Reducing Time and Cost in Import and Export ProcessesMon, 10/21/2013 - 12:16
The logistics challenges that mining companies face are unique and complex. Machinery needs to be imported and products need to be exported in the fastest and most efficient way possible. “Mining companies require speed, quality, and service with their imports. Product transfer is a critical issue due to operational costs and the often urgent need for machinery,” says Leopoldo Alvelais, Director General of Alvelais Agencia Aduanal, the customs broker that services four border crossings: Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas; Colombia, Nuevo Leon; Piedras Negras, Coahuila; and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Alvelais Agencia Aduanal is a family company with over 70 years of experience. The company has been taking care of imports and exports for mining companies for over 40 years, but it was not until 15 years ago that it really focused on the industry, when it started working with Grupo Mexico and opened its Ciudad Juarez office. “In 2007 we analyzed Mexico’s different economic sectors and the mining industry came up as an area of great interest for the development of our business. Some of the sector’s main companies are a part of our client portfolio. They have seen improvements in processing times, and we also contribute by improving the efficiency of their operational management,” he adds. “Mining companies ask us for help with cost reduction and process optimization and we are able to respond. We are a company that provides results and we help our clients by reducing waiting times and therefore reducing costs.”
In order to be able to offer the best possible service Alvelais Agencia Aduanal offers 3PL – third party logistics – integrating different operations and services with customs brokers in Mexico and the US. Because of this strategy the client does not need to go from place to place to complete the process. “We offer value through this integrated service. We are in charge of importing the largest volumes, such as machinery and exporting the mineral product,” Alvelais says. The company is also able to offer 5PL – fifth party logistics – thanks to a partner distributor it has that helps it with the mining industry. Through this system Alvelais Agencia Aduanal takes on all of its clients’ responsibilities as its own; the company has to send the agency the merchandise, and the agency takes over. “We are essentially a customs brokerage business, but we have also brought on board more services and solutions. Through our commercial alliances we have transportation and warehouses in Laredo and El Paso. For example, we currently have a 4,200m2 space available in the Laredo warehouse,” Alvelais says.
The company manages all of its logistics through a very powerful information system that presents real time information on merchandise delivery, inventories, and historic value files. Through the system the company’s clients are able to check where their merchandise is at any time, as well as historic information, tariff codes, motions, and bills, among many other things. “The key for us is having innovation in our processes. For this we use management and information technology,” Alvelais says. He explains that the authorities also have access to a similar information system, thanks to the Ventanilla Única (Single Point of Contact, SPOC), which is a great advantage for them. 33% of the company’s business is an import and export railway service, and mining companies that choose this transportation system benefit from lower costs. However, Alvelais points out that the main disadvantage of railway is time, since moving from one place to another can take three times more time than other means of transportation. However, railway is not used for mineral transportation due to the inherent security risk.
Alvelais believes that the service the company provides is what currently differentiates it from its competitors. The company also provides consulting services to its clients and offers training in imports, the IMMEX program, in-bond, and taxes, depending on each particular client’s needs. For the coming years Alvelais Agencia Aduanal has a very ambitious development plan that will enable it to grow to four times its current size in the next five years. “We call it the 5x4, and it involves developing our commercial division and making a structural shift in order to be able to be closer to our client in terms of service. Beginning this plan means that we are able to guarantee that our operation offers the required level of excellence,” says Alvelais.