EMSNOW Mexico: Executive Interview – Luis Alberto Tapia Camarena
LUIS ALBERTO TAPIA CAMARENA, Director of Sales, Repstronics began his professional life nearly three decades ago during his studies in Electronics in CETI (Centro de Enseñanza Tecnica Industrial) and Industrial Engineering in UdeG (Universidad de Guadalajara) in Guadalajara Jalisco, Mexico. He built upon his degree with extensive experience in the EMS and OEM industry at companies like AT&T, Philips and Benchmark where he focused on manufacturing engineering, as well as technology, test and operations. Today as Repstronics’ Director of Sales for Mexico and Central America, his wide practical experience and continuous focus on technology helps him transform challenges/needs into opportunities to help customers build electronics assemblies with the highest level of quality/reliability. We caught up with Luis to hear his insights about Mexico EMS.
EMSNOW: What are the strengths of the electronics industry in Mexico?
Mexico has a strategic geographical location for supply, manufacturing and accessibility to all markets, several seaports at the east and west coasts that facilitate import/export activities. Regarding manufacturing there are several manufacturing hotspots, Mexico still remains as a very competitive worldwide option in terms of priviliged location and production costs with a very high skilled and experienced workforce at most of the industry types. Due to the accessibility, many companies have decided to relocate their operations to Mexico, reducing distances, response times and transportation costs targeting the consumer markets expectations.
EMSNOW: What are the current challenges of doing business here?
2023 comes with some challenges mainly driven by the high level of uncertainty, labor shortages, supply chain shortages and others. Because of this I do see it is mandatory to keep in consideration investing in the right technologies, this will help companies to be more efficient and will help to improve forecasting. Advance technology, automation and implementing digital capabilities will help to ensure profitability and provide the necessary edge.
EMSNOW: Will Mexico be able to keep up with the growth arising from companies moving to a regional manufacturing strategy?
Yes, for many years, manufacturing in Mexico has been one of the main drivers for the economy, so the expertise has continuously grown and now is the best time I’ve ever seen to do so. Many leading edge companies have also identified this and have already moved operations to Mexico, in addition there is a list of companies that have already decided to follow the same strategy and they’re now in the process.
EMSNOW: How are universities responding to the need for skilled workers? Will they be able to keep up with the growth?
This is another advantage. Universities in Mexico and Industry have been carrying out several programs together to fulfill workforce needs. I’m really proud to say Mexico has very good universities and some of the best ranked in Latin America. This synergy between Industry and Universities continuously helps to keep educational programs focused and updated according to market needs. As a result, people get into the labor market focused on needs, trends and ready for professional development.
EMSNOW: What other global electronics industry trends are impacting the industry in Mexico?
Electronics industry has changed all society faces, providing most of the fundamentals for a digital revolution supporting many social systems new launches, including those that fulfil people needs as transportation, medical care, energy, communications, and others, This is because electronics is present in all technology developments from small circuits/chips to the most complex and sophisticated devices like healthcare monitors, robots, automated cells, industrial equipment, supplies for IoT and more.
EMSNOW: How has your company weathered recent supply chain disruptions?
Planning and appropriate forecasting and execution is the key; for sure always there will be issues related to supply chain but most of the impacts can be reduced significantly if enough effort is properly invested in this. I agree it is not an easy task, because it requires us to get involved in the early stages in every single project with customers and other supply chain sectors, identifying and understanding final customers’ challenges. Times, expectations and always taking care of the quality, reliability and financial aspects from our customers are always considered as part of the main drivers , but as a result of these efforts it is always satisfactory to hit or exceed our customer expectations, creating success stories.
EMSNOW: What are the most important end market sectors in the industry in Mexico now, and which ones will be the growth drivers for the next 5 years?
There has not been significant changes within the last years, communications, automotive, consumer products are still the end customer markets with most of demand, however, medical, EV and transportation are merging, even though they are not at the expected levels yet, those sectors will continue growing and together with green technologies will become a very big player in the end market Mexico wide.
EMSNOW: What else do you want to say to the EMSNOW audience?
I appreciate the opportunity to share our point of view. More challenges are coming within the electronics industry but we´re ready and committed to our customers in supporting them with the right manufacturing solutions. Leading edge technology, supported by the skilled talented people from current and new generations for sure will take Mexico to the top level.