Tim Meador just recently talked to The Offshore Group about the future of metal plating in Mexico for the aerospace industry, in addition to that of his company.Steve Colantuoni: Hi there
Tim, I want to ask you a couple of questions about the new Mexico metal plating center that you have actually recently taken into location. It looks like there’s a great deal of work behind us, huge capital expense, clearly you must see a fantastic potential for aerospace plating in Mexico. Could you inform us a bit about the process of beginning things up? How did you discover it? What went well? Where were some challenges? What kind of things you may still need to work on?Tim Meador: Well the thing is, the metal plating industry is not new to Mexico, but being a job shop, plating, is brand-new to Mexico. The majority of the plating business in Mexico are recorded, vertically integrated business. We are now using that service to everyone. In offering our metal plating knowledge in Mexico, we’ll be handling customers all the method from Nogales, to Obregon and even to as far in the interior of Mexico as Guadalajara.Steve Colantuoni: I understand that one of the things, and I’ve watched
this happen during the last decade, is that a lot of aerospace work in specific could not be done in Mexico because people that do exactly what you carry out in a location like this have actually not been here to be able to service the need that exists. This would lead me to think today that there is an emergency here in Mexico’s aerospace industry for you to address their requirements. Would that be correct?Tim Meador: That is right and as a matter of reality, a great deal of aerospace companies in Mexico stopped because they didn’t have gain access to these to these crucial capabilities. Value-added services like metal plating, heat treat, and whatever associated. Exactly what we’re adding to that mix is allowing them to expand their aerospace manufacturing companies in Mexico, and providing them the cost savings of not needing to ship parts to the States for plating or any other type of conversion.Steve Colantuoni: So this is, once again, fairly new– a task buy metal plating in Mexico. Aerospace is growing at a great clip in terms of the quantity of business that are here. In Guaymas and Empalme the specialization is growing in aero engines. In terms of discovering individuals in the local labor force to be able to staff a center like this, what was your experience? What have been your challenges? What sort of training do you provide and still need put in place for your Mexican production personnel?Tim Meador: Well, there are no skilled platers practically throughout the United States or in Mexico. Truth is that it can just be taught. To become a really excellent plater it usually takes
over 3 years. So exactly what we have actually done is we have actually taken the talent swimming pool down in Mexico that’s prepared to learn, and we’ve brought them as much as the Twin Cities. We have actually tained and educated them. A few of our staff members have even spent three months in our center up in Fridley, Minnesota, and now they understand the beginning of how to plate, and we’ll simply continue to support them as we go along.Steve Colantuoni: Tim one of the things that individuals seem to take away, and I think to a big degree it’s a misperception about how the economies connect, but you mentioned how you have your centers in Minnesota, where folks got trained to
be able to operate down here and follow business that you’re discovering in Mexico that will, in my estimate, only grow.Sometimes there’s an understanding that doing this example, making a financial investment in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico like this is negative for the United States. My concern to you is, how does your Minnesota plant connect with your Mexican production plant, and how does the presence of both of these operations reinforce the health and success of the other?Tim Meador: In my market, metal plating is on a decrease somewhere on the 4%to 6%each year, and most of that is because the work that has to be plated is not manufactured in the United States. I constantly utilize the analogy of the tail of the canine,. The pet dog has already crossed the border; we’re simply providing the metal plating services that needed here in Mexico. At our Minnesota facility, our sales are really up 15%. We’re on a development course there, and this extra work from Mexico is just going to assist us. With the technical resources up North we’re able to support this facility, and get it up to speed and develop the skill down here to support the Mexican aerospace customers.Steve Colantuoni: So given exactly what you state, it’s possible that more volume of work down here will actually produce some jobs in the U.S., however those probably would be for individuals that have greater technical abilities perhaps?Tim Meador: Yeah, the resources and the R&D is constantly going to need to be done at our Twin Cities facility. We’ll probably be adding people in the Fridley to start all the on boarding of the metal item that
we’re going to process down here in Mexico. Our design is that we establish the process up in the Twin Cities, and then we establish the procedure instead of learning here in Mexico.Steve Colantuoni: One last question I wish to ask you is, clearly you saw an opportunity that exists today, exactly what do you see going forward?Tim Meador: To be honest with you I see another metal plating plant in Mexico in Incertec’s future. I take a look at the United States and see an almost a passing away metal processing industry. With all of the aerospace market moving into Mexico here, and to places as far south as Guadalajara too, I believe there’s going to be a requirement for another plant much like this south of here at a long time in the not too far-off future.Steve Colantuoni: Okay so you pointed out places further south, undoubtedly there’s aero-engine activity that’s going on here in
Guaymas, Sonora. There’s activity in Chihuahua, as well as in Querétaro. I really heard conversation this early morning that you were approached by people as far as that state to service them from here on the West Coast on the Sea of Cortez.Tim Meador: Yeah, it’s type of amusing. It’s due to the fact that they’re delivering their item all the method to Kansas City. They really currently have the plating or conversion covering done, and simply utilizing Incertec’s services here is going to save them a lots of loan. I think there’s going to be a point where our Guaymas area metal plating services will be oversold. It’s most likely going to happen a lot earlier than both of us think.Steve Colantuoni: Well, for the sake of this you, for the sake of your Minnesota plant, this plant, and a future plant somewhere, I hope that’s the case. I wish to thank you for taking some time to speak to us.
Steven A. Colantuoni is the director of corporate marketing for the Tucson, Arizona-based Offshore Group. Mexico Outsourcing Solutions, Mexico Production Locations pixabay