María Elena Rigoli
President and CEO
Collectron International Management
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View from the Top

Shelter Eases Foreign Transition

Tue, 11/01/2016 - 15:44

Q: How has Collectron and its Original Shelter Plan Program helped shape the manufacturing landscape?

A: Collectron International Management created the Original Shelter Plan Program 48 years ago in Nogales, Sonora to counteract the fact that foreign companies were wary of entering the country because they were unsure of how to properly integrate into the market. Many companies throughout Mexico use us now because we have a model that simplifies their entry. Foreign companies can sign a contract with Collectron wherein we legally represent their business here. Their paperwork and legal presence are then under the name of the shelter. Sonora was home to some of the first maquila manufacturing companies in Mexico and subsequent businesses started entering the area after seeing the initial success.

Collectron now operates in seven cities: Nogales, Hermosillo, Ciudad Obregon, Agua Prieta and Santa Ana in Sonora; San Luis Potosi; and Santiago de Queretaro. We have helped over 260 companies enter Mexico and we represent a total of 30 firms. Our client portfolio includes mostly Fortune 500 and Fortune 200 companies in addition to privately owned businesses. Collectron’s marketing department identifies potential companies that complement industry gaps and that have the necessary infrastructure to expand their operations into Mexico. Our goal is to find businesses that can help create a more integrated supply chain, one of the largest areas of opportunity here.

Q: How are shelters changing the negative perception of Mexico’s security and manufacturing skills?

A: Human capital in Mexico is one of its most important improvements as 90,000 engineers graduate every year. Despite this, the country still severely lacks qualified technicians. In the case of Sonora, its greatest strength is human capital but it needs a larger number of incoming technicians as the state becomes one of the world’s manufacturing centers. Some companies are going to smaller less-industrialized areas to avoid competition for labor in the main manufacturing centers. We invest in training to provide the necessary human capital to the companies coming to Mexico but our government must increase its efforts to train technicians.

Q: What contributions have shelters such as Collectron made to Sonora’s economic growth?

A: Shelters have been of the utmost importance. In comparison to other border areas, Sonora has fewer companies but due to the efforts of many players, we are one of the most competitive states across many industries. We have aerospace companies such as B/E Aerospace, which grew from 50 employees to 1,100 under our Shelter Plan Program. This is significantly greater growth than other companies that entered Nogales at the same time. Other companies include Figeac Aero and Radiall. We help our shelter clients to find technicians by visiting schools, recruiting and training young professionals before they start working.

Companies in Mexico also are facing a challenge from changes to fiscal regulations. These, while necessary, were not properly implemented and placed a significant burden on companies that have used specific processes for decades and are now forced to overhaul these processes rapidly. We are supporting companies through this transition. As soon as a client finds a problem, we address it personally. Our main competitive advantage is our attention to detail in all services, from training to logistics. Companies can trust our reliability and efficiency. They know they can contact us directly whenever they run into a problem.

Q: How is Collectron attracting companies to Mexico and what are its growth expectations for 2016?

A: To attract companies it is necessary to analyze the economic conditions of the national and international markets to thoroughly understand the factors affecting companies. We are focusing on strengthening the aerospace supply chain in Sonora. In 2016, we will incorporate four more companies into Mexico, two of which are in the aerospace industry. It is important for us to help them weather the uncertainties in the Mexican market that arose with the 2014 regulatory changes.