Jaime González
Director of CLAUZ
View from the Top

Work Through Best Practices, Regulations

Sat, 09/01/2018 - 12:56

Q: What have been CLAUZ’s main achievements after over a year of operations?
A: CLAUZ is now the first cluster in Mexico with an internal rulebook that covers its entire staff and membership. This gives potential members the confidence to participate in the cluster, knowing that we manage our operations with transparency in terms of information and use of resources for project development.
The cluster has also successfully launched its diploma program for Management Competencies, designed specifically for the automotive industry in collaboration with the People’s Autonomous University of the State of Puebla. This program addresses the strengthening of soft skills in benefit of all our members and collaborators. In terms of education, we have also started implementing a dual-education model with the Technological University of Huejotzingo focused on maintenance of dies and molds for the College-level High Technician program. In this program, students only have 20 percent of their classes at the university, while the other 80 percent is completed at a company’s facility.
Regarding the development of the local supply chain, we have completed the strategic analysis we performed regarding the needs of the region, which will help us identify companies that can enter productive chains and strengthen Puebla and Tlaxcala’s supply chain. This analysis has also helped us identify gaps that we can fill through effective attraction of foreign investment.
Q: How have you worked with the state governments of Puebla and Tlaxcala to ensure ongoing foreign investment?
A: We have a very close relationship with the state governments of Puebla and Tlaxcala since they are a key part in our operation and permanent members of our Board. Just as we help them identify the gaps in the local supply chain, we offer both administrations a neutral platform to obtain first-hand knowledge of what the industry is demanding. That way, the states can adjust their economic development policies and support new entrants to the region.
Q: How have demands in the state changed now that Audi has ramped up its operations and what have been the cluster’s priorities to support members?
A: Audi’s growing operations open the doors to a wave of investment from Tier 1 companies focused on catering for the premium automotive segment. This has put positive pressure on the local supply chain to grow its capabilities in terms of quality and production volumes. At CLAUZ, we are identifying the most pressing needs of these large Tier 1 suppliers so we can support smaller companies in the best way possible.
From the moment CLAUZ was established, both Audi and Volkswagen became permanent members of the cluster’s Board. This has led to extraordinary collaboration and effective decision-making from our part. These companies have already highlighted the need for more suppliers with engineering and design capabilities because they want Mexico to participate in the development of electric, connected and autonomous vehicles. But, to do this, the local supply chain must deliver above-average performance and high levels of competitiveness.
Q: How successful have your strategies been in attracting more Tier 1 companies to the cluster and what can you do to support these players better?
A: The best strategy to attract new members is for companies to find value in the initiatives launched by our work committees. Because of this, our work methodology is strictly oriented to the needs that companies share with us. As a result, all our projects have an innate rate of success. After a year of operations, we already have 20 members and we expect to close 2018 with between 25 and 30 members, which would represent an increase of 100 percent compared to our standpoint at the moment of CLAUZ’s foundation.