By Adina Moloman
Sources: www.jorgecarrillo.info and www.cesweb.org
The Mexico maquiladora industry has evolved from the old stereotypes that were established in the 60s and 70s along the US-Mexico border from maquiladoras with simple assembly activities mostly done by women with low levels of technology, to companies that presently are bringing to Mexico more complex processes with design activities, including research and development activities and are knowledge-intensive plants.
The research professor Jorge Carrillo who dedicates his studies on Mexico Maquiladora Industry notices a particular phenomenon, the upgrading of transnational companies manufacturing in Mexico. He talks about this fourth generation of Mexican Maquiladoras: first generation- manual assembly, labor-intensive; second generation-transnational companies with manufacturing, lean production and some autonomy; third generation- foreign companies located in Mexico with design activities, knowledge-intensive plants; a fourth generation of maquiladora is one that is logistic-intensive and a master of supply chain management. This fourth generation of maquiladora coordinates a range of corporate activities such as manufacturing, purchasing and service enhanced by a department of research &development.
Professor Carillo’s analysis of different types of transnational companies is according to their productive, organizational, labor complexity and local integration.
For instance, Plantronics Mexico- the Tijuana Manufacturing plant has his Plantronics Mexico Design and Engineering Center since 2003. Plantronics Mexico was honored across six categories at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas for their products the Voyager Legend™ UC headset, Blackwire® 720 headset, Calisto® 620 speakerphone, M55™ headset, and Find MyHeadset™ application, all fully developed by Mexican engineering inside their Mexico Design Center.
So far, according to a recent study based on a limited sample of maquiladoras manufacturing in Mexico, in Baja California, there are about 20% of the maquiladora plants that have a research and development department included in their operation.