Mexican Manufacturing Quality Is Top-Notch – Just Ask Gulfstream And Lear
Contract manufacturing offers many benefits that in-house manufacturing does not. But, only if you use the right contract manufacturer.
Are you looking for a contract manufacturer? One of the first decisions you need to make is which country to choose for your manufacturing needs.
Mexico is on the fast track to becoming a major manufacturing hub. It’s not only because manufacturing in Mexico is much cheaper than the US or Canada. It’s also because many Mexican manufacturers produce high quality parts at low costs.
Some people see “made in Mexico” and wonder if it means that the product is bad quality. They wonder if it’s on par with “made in China”. On the contrary, actually. It’s a good thing to see “made in Mexico” on products, especially auto parts. Mexican manufacturers churn out some of the highest quality products on the market.
Mexican manufacturing quality is top notch. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. ISO Certifications
Many Mexican manufacturers, including us, are ISO certified. ISO stands for “International Organization for Standardization”. It’s an independent organization based in Switzerland. It has a set of rigorous standards that maintain quality, safety, and efficiency in manufacturing. If a company is ISO certified, that means it meets or exceeds all the ISO standards. You can trust an ISO certified manufacturing company to meet your high standards.
Read more about the ISO certification here. If you contract with an ISO certified company in Mexico, you’re on the right track.
2. IATF Certifications
The ISO certification isn’t the only credential to look for in an auto parts manufacturer. There’s also the IATF 16949:2016 certification. IATF stands for “International Automotive Task Force”. It’s an international organization made up of various automotive manufacturers.
IATF’s set of standards are used by many large automotive OEM’s to help them procure auto parts. Some Mexican auto parts manufacturers, including us, are IATF certified. IATF certified companies must follow a very controlled manufacturing process. This means you can trust an IATF certified company to send out reliable and well-built parts.
An IATF certification is very hard for an auto parts manufacturing company to get. The selection process is quite extensive and challenging. So if you contract with an IATF certified company, you’ll know that you’re in good hands.
For more information about what it means to be IATF 16949:2016 certified, check out this post.
3. Highly Skilled Labor
China and some other overseas manufacturing companies are known for using unskilled labor. That’s how they’re able to keep their costs so low. Unfortunately, unskilled labor usually means shoddy work and too many mistakes.
Most Mexican manufacturers don’t fall into that category. In fact, Mexico produces more people who have earned the following degrees per capita than most countries in the world, including the US:
Vocational and technical schools in Mexico are providing the job market with many qualified graduates. Reputable Mexican auto parts manufacturers use highly trained and skilled specialists and laborers. That means you can count on these companies to produce high quality parts with:
- Tight tolerances
- Excellent craftsmanship
- The latest designs and innovations
The quality of the workers Mexican manufacturing facilities may make it seem that labor is pretty expensive. On the contrary, actually. Mexico’s labor costs are about 20% lower than the labor costs in China. That means you’d have access to a highly skilled labor pool for a much lower cost than an unskilled labor pool in an overseas country. Win-win.
4. Stringent Intellectual Property Laws
You don’t need to worry about a reputable Mexican manufacturer stealing your intellectual property. It’s because:
- Mexico’s intellectual property laws are quite like the laws in the US and Canada.
- Mexico’s intellectual property laws are written in the favor of foreign businesses.
- Mexico has a long history of honoring intellectual property rights.
It’s much easier to protect your intellectual property in Mexico than in some overseas countries.
5. Economical Manufacturing Without Hidden Costs
Foreign manufacturing generally has a bad rap. It’s partially because it comes with low initial costs with lots of extra costs tacked on. For example, you may have to pay for the following expenses or issues on top of the manufacturing costs:
- High shipping costs
- Large minimum orders
- Supply chain interruptions that may be costly
- Higher risk of intellectual property theft
- Communication challenges
For these reasons, many companies avoid manufacturers outside of the US or Canada. It’s understandable why many companies don’t want to deal with these problems. Unfortunately, Mexican manufacturers are usually lumped in with these manufacturers.
