I have been working with wire and cable assemblies, wire harnesses and related processes in the Mexico Manufacturing Industry for 33 years now and back in ’86 there was talk of the raw material supply chain getting closer to its assembly customers in Mexico to better support their needs. Common sense, the closer the supply chain the better. But today the talk continues and the walk is slow and while we have seen some movement in this direction, many components and other materials are simply not available in the area as they continue to come from offshore countries and our neighboring USA, whether due to price, availability, customer specifications, corporate worldwide agreements or simply the desire to control the purchasing function from some location. Thank you to all our distributor partners and companies that have realized they should move their manufacturing plants and service businesses closer to their customers. It makes sense.
On the equipment and service/support supply chain side this is quite different as the need to keep lines running and equipment humming is critical to many operations. Sure you can air in all kinds of spare parts to fix and maintain machines, but you have to know which ones they are for the vast array of equipment that is used to process the product. You also need to know how to install the parts and equipment and while there are many capable plant maintenance and engineering personnel working, some of the equipment has gotten so specialized that only the equipment factory technicians know exactly what to do. This can be very costly. As a result it does make sense for your own plant maintenance, technician and engineering personnel be involved in the equipment selection process as they are the ones that will deal with it on a day-to-day basis. Specific to our wire harness industry an Artos, Komax, Schleuniger, Schaefer and others may give you the install, training and support needed to run their equipment but when mixing and matching equipment it can get complicated for the maintenance group at any plant to deal with so many different pieces of equipment. And what about the cost? It can get expensive to be airing in parts and factory technicians especially when down time can be in the tens of thousands of dollars per hour or even minute. And there is always that uncertainty of what the “real cost” is when you shut a Customer’s line down. Perhaps that might be the end of your relationship with the Customer or reason for them to start looking for a new supplier… This has certainly aided in the decision for many of the companies in this equipment supply chain to move their service offices and personnel closer to the border and their customer base. As well local companies have now begun making many of these spare parts and supporting the processes and equipment from a near. It only makes sense.
As a medium sized manufacturer of wire and cable assemblies ourselves, I have realized that I cannot send all of my people (engineering, technician, maintenance) to a trade show to see what is new and available for our industry. I wish I could. My travel budget, logistics (some of my key people cannot get visas), language barriers and simply the time away from the plant is not possible. That is why a local show about wire and cable processing technologies, in our backyard, was the common sense answer to this problem. After all, we are in the “Wiring Harness Capital of the World” here in the State of Chihuahua, Mexico and the M-EXPO show just makes sense. And now since the crossing of the equipment to/from the show in Cd. Juarez from the USA is being handled by a 3rd party logistics firm specializing in this, even more so.
Gustavo Farell is the President of Cesar-Scott, Inc., and founder of the M-EXPO show which is now in its 3rd year. The M-EXPO show is being held at the Cuatro Siglos Convention Center at Calzada del Rio 8989, Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. He is a Director on the IPC/WHMA Board and bilingual English-Spanish.
He is a degreed Mechanical Engineer and has an MBA with 36 years process experience.