The four areas that the must be addressed by policymakers to achieve Mexican manufacturing leadership are technology, knowledge, sustainability, and human resource talent. Dealing with each of these items successfully will guarantee that Mexico is at the forefront of global manufacturing.
At the beginning of 2017, there were questions concerning the continued growth and sustainability of Mexican manufacturing leadership. These concerns disappeared, however, when Mexican industry registered a 3.4% overall growth for the year. This figure was especially noteworthy because, during 2017, the manufacturing sector in Mexico made up 23.1% of the country’s GDP.
Because of the volume of activity in the automotive, aerospace, general manufacturing, and aerospace industries, Mexican manufacturing leadership in Latin America has been and is presently being maintained. In large part, the Mexico’s positive results in this area are the product of its position geographically and the vast network of free trade agreements that it has constructed during the last twenty plus years.
Competitive advantage and a continued Mexican manufacturing leadership are associated with a variety of factors. Included in these are the country’s capability of adjusting to new, modern technologies and the most recent innovations. Of more importance, however, is that fact that Mexico’s success will be contingent upon supporting policy initiatives and activities that address four key issues. They are:
- Investment in Technology and Research & Development:
Over the last several decade’s new technologies generated by R & D activities have revolutionized the manufacturing sector. Especially prominent has been newly utilized means of accessing data through the computer technologies and the Internet. In order to maintain Mexican manufacturing leadership, the country must continue to develop systems that enable members of an increasingly trained workforce to connect to sensors, computers, and machines in a more efficient and precise way. Additionally, and, of great importance, Mexican investment in areas such as advanced materials must be of central concern. Advanced materials enable manufacturers to reduce the weight of key components and products that they produce.
- Knowledge and Learning:
As Mexican manufacturing leadership is maintained, it is important that, as additional functions and capabilities increase, professionals in the sector keep current with regard to new and emerging technologies, techniques, and functions. A deeper knowledge of these will allow the leadership of companies in Mexico to identify problems before they arise, and to increase their productivity. This will enable firms to maintain an edge over their competitors. According to the Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC), “manufacturers are already applying automatic learning protocols to the data that is generated throughout productions such as detailed piece quality information, product testing data, and field performance data.” This is all being done to isolate and to solve quality problems and their root causes.
In order to maintain Mexican manufacturing leadership, companies must identify novel ways to care for and preserve their resources. Due to the limited nature of many of these resources companies will have to become more and more sustainable as time goes on. Part of this movement towards improved sustainability is illustrated by the more frequent use of renewable energy technologies. The use of renewable energy will not only be a positive for the companies that utilize it but will also benefit the communities in which they operate and reside.
- Training of Human Resources:
Companies are only as good as the workforce that they employ. Mexican manufacturing leadership will only be sustained if efforts are made to increase the knowledge and expertise of the nation’s human resources through increased training and education. The result of this will be that companies grow together with their employees by creating a stimulating and positive work environment.
Technology, knowledge, sustainability, and talent are simple but yet complex areas that need to be addressed both now and, in the future, so that Mexican manufacturing leadership is maintained. Given past experience, however, it is certain that Mexico, and its productive sector, will continue to make strides in addressing these critical issues.
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