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MEXICO - Industry

Manuel Nieblas

Audit Partner, Deloitte

Bio

Manuel Nieblas has a degree in accounting from Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México and from the IPADE senior management program. He is audit partner at Deloitte with 29 years of experience working at Deloitte mainly for the automotive, manufacturing, and consumer products industries. He has worked on the audit of material subsidiaries of public companies, provided advice on the registration of international business acquisitions, and supported the offer and placement of capital and debt instruments in Mexico and abroad. He was appointed Deloitte Mexico’s Manufacturing Industry Leader in 2013.

"To start with, Mexican manufacturing is extremely competitive on an international scale."
How competitive is the manufacturing industry for Deloitte in Mexico compared to global standards?

To start with, Mexican manufacturing is extremely competitive on an international scale. With regards to global competencies, Mexico is usually in the range to 40-50th place. Deloitte has been conducting a study on international competitive manufacturing every three years named Global Manufacturing Competitive Index. According to our last study that we conducted in 2016, Mexico was ranked eighth globally in manufacturing. If we talk about its competitive advantages, Mexico’s proximity to the US is the main one. Another is the low costs of labor, especially in manufacturing. The third advantage is that most international manufacturing is about meeting market demands, but the local market is also important, and Mexico has a large domestic market. This represents an opportunity for a company that wants to invest in Mexico to not only think about exports but also the local market. The fourth advantage is Mexico’s commercial treaties with 45 countries, including the US and Canada. More than 70% of its manufacturing production is exported to the US. Furthermore, new relationships with Asian countries being built in the last few years makes Mexico’s position even more interesting because that means new markets. Those are the main competitive advantages Mexico has from the manufacturing point of view.

What technologies are missing in the automotive industry in Mexico?

It is difficult to specify just one. We practically have needs across the entire production chain. For example, the steel required for the automotive industry is not produced in Mexico. Mexico has large steel companies, but the specialization level needed for the industry is so high that only a few local suppliers can produce this steel. A clear solution would be to invest in a steel company that can produce first-level steel for the industry so Mexico can stop buying it from Japan or South Korea. There are many components and car parts still being imported from other countries. The interesting thing here is to have the right characteristics so that a foreign investor would invest in Mexico. It could be the same automotive industry provider producing its car parts in Japan deciding to invest in Mexico and make them here, with local raw materials. Those are the types of investments we can attract by reducing our costs and risks while increasing our efficiency. At the end of the day, when it comes to manufacturing products, the most important things are price, quality, and opportunity, which is why it is so important to know the consumer. Part of the studies we perform are focused on consumer trends. We have an extremely active role, and we want it to be even more active. We are investing money in Deloitte to achieve this. Globally, we already have three laboratories for Industry 4.0 manufacturing where we have production processes from beginning to end so clients can see all of 4.0 manufacturing, and the idea is to expand this. We bring our clients there, where they can see the process with exponential technologies, augmented reality, digital printing, and digital twins. Clients can understand how they can modify part of their processes to become more competitive. We do not want to fall behind other countries.

Which is the main sector regarding exports and job-generating?

Mexico is heavily focused on the automotive sector; however, the products and industrial processes sector is crucial as well. The third sector where we see great opportunities to keep growing is the chemicals sector. Because of its location, Mexico has many opportunities to develop important chemical products and raw materials for the other sectors. There is a good growth opportunity there, and we have made several investments. In fact, lithium is considered to be a national asset. Everything related to minerals and raw materials for other manufacturing processes is a great opportunity for us.

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