SLP Automotive Cluster Changes Vision, DirectorBy Alejandro Enríquez | Mon, 10/11/2021 - 09:00
Q: As the new Director General of the cluster, what are your strategies to continue the success of the industry?
A: SLP Automotive Cluster is always open to collaborate with the state government and its agencies. We plan to align our strategies for companies to continue investing in the state. SLP provides talent, location, air and terrestrial infrastructure, rule of law and legal certainty to assure a smooth value transfer between talent, companies and investors.
The cluster is celebrating its sixth year. We are consolidating and aligning the internal structures of our committees to generate viable projects to support the industry’s needs. We have also designed strategies to continue promoting the advantages the state offers the automotive sector.
Q: One year after the USMCA, how has the treaty strengthened the state’s role in the sector?
A: USMCA has resulted in many benefits for the automotive sector in general and to San Luis Potosi in particular. The new labor standards and the rules of origin that drive import substitution are some of the new benefits we have had under USMCA. The treaty will increase productivity and bring benefits to workers and their families.
Collective contract legitimation – and unions – will allow workers to freely choose their union leaders, which will translate to better operations within manufacturing plants. USMCA also will continue to strengthen local supply chains, given the stipulated annual increase in Regional Value Content (RVC) for vehicles. This will bolster SMEs that supply Tier 1s and OEMs.
Q: Labor affairs have resulted different challenges for the sector. How are the clusters’ members enforcing its norms?
A: We are part of REDCAM (National Automotive Cluster Network) and have inked key partnerships with the Pan-American Development Foundation, INA and Partners of America to provide cluster members with sensitive information regarding the implementation of the labor reform. We also developed an executive education program to better train people in key positions within companies to support the applicability of the new standards. In some cases, we also help our members elaborate specific action plans to comply with the reform. With these strategies, we assure the reform will benefit workers and improve the sector.
Q: What are your strategies regarding supplier development to level up the industry in the state?
A: For all companies arriving to the state and those ramping up operations, clusters enable close communication with state and municipal authorities and connects companies with the national supply chain. We support new investments, both greenfield projects or expansions. We do offer training in several areas and help companies find key suppliers. Dialogue is key to continue promoting product and business development.
Q: In what key areas can automotive companies escalate their business?
A: Companies need to assess their strengths and weaknesses, be aware of their competition, review prices and distribution channels and identify the added value that the company offers. With that assessment in mind, we can design a strategic plan to help companies strengthen their presence in the market or develop a new business line. Know your strengths, know your opportunity areas, know your competition and be aware of the added value.
Our goal is to improve the quality of companies and ensure that existing companies meet the requirements of Tier 1s and OEMs. We do not only want to introduce more companies; we are focusing on strengthening the capabilities of the sector. But we also have projects to develop SMEs.
Q: What are the cluster’s strategies to improve smart manufacturing capabilities in the region?
A: Automotive production monitoring is basic in the sector as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) is the global standard to measure manufacturing productivity. We have a subcommittee that specializes in Industry 4.0, which will support all our members’ needs and help them test different solutions to be aware of their opportunity areas. With that foundation, they can develop a comprehensive solution to improve their operations. Through Alianza 4.0, the San Luis Potosi government is adding up efforts from other industries such as the agribusiness and home appliances sectors to create win-win partnerships.
Q: During its six years, the cluster has built an automotive legacy in the state. What is your vision for the cluster?
A: The cluster groups over 200 companies and generates 82,000 jobs in the state, or one-fifth of all formal jobs. SLP has great potential for the automotive sector and there are opportunities to strengthen the industry through the cluster. I want to build upon the work the cluster has done over the past six years, strengthen our national and international partnerships and focus on communicating with all stakeholders to strengthen our role in the state. Our cluster is among the biggest in the Bajio region in terms of members, which creates distinct possibilities. We need to take advantage of our position and make sure the cluster is among the top in the country.
The San Luis Potosi Automotive Cluster is a civil association that groups players involved in the auto sector, including academic institutions, private companies and the government. It has over 200 members, making it one of the country’s largest clusters.