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News Article

From Maquila to Data

Wed, 05/09/2018 - 10:44

Mexico’s technological development in the manufacturing industry has exponentially changed the way production and human talent work, panelists at Mexico Business Forum 2018 said on Wednesday at the Hotel Sheraton Maria Isabel in Mexico City.

“Technological tools, such as collaborative robots, internet, Big Data, advanced materials and other components, have become the basis for a shift in manufacturing toward the 4.0 digital revolution,” said moderator Manuel Nieblas, Latin America North Head of Enterprise and Public Sector at Nokia, during a morning panel discussion. In this revolution, companies face the challenge of innovating their processes while also empowering their workforce to use those innovations. “Technology should be a tool and not the endgame. Automating processes just for the sake of automation leads to replacing talent that cannot and should not be replaced,” said Elías Massri, Director General of Giant Motors Mexico.

The panelist focused on the theme “From Maquila to Data: How to Transition to a Digitally Driven Economy” and emphasized the importance of the private and public sector working together to achieve this transformation successfully. “Universities should not just educate people with the hope that they will join the industry afterward. Institutions should work with industry so students can participate in that industry while they are building their knowledge base,” said Massri.

The use of technologies and information will be a key component for creating connectivity and synergies between the knowledge and digital revolutions the manufacturing sector requires, agreed the panelists. “Mexican industries and the government must be conscious about how technologies work and how essential they are for developing solutions to the country’s problems,” said Alfredo González. The panelists also highlighted the importance of universities in creating spaces for human talent to adapt to the market’s needs and to help innovate the industry. “Educational programs should include the efficient use and interpretation of these new technologies and to provide students with sufficient opportunities to collaborate with the industry from the start,” said Luis Aguirre Lang, National President of Index.

To remain competitive, all other sectors must be prepared to enter the 4.0 revolution that is already permeating the manufacturing industry. “All industries are introducing automatization and digitalization in their processes, so time will dictate which sectors lead this revolution in Mexico. It does not require all companies become fully automatized but they must empower talent in the use of such technologies,” said Iván Pelayo, Vice President of Digital Factory and Process Industries and Drives Divisions at Siemens Mesoamerica.

The advantages and challenges of industry 4.0 are also taking place in a diverse environment in Mexico, impacting both big and small companies. “The private and public sectors must create a single channel to drive Mexico down this path,” said Pelayo. Unique initiatives and public policies will make a difference in how industries consolidate this change and become more competitive. “The key will be in how all economic players coordinate strategies for the training of employees, restructuration of the inner organization, creation of e-commerce opportunities and choosing where the company focuses its new digital innovations,” said González.