs to present at international expos and at its clients’ design centers, according to Voll. The company innovates in automotive systems for e-mobility, human-machine interfaces and other applications, including haptic displays that improve the driver experience. “Today, these devices are found in high-end vehicles in Europe, such as the Audi A8 and a few BMWs, but we expect to bring more of these designs to Mexico for other car lines soon,” says Voll.
Preh has favored inorganic growth to increase its technological capabilities for e-mobility and vehicle connectivity applications. “When we cannot develop something in-house, we look at what is available in the market to offer more complete and better vehicle connectivity systems,” Voll says.