Small Companies with Room for GrowthBy Alejandro Enríquez | Tue, 03/31/2020 - 17:26
Despite the sophistication that the automotive industry demands, micro and SMEs can still participate in the supply chain. According to Laura Rodríguez, Founder and Director General of LR Soluciones Industriales, their participation is a matter of tenacity, willingness and formality. “Many small companies do not want to take the risk and invest to comply with all that the industry demands. But doing so is the best strategy to become a competitive player,” she says.
LR Soluciones Industriales is a Mexican supplier of industrial safety equipment for companies in the Bajio region. By focusing on automotive companies, the company has assured sustained growth and continuous improvement in its capabilities. “We cover other industries, but automotive is one of the most competitive and the most dynamic to learn from. After seven years of experience, we are consolidating as an automotive supplier,” Rodriguez says.
One of the key elements for small companies to grow in the industry is to focus on timely deliveries. “When choosing a supplier, you need someone who is as committed to you as you are to your customers,” Rodríguez adds. Ramping up operations while maintaining the same quality and customer service can also be a difficult challenge to overcome. “Growth in the Bajio has been very rapid. Our role as suppliers of protection and safety equipment has led to major growth for LR Soluciones Industriales as well. We need to provide our solutions as fast as possible,” she says.
According to INEGI, Guanajuato alone has seen a 26.9 percent increase in the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector between 2013 and 2019. In September 2013, over 193,000 people worked in manufacturing. By September 2019, that number had climbed to 245,000. LR Soluciones Industriales found that focusing on people has helped the company to maintain its standards. “If the industry grows, it gives us the opportunity to create more jobs, since we will require more people to maintain our fast-delivery policy,” she adds.
By going digital, however, micro companies and SMEs should be aware that competition is not only against local and foreign players, but also digital retailers. “Success comes from reading and understanding the needs of the sector. We are not competing against a physical company but against digital stores that can send out the product right away,” she says.
Regarding competition, companies participating in the same segment can also be strategic partners when looking at the partnership through the right lenses. From a win-win perspective, supporting competitors’ operations could lead to a greater partnership in the future, according to Rodríguez. “The biggest partnerships we have created are those related to honorable competition. As companies, we help each other when a product is out of stock, or we help each other in return so that we all can comply with our commitment to our customers,” she explains. The second-most strategic relationship companies can create is a strong bond with their clients. There is no argument against a personal recommendation from a client and according to Rodríguez, “the closer you are to your customer, the happier they will be.”
Even amid the constrained environment that the automotive industry has experienced in 2019, Rodríguez says there is still room for micro companies and SMEs. “There are many who are pessimistic but growth in the automotive industry in the Bajio has just started. Looking at all industrial development, all new companies installed and all the formal jobs we are creating, there is no way to stop this growth,” she says.