Queretaro Consolidates Supply Chain Innovation Through ClusterBy Alejandro Enríquez | Wed, 01/05/2022 - 11:32
Q: What led to the creation of the Queretaro logistics cluster and what role does it play in the state?
A: Queretaro’s Cluster for Innovation in Logistics was officially born in 2017, although many founding members had already been working with each other to strengthen the sector. The state’s Ministry of Economic Development pushed for the creation of a logistics cluster to coalesce the private sector, academia, government and society. The cluster started with 10 members and has grown to 45.
Last year, Queretaro gained the spotlight in the logistics sector for the Bajio area. Several logistic chains, from Asia to the EU, converge in Queretaro. The state has a responsibility as the focal point of different industries. Queretaro was recognized by the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) for its local cluster network that includes the automotive, aerospace, logistics and IT clusters.
Many Tier 1 and Tier 2 automotive companies have chosen Queretaro as their manufacturing base. The state is also home to R&D and engineering operations for the automotive, infrastructure, chemical and aerospace sectors.
Q: How will the modernization of the Queretaro airport impact logistics operations in the state?
A: This airport relieves the oversaturated airport in Mexico City (AICM). Queretaro is only two hours away from Mexico City and at AICM, unloading products can take up to four hours. Queretaro’s airport offers many benefits, especially as it is expanding operations. We are confident that the state can be a logistics hub. Besides Mexico City, Queretaro is within two hours of other major industrial states, including San Luis Potosi, Guanajuato and State of Mexico.
Q: How is the cluster translating innovation to the logistics sector?
A: The cluster has five committees. The first is the supply chain committee, in which we look to support businesses of all sizes in achieving greater efficiency. The goal of every logistics player is to save money; innovation can help in this regard. Second, our special projects committee conducts ambitious studies and projects, including a recent study of Queretaro’s logistics platforms to identify areas of opportunity. Third is the human capital and training committee, as companies need staff trained in state-of-the-art techniques and technology. Fourth is our marketing committee to develop PR strategies. The fifth committee is for government relations to enable communication channels with government institutions.
We focus on innovative strategies to improve four essential KPIs: customer service, optimal inventory management, which became especially relevant during the pandemic, forecast accuracy and logistics costs, which are the second-largest costs for companies. It is fundamental to understand that logistics is a cost that is added to the final price, so we need to provide the best cost to improve processes.
Q: How does technology help logistics companies on their road to becoming more efficient?
A: Technology platforms that do not own any assets now dominate the logistics environment. We see state-of-the-art technology coming from online marketplaces. Companies now need software for enterprise resource planning (ERP), material requirements planning (MRP), transportation and warehouse management and customer relationship management (CRM), among other tools. Should companies decide to overlook these systems, they will be in a vulnerable position. Companies are losing their fear of technology as new generations enter senior positions. Without technology, logistics cannot improve.
Q: What is the most critical element for logistics operations?
A: The logistics market globally has shifted from a cheap market to a carrier market. Logistics companies now drive the supply chain, so companies cannot play with costs that much. For example, a container from China to Manzanillo is around US$15,000 but transporting a fully-loaded truck from Mexico to Indianapolis was US$4,000 a few years ago but it is now around US$7,000. This implies that logistics companies are increasing their prices given the demand for logistics services. Industries are thus focusing on guaranteeing that supplies arrive on time, rather than on being cost-oriented.
Queretaro Cluster for Innovation in Logistics was founded in 2017 to consolidate the state’s efforts to improve logistics operations. As of 2021, the cluster has 45 members that include AAA companies in related sectors.