The Business Year

Felipe Villarreal Treviño

MEXICO - Industry

Felipe Villarreal Treviño

CEO, Alian Plastics

Bio

Felipe Villarreal Treviño holds a degree in industrial and systems engineering from ITESM, as well as a Global MBA for Latin American Managers from ITESM and Thunderbird in addition to different certificates in finance, operations, sales, and lean manufacturing programs. He has worked in plant, operations, and commercial management for more than 22 years, with multifunctional teams from different cultures, including India, China, the US, the Caribbean, Italy, and Mexico. After graduation, he joined General Electric and was selected for the company’s operations management leadership program. He has held management roles at Pentair and Broad-Ocean Motor.

Diversifying into different sectors and providing value-added services for its clients has helped Alian Plastics remain successful in difficult times.

What is the main added value that Alian Plastics offers the Mexican market compared to other competitors?

There are many companies operating in the plastic injection industry. We set ourselves apart because we are able to perform additional operations, to deliver a more integrated product. Additionally, we develop projects from scratch alongside our customers, having multiple partnerships (in Europe, the US, and Asia) with whom we are developing different tools.

With the rise in industrial demand, how do you plan on taking advantage of this momentum?

The market recovery has created more demand than we had expected in 2021. With the pandemic, we are going through a challenging time. Some companies had to cease operations during the pandemic, which led to a shortage of resins. Since we import them from various locations, we can clearly see how the supply chain has been affected. We had to find alternative resins and work side by side with our customers, who continue to support us. Our resin stock used to last for three to four week; today, it is only sufficient for three to four hours. This is a situation that will probably continue until next year. Prices have also been affected, the shortage of resins increases their prices. Our partners in our supply chain are fully transparent, working always with honesty and integrity, which are crucial values in Alian.

What is Alian’s strategy for continued growth?

Transporting plastic is expensive, as the weight does not justify the price of the shipping. We are located in Monterrey, and we plan on expanding within the same plant, growing in the same area. Even with the pandemic we have taken on new projects. In 2008, Alian Plastics was 100% automotive, while today we manufacture in the automotive, heavy-duty, trailers, toy parts, air conditioners, and in the agricultural sectors. Over three years, we have diversified ourselves into five industries. It has taken us a while to develop, and what we achieved in 2021 we started in 2018. Now, we have new customers in diverse industries and are looking to develop business in proximate regions. We aim to be the added value for our customers and their products, that they then transfer to foreign markets.

What strategies is Alian using to deliver a more integrated portfolio of services?

We deliver a more integrated product to customers, taking care of secondary operations. For the customer, receiving a product that is pre-assembled has much more value than mere plastic injection. We operate with medium to high tonnages, and can produce parts from 330 to 1,650 tons and also do the injection molding process called insert-modeling. In terms of logistics, we operate to the just-in-time process with multiple customers, even though timing by definition is as challenge. We know the monthly volume and yet customers send us their orders four hours prior to shipment. This has been the biggest challenge for us. In addition, there is the health concern to contend with. Our employees must be safe in the facilities, we have to ensure safety measures, and that there are no outbreaks.

What are your main goals for the next year?

Our main goal is to develop the programs we have just won, create projects from scratch, work to challenging deadlines, adapt logistics, and work with our partners, both in Europe and Asia. Our main challenge is to achieve the customer satisfaction that took us two and half years to earn. Our second goal is to realize the sales forecast, which is rather difficult to achieve with the pandemic and the shortages. The market has been reactivated and there is plenty of supply, although there is staff absenteeism to consider due to sanitary restrictions. Indeed, retaining our employees has also been a challenge this year. Another of our goals is to diversify ourselves, something that we already begun to achieve with the culture industry.

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