Mexican manufacturing usually doesn’t come with these problems. It’s because:
- Mexico’s proximity to the US and Canada means:
- Low shipping costs
- No need to place large orders
- Significantly less risk of supply chain interruptions
- Mexico’s intellectual property laws are as stringent as those in the US and Canada
- Lower risk of intellectual property theft
- Fewer communication challenges
- Mexico, the US, and Canada are in the same time zones
- Many people in Mexico can speak English, and many Americans can speak Spanish
Mexican manufacturing doesn’t come with the extra costs associated with overseas manufacturing. Also a win-win.
Read more about the advantages of manufacturing in Mexico here.
Premium Brands That Rely On Mexican Manufacturing
You may be surprised to hear that many high-end brands have their vehicles manufactured in Mexico. In fact, hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies work with Mexican manufacturing. It’s because they trust Mexican manufacturers to uphold their stringent quality standards. Let’s talk about a few well-known premium brands that rely on Mexican manufacturing:
Bombardier Inc. is the world’s third largest airplane manufacturer. It’s a Canadian-owned company that moved some of its manufacturing to Mexico back in 2007. First, the company had a plant in El Marques, Mexico build its structural components and wiring harnesses. The company was very impressed with the quality of the parts manufactured at that plant. In 2010, the company made big investments in Queretaro, Mexico to build Learjet planes.
- Forward fuselage
- Aft fuselage
- Tail cone
- Vertical and horizontal stabilizers
Thorough testing is done at the Mexican plant to ensure the quality of these components. Next, these important components are transported to the company’s Wichita, Kansas plant. The workers at that plant assemble together the components and finish the interior.
Gulfstream is another well-known company in the aerospace industry. It has a state-of-the-art plant in Mexicali, a city that’s next to the California-Mexico border. At that plant, about 1,100 team members build components for the following Gulfstream business jets:
The components this plant builds include:
- Electrical wire harnesses
- Components made out of sheet metal
- Machined components
- Assembled components
In 2016, Audi opened a $1.3 billion plant in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico. It’s the first luxury automaker in the world to open a factory in Mexico. The Mexican factory is the sole production hub for the Audi Q5 model. Audi has phased out Q5 production in Germany. It aims to produce about 15,000 units of the Q5 model per year.
Have you ever seen a BMW 5 Series Security car? Head over to Toluca, Mexico and check it out! BMW has a specialty facility in Toluca that works with BMW’s plant in Germany. The Toluca facility focuses on assembling the BMW 5 Series Security car. The vehicle is a beefed up version of the 5 series with:
- Shatterproof materials
- Multi-layered glass
- An attack alarm system
BMW’s German facility prepares the armoring parts before shipping them to Toluca. In Toluca, the plant’s workers complete the final assembly stage. BMW also has a plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. That plant produces the 3 Series.
Ford has quite a few factories in Mexico. One of them is a stamping and assembly plant in Hermosillo, Mexico. That plant builds Lincoln’s mid-size luxury sedan, the Lincoln MKZ.
6. Mercedes-Benz & Infiniti
Mercedes-Benz and Infiniti created a manufacturing joint venture called COMPAS. It stands for Cooperation Manufacturing Plant Aguascalientes. It’s located in Aguascalientes, Mexico. At this $1.4 billion plant, about 5,000 workers produce up to 300,000 luxury vehicles a year.
It’s no wonder that many luxury brands are flocking to Mexico. This beautiful country has a lot to offer, including:
- Low labor costs
- Proximity to the US and Canada
- One of the best workforces in the automotive industry
- Reputable manufacturing companies
Finding The Right Mexican Manufacturer For Your Company
Deciding to contract with a Mexican manufacturer is a huge step in the right direction. You’re not done, though. You still need to vet many different Mexican manufacturers to decide on one that’s right for your company. We put together many resources to help you narrow down your options: