Conrado Rolón
Chief Operating Officer
American Industries Group
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View from the Top

Shelter and Real Estate Services in Chihuahua and Beyond

Mon, 09/01/2014 - 10:47

Q: How has the evolution of your real estate and shelter services taken place, expanding from Chihuahua to across Mexico?

A: Real estate and shelter are our two core businesses, and allow us to cater to clients in a wide range of industries. At the moment, we are providing buildings that are chosen according to the specific needs of our approximately 50 customers in a variety of sectors. The shelter program is generally less dependent on local variations, so we provide a similar range of services to all clients seeking shelter. As for our geographical expansion, American Industries started in Chihuahua but we soon saw opportunities in places such as Monterrey. The rise of the Bajio region as an investment destination led us to create American Industries de Occidente, located in Guadalajara, Jalisco. At this time, automotive customers are a major component of our client list, and we have clients in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Monterrey, Querétaro and Guadalajara. Focusing on Chihuahua and the Bajio allows us to remain close to our clients, and they know we can handle special requirements if they need to establish another plant close to OEMs in these areas. We are currently working to move one supplier nearer the new Honda and Nissan plants in the Bajio. American Industries Group sees itself as a facilitator and places particular emphasis on having good relationships based on trust with the local people. At the moment, around 30% of our revenue comes from the automotive industry and 70% comes from the rest, especially aerospace.

Q: What are your priorities for catering to the automotive industry?

A: We are working closely to keep drumming up business with large companies such as Honda or Mazda. As Mexico continues to develop, OEMs will come here with a longer list of requirements, and American Industries Group is ready to meet their needs. We have set ourselves the goal of finding five new automotive customers over the next year, using our understanding of the higher requirements that the automotive industry presents, as compared to aerospace for example. From our existing customer base, Sumitomo is an example of a successful automotive client. This Japanese giant has been with us since 1985 and we have done a lot of work in Mexico together. Its business prospects here are on the up as the company has started a joint venture with Mazda for a vehicle production facility in Salamanca, Guanajuato. The company is now looking for a space next to Mazda’s plant and we are helping them with that.

Q: Do you think the requirements of the automotive industry will change as Mexican manufacturing, engineering and design capacity becomes more advanced?

A: We have the goal of taking people from the universities and getting them inside the plants. We tell universities what companies expect from graduates. We try to create synergies with universities and technical centers to ensure that graduates have the skills and knowledge required by the industry. It is not easy to change academic plans within universities, but students need industry experience. They will learn things in the design lab or on the factory floor of an OEM that they will never pick up the classroom.

Q: How does American Industries Group tailor its service packages to the needs of its customers?

A: We make tailored packages for every company that comes our way. We allow our clients to focus on doing what they do best, while we take care of the rest. We have clients that sign for 36 months and keep renewing their contracts with us, while other customers decide to go it alone once they have learned what we do. Our shelter program is offering 37 services to customers, which are ranging from big names to small Tier 2 companies. We facilitate everything for the companies to establish themselves here, and we keep abreast of all that is going on in the market. With this information, we can approach possible customers and offer them what they need. Chihuahua might seem to be in the middle of nowhere but it is a very good location to be based, as it offers easy access to both coasts of the US. We hold three seminars per year, often in Chicago, where we can talk to companies about the benefits of bringing business to Chihuahua. Naturally, one of their major concerns is security. It is one of the first questions that people ask as they are afraid of what they hear about Ciudad Juarez, so we invite specialists and authorities to talk them through it.