Herbert Eisele
Plant Manager of Scherdel de México
Scherdel de México
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View from the Top

Talent, Advantage and Area of Opportunity

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 10:19

Q: What advantages can Scherdel offer its clients as a manufacturing company and how has that driven your growth projections in the country?
A: Mexico is highly important for Scherdel, especially in the NAFTA region. As a company, we must be able to comply with quality standards to act as suppliers for Ford. We must undergo multiple audit processes and develop specific systems that adapt to the OEM’s requirements. However, Ford clearly sees the technical advantages of our products and recognizes our position as a well-established supplier in the global automotive industry.
We focus on metal-forming parts, especially springs for the automotive industry, and we have already tripled our production capacity from our initial standpoint in 2015. We are expanding our facilities and based on our projections we expect to grow our operations once more in the next three or four years. There are no set plans at the moment but we have a positive forecast for the company supported by new business opportunities, which could even lead to a second plant in the future.
Q: How has Scherdel evolved in its technological capabilities and what is Mexico’s role in the company’s innovation strategy?
A: Our offering is based on technology, quality and the reputation we have in the global market. What we offer to customers in Europe is exactly the same we can provide from our plant in Mexico to our NAFTA clients. In the end, OEMs get the advantages of a global supplier at a local level. We have a worldwide sales organization led by our headquarters in Germany that manages all of Scherdel’s key accounts. At the same time, we have a regional sales organization in NAFTA with sales representatives in the US and in our Mexico operations. This means we can address local prospects directly with the support of our global organizational backbone.
We do have engineering operations in Mexico but not on the same scale that we have at our headquarters in Germany. Our testing processes and basic designs are still managed by our corporate office, while Mexico focuses on application engineering with our customers and on process engineering for our local operations. OEMs have stronger presence in local markets, which makes it impossible for suppliers to rely on their headquarters for all engineering processes. These companies expect their partners to have design capabilities onsite, which is the main reason why we brought these activities to the country.
Q: What conditions allowed you to bring engineering activities to Mexico?
A: One of the main advantages we have found in the Mexican market is talent. The country has advanced significantly in its education offering for operators and for people in administrative positions. Having local people who can communicate directly with our clients in Mexico in their own language is also beneficial. The only challenge we have found is identifying the best way to transfer our knowledge to the local talent base. There are cultural differences involved in this process, which means Germans cannot just copy and paste their manufacturing standards, methodologies and procedures. As a company, we must understand the differences between our culture and the country where we are investing in.
Q: How can Mexico improve its position as an attractive destination for German investment?
A: Historically, Mexico and Germany have enjoyed a good commercial relationship. The main opportunity now is to work on how to improve cost competitiveness, security, business certainty and talent availability for new companies. Universities are now trying to emulate German education standards and programs to make knowledge transfer processes more efficient. Products and processes are becoming increasingly complex, which means talent must evolve accordingly. However, as investors, we also have the responsibility of supporting the country during this transition.