Turnkey Solutions for the Mexican MarketThu, 10/17/2019 - 12:05
Q: What was the reasoning behind opening offices in Zacatecas and what opportunities did Walden Group spot in the Mexican market?
A: Walden Mexico originated from the need to have a presence in Latin America. The business culture in Mexico is completely different from that in Canada, where the company is headquartered. The Latin American client wants face-to-face interaction and constant support. They want a more personal relationship and not so much email and phone-call exchange. Our future goals were also to start producing in Mexico to lower our production costs. Although we have not started producing here yet, we plan to do so in the future.
We decided to base our operations in Zacatecas because of its strategic position. Although we work with Peñoles and Fresnillo, which are the biggest in the region, they are not our largest client. Adapting to Zacatecas has been a challenge. Walden is not a large company and it does not have the resources some other companies have. Our strategy was to reduce unnecessary costs and offer the best quality possible.
Q: How have fluctuating metals prices impacted Walden Group’s operations in Mexico?
A: We bring many of the spare parts that we sell from Canada so as to adhere to our internal policies. But with the increase in steel prices, Canada was hit hard and costs increased. Nevertheless, we continue to offer competitive pricing and our clients understand. Higher metal prices, such as gold and silver, has led to increased price quote requests for our new and used equipment. Clients are looking for manufacturers to do all the work for them. We have seen an increase in demand, but companies continue to be cautious as the rise and drop of prices is often cyclical. There is more optimism in the market and there are various projects that will begin hopefully at the end of the year.
We also offer loans and payment facilities to help our clients. Yet due to regulatory limits that prohibit Canadian companies from providing loans to a certain amount, we are looking for local companies to help with the financial part. We work closely with EDC, which is the main company that helps us provide loans to our clients. We have also worked with Banorte and Banamex here in Mexico.
Q: What are the main advantages of using Walden equipment in Mexican mines?
A: In terms of mining production, we are manufacturers of utility equipment for development and support of other equipment. Our main goals are to reduce downtimes by offering low maintenance and simple machinery. This allows mines to be constantly in movement. We offer equipment for underground operations. Our equipment is easy to fix and the spare parts are not exclusive to our brands, making it more accessible to fix and maintain. We offer services along with our products to make the most of the equipment. Our mechanics are on call for any emergency that may arise and we have full-time service contracts with some companies too.
Walden Mexico receives support from Canada. We had a problem with a machine that had overheated. The problem was resolved by modifying the radiator and adding a larger compartment to cool the motor down. Because these conditions had never been seen in Canada, the client thought there was a product malfunction when in reality it was just different conditions. This has helped us improve our services and products to the Latin American environments.
Q: Are clients looking to integrate concepts such as automatization and Industry 4.0 into their operations through machinery?
A: We have clients that are starting to automatize their machinery, where a person is able to control everything through a computer. Most of our clients, however, prefer old-school strategies and are not looking for these types of innovations. Most Latin American companies do not trust new technology; nevertheless, innovation does have its benefits. The implementation of the technologies reduces fatalities and operational costs.