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Programs give you shelter in offshore operations

February 1, 2006

3 Min Read
Programs give you shelter in offshore operations

Opening a new manufacturing facility in a foreign country presents special challenges. For U.S. processors, even grounding a new site in a country as close as Mexico can prove tricky.

One tool for companies considering new operations in Mexico is a "shelter program," an answer to the fragmentation of resources that manufacturers encounter when establishing a facility. TECMA Group, for instance, offers a shelter program including a variety of services such as manufacturing, site selection, logistics and supply chain management and joint ventures. Oscar Parra, director of TECMA''s U.S. operations in El Paso, TX, says that using a program such as TECMA''s can promote ease of entry to manufacturing in Mexico. "Rather than the company doing everything on their own, they come to us and we find a building, get all the necessary permits, find all the labor they require, perform the HR functions, help with their customs for importation of raw materials and exportation of finished goods, and fulfill the government reporting requirements," he explains.

One of the TECMA''s long-time clients is Peterson Manufacturing (Grandview, MO), a manufacturer of automotive lighting. Peterson in 1999 formed a strategic partnership with TEMCA, also known as International Manufacturing Solutions (IMS), in Juarez, Mexico, to produce select products. While TECMA/IMS assembles the products, Peterson plays an active role in pulling the operation together. It molds the plastic components for the lighting at its Mission Plastics North subsidiary in Grandview, TX, and ships these to Juarez.

Peterson''s Mexico operation is a fairly small operation, says Parra, with about 50 to 60 people at the Juarez facility. "They share a facility with a few of our other clients," he says, adding, "We often set up two to three companies in one facility." Typically, a customer brings its equipment and a plant manager familiar with the company''s manufacturing and quality requirements.

TECMA also has a warehouse in El Paso in which to store materials awaiting customs clearance or to hold finished goods being shipped into the U.S., notes Parra. He says TECMA usually performs its "shelter" functions for a five-year period until its clients feel comfortable running their own operation. Currently, TECMA/IMS has 14 operations in Mexico.

Among services offered by The Offshore Group (Tucson, AZ), another shelter program provider, is an alternative to do-it-yourself when it comes to human resources. Steven Colantuoni, director of market research for The Offshore Group, says the firm currently has 37 firms under contract that employ more than 13,500 direct labor workers. Each year, The Offshore Group transacts $1.3 billion in bi-national trade in goods.

Says Colantuoni, "The beauty of our service is that complexity is no issue at all because the companies we serve have 100% control over their core competencies-their manufacturing. We take care of the non-core aspects of the business. We might do recruitment for them to find a Mexican national run their operations, to find their managers, develop profiles for the types of people needed, then present the company with a pool of people from which to choose that matches the profiles with the skills needed. They are actually running their own manufacturing."

Rafael Regalado, operations manager for Moll Industries'' Empalme, Mexico molding facility, says Moll''s shelter program allows its employees to concentrate on injection molding while The Offshore Group handles routine administration. "Our plant in Empalme maintains excellence in manufacturing while The Offshore Group takes care of many day-to-day and necessary corporate concerns such as human resources, payroll, and legal issues as well as providing support with a number of other key functions," he says.

For example, Regalado says, The Offshore Group assisted Moll to establish a program of studies in Plastics Technologies at a local technical school. "Through these efforts, Moll has access to a local supply of skilled labor and can recruit qualified workers from the local labor pool rather than having to devote time, effort and expense to bringing trained individuals to Empalme from outside the region," Regalado explains.

Clare Goldsberry [email protected]

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The Offshore Group  


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