- Get the home office involved from the beginning. An overseas plant requires a major investment of money and management time. The CEO should be personally involved.
- Aim for a two-year break-even point, if possible, with a planning horizon of three to five years. You should understand that this is a long-term investment.
- Make sure that you have a primary customer (or more) who can generate enough orders to support the plant. Avoid speculative projects based on a philosophy of "build-it-and-they-will-come." After the plant opens, work to diversify your customer portfolio as quickly as possible.
- Put a high priority on management retention. In emerging markets, good plant managers are in high demand. Good salaries alone aren't sufficient; local managers need a long-term career path where they can see a future with you.
- Seek outside expertise when you don't have strong knowledge in an area.
Return to the feature article: Mexico's manufacturing boom lures U.S. molders.