EMSNOW Mexico Executive Interview: Juan Luis Tarín, Vice President, Smartsol
Juan Luis Tarín’s involvement in the electronics industry started more than 20 years ago and has encompassed a diverse set of experiences that give him a particular perspective and knowledge of electronics assembly. Working with Smartsol for over 5 years now, Juan Luis is heading the efforts to provide customers and partners with the highest quality customer support and service. His extensive experience helps guide best practices for assembly lines and processes. During his career, he has continued developing his management and commercial knowledge collaborating with global companies like ASM, Nordson, BTU, KYZEN and AIM, coordinating sales activities and customer requirements with different partners based on three different continents. EMSNOW caught up with Juan to get an update on EMS in Mexico.
EMSNOW: Smartsol is deeply involved in the electronics manufacturing industry in Mexico, with customers in many of the facilities all across the region. Tell us about Smartsol and your experience working with Smartsol the past five years.
Smartsol is a company which has been characterized by providing real solutions for customers. We don’t work selling machines, we work on understanding customers’ needs and consulting with them to find the best solution. We adapt every day to new challenges, and work on resolving new problems in the shortest possible time.
Being part of Smartsol help me to continue to grow and innovate. As a matter of fact, our secret formula is the ability to change constantly. This keeps us as the principal partner for the most of OEMS in Mexico.
EMSNOW: What has Smartsol been doing to respond to the pandemic? Have you changed how you interact with customers? How has your business been impacted?
The Electronic Assembly Industry is considered as essential activity in Mexico, therefore our company has been requested to keep operating while applying the protocols on health care based on OEM and Jalisco and other states’ regulations. Our Company is certified to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus: we clean all surfaces with chlorine solutions four times per working day, avoid attending large meetings, cover mouth and nose with a mask, take temperature at entrance area.
New equipment installation requires the presence of our Engineers in customer sites, but our remote support has grown nearly 300% compared with 2019. More than 70% of our employees have been testing with the PCR test.
EMSNOW: You have been involved in the industry for 20 years. How have things changed during that time, and what would you say are the main strengths of Mexico electronics manufacturing in 2020.
Engineering principles remain the same, however product requirements and assembly technology have been rapidly changing year over year. We can say that there are three technology generations in these 20 years. The maturity of the industry in Mexico helps to keep a great balance between experience and empowerment for the new industry requirements; right now there are at least eight regions in Mexico with mature industry capabilities and factories setting up new operations, so all of them are taking the advantage of the logistic infrastructure, proximity with USA, and the know-how of our people. Now the product diversification allows us to manufacture a wide range of products, including remote controls, medical devices, computers circuits and complex telecommunication products.
EMSNOW: What long-term impact do you think the pandemic will have on the industry? What do you think the ‘new normal’ will look like?
While the COVID virus has brought decreases in all sectors, the manufacturing sector in Mexico has grown more than 4% in the past few months. In most of the year, Smartsol showed positive growth with an increase in revenue of more than 12% and we also had 25% growth in our staff, focusing in applications and customer service.
The new normal has come to stay. As a company we need to improve in customer care and experience to keep and build strong relationships.
EMSNOW: Mexico’s engineering capabilities have become very advanced. What technologies/end markets do you think will become more important in the future? Will design engineering take a bigger role?
Definitely engineering design will take a biggest role for the future. New projects demand sophisticated processes and technologies. Telecom, medical and energy are some of the main sectors that will keep growing and play a leading role in the markets right now.
It is expected that in two years all sectors will return to the pre-COVID consumption. We have to be prepared to be able to provide qualified services for an accelerated demand and also comply with the new requirements demanded.
EMSNOW: What will be the main drivers of growth in Mexico for 2021?
“made in USA” program drives sub-assemblies relocation, so most of them will come from Asia to Mexico, also the increase of sales for PHEV and EREV drives technology transition into the traditional assemblers. Also, the restrictions due Covid-19 situation is speeding up the implementation for automation, allowing to have more collaboration between robot vs humans instead of human vs human.
EMSNOW: What kind of marketing programs will Smartsol be promoting in 2021? Will you be going to APEX? Will you be changing your strategy?
We currently have a regional growth. We expanded our sales and support service to USA in the last month. For the next year we are looking for achieve our own brand machineries consolidation in Mexico and USA market.
For the purpose of maintain safety and healthy environment for employees and customers, we will continue promoting and creating several focused digital events with our commercial partners. This year we attracted more than 1,000 users on different webinars during the year.
We will participate in APEX virtual experience 2021 and expo show in 2022. Besides others interesting options for digital marketing.
SMarTsol still highly committed with the SMTA, so we will continue supporting the chapters in Mexico
EMSNOW: What else have you observed about the electronics manufacturing in Mexico? Will the trend toward regionalization continue to bring more business from China to Mexico? If so, do you have some advice for companies trying to move programs into Mexico?
Mexico offers easy setup programs for foreign companies; they can begin from scratch and have a big facility in no more than 6 months or they can choose to work with any of the many shelters where they can install their lines within a few weeks and be ready for manufacturing in a couple months. So basically Mexico can support fast transitions and ramp up according to market needs.
EMSNOW: Do you have anything else you’d like to tell EMSNOW readers?
This year seems like a difficult year in many ways. Personal, professional, family dynamics, security, health habits have all drastically changed quickly in few days. As a tech promoter we have the mission to bring new options to support the economy and social well-being. Let’s all take this year as a learning experience to create solutions focused on real value for growth and development.