Aerospace continues to impact supply chain and investment in Mexico

Aerospace continues to impact supply chain and investment in Mexico

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By Mexiconow Staff
Continued – and projected to continue -- growth of aerospace in Mexico has an immense impact on the supply chain across North America. Complexities and challenges of the aerospace industry represent opportunities.

Benito Gritzewski Executive Director FEMIABenito Gritzewsky, executive director of the Mexican Council of Aerospace Industries (FEMIA), also pointed out that his organization’s role remains to promote the industry and support as many members as possible to make them successful in Mexico for “top class manufacturing facilities and top class manufacturing components.”

Gritzewski noted that FEMIA includes 81 members and it is growing. “We have been an established association for almost eight years and we are growing as well as the industry.” All but half-dozen or so represent manufacturing facilities with the remainder being related with Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO):

What is Mexico’s global ranking for aerospace foreign direct investment?

In the past 20 years we have been positioned as #2 in terms of aerospace foreign investment globally, right after the U.S. Our real number behind the U.S. is under ten 10 percent. For the last ten 10 years we have been Number One -- that is Number One -- as the destination for core investment and manufacturing components for the industry.

What is the latest data you have about exports from the aerospace industry in Mexico?

The data that was released a few weeks ago for 2014 positions us at the US$6.4 billion mark with a growth of more than 17.1 percent over the previous year.

What do we need to understand as to what will determine success for the aerospace supply chain in Mexico?

We need to understand that Mexico is a very fertile location. The needs of the industries of having their own suppliers sitting or established very, very close to their facilities is clear. This would be following the same system or the same procedure as in the automotive industry. We require that the supply chain be established domestically for many reasons: productivity, cost efficiency, shorter lead times and quality control.

What are some of the specific products and services associated and needed by the aerospace sector in Mexico?

The requirements that we have, call for secondary processes, special processes such as heat treatments, coatings, non- destructive tests, plating, painting, very high precision machining, forgings and castings. All of them are needed.

I will give you an example: There are existing companies that perform certain processes in Mexico. Then they have to ship those components to other parts of the world and bring them back to continue their production sequence. That costs a lot.

Beechcraft in Chihuahua

Do the supply chain concerns really represent an opportunity for Mexico?

Definitely, yes. It is a great opportunity. It is a great hour of opportunity that we insist is very much worthwhile looking at it.

Why is education so important to the development of the aerospace industry in Mexico?

You need to understand that the aerospace industry has a different quality culture. Many times we joke that the aerospace industry has a different language to communicate. Quality is a very critical issue; understanding the processes, the processing sequence. There exists a big difference between the aerospace and the automotive industry. Up there in the air you do not have road side assistance. You have to be careful and understand all the requirements that we follow. These are very, very precise. Certification, quality certification, process certification are all critical for the industry. The aerospace culture of quality can only be taught through specialized academic programs.

Safran - Labinal, Chihuahua

Will Mexico make a complete aircraft soon?

We are still far away from that. We have quite a few facilities manufacturing components for the OEM’s. The percentage of those components is growing but we are still several years away from that even though we manufacture many parts and components. There are certain components such as helicopter fuselages that are at 62 percent Mexican content. But we are still quite far away from building a full aircraft.