News, Insights and Best Practices for Manufacturing in Mexico

Beyond the border: A real look at the work culture of Mexico

10 Feb 2014

Category: Manufacturing in Mexico

The manufacturing sector in Mexico continues to strengthen, but many international firms are still in the dark regarding the work culture in the country. For companies working across borders and other geographies, cultural differences will always play a role in the way enterprises handle business. However, it's important not to rely on second-hand knowledge and assumptions when conducting trade agreements and establishing offshore manufacturing facilities. Shelter companies can help international partners understand the economic, governmental and logistical requirements of setting up operations in Mexico, but it's equally important for businesses to have a firm understanding of the work culture in the place where they will do the majority of their manufacturing.

Efficiency and quality are prized
As opposed to other offshoring regions, Bloomberg Businessweek explained manufacturers in Mexico have the advantage of a skilled labor force that is extremely productive, as well as cost-effective. It's anticipated that manufacturing wages in China, for instance, will be 30 percent higher than those in Mexico by 2015. Meanwhile, productivity is higher in the North American nation. Manufacturing facilities in Mexico also use four times the number of U.S.-produced components than factories in China.

Strong investment in the future
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and other government officials have worked hard to push for education reforms in the nation over the past year, and already there are important signs that progress is being made. In fact, the educational system MetroMatematicas has been implemented in Sonora, Mexico since 2009. The organization supports projects aimed at giving students access to laboratories that engage in applied mathematics and sciences.

MetroMatematicas recently founded its sixth lab in the Guaymas and Empalme region through the support of Dr. Inocencio Higuera Ciapara, assistant director of the National Centers of Investigation for CONACYT, and Dr. Dolores Manjarrez Alvarez, director of entailment of the associate directorate for graduates and scholarships for CONACYT. These two individuals managed the funds for equipment for the new laboratories which will benefit students enrolled secondary education institutions in the region. MetroMatematicas has recognized the fact that the BRIC nations - Brazil, Russia, India and China - have been able to sustain growth by investing in advanced technology for education and professional development.

The new lab is the first location to be equipped with high precision technology and advanced platforms of its kind to be installed at the national level. In addition, the Sonoran state government and the secretary of the economy have been instrumental in supporting these kinds of projects. To date, nearly 1,600 students have enrolled in MetroMatematicas and experienced its innovative teaching methods through the work of 120 professors. The program gives students a clear path to develop professional skills and motivation to pursue advanced education in applied math and sciences.

Building a foundation for sustainable development
In addition to providing tomorrow's workforce with the technical skills needed to work in advanced manufacturing facilities, the country has pushed for sustainable environmental development. In Aguascalientes, Mexico, city officials redeveloped a plot of land measuring 7.5 miles long, called La Linea Verde, according to The Atlantic magazine. Civil engineers designed the green space using water from a local water treatment facility to provide enough hydration to keep the park sustainable in the semi-desert climate.

Because mayors in Mexico can only serve three-year terms, Mayor Lorena Martinez had to plan and work quickly to get the project accomplished during her run as city leader. Through partnerships with the National Federation of Sports, National Ministry of Communications and Transport and the national oil company Pemex, the city was able to raise $40 million to renovate the park. As a result of the project, President Pena Nieto has expressed interest in modeling future initiatives off of La Linea Verde on a national scale.


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