By: Stephen Downer
June 18, 2014
MONTERREY, MEXICO — Custom injection molder Evco Plastics Inc. is mulling plans to open a fourth plant in Mexico, senior executives say.
“We are going to have a fourth plant in Mexico at some stage,” Dale Evans, the DeForest, Wis., company’s president told Plastics News. “[But] it won’t be next year.”
“We will probably look [for a site] in El Bajío,” said Carlos González, sales director of Evco Plastics de México S de RL de CV, Evco’s Mexican subsidiary. El Bajío is a rapidly expanding industrial region in north-central Mexico.
And that may not be the end of Evco’s growth south of the U.S. border, where three facilities — two in Monterrey and one in Ciudad Juárez — opened between 2001 and 2007. The plants now account for 30 to 35 percent of 50-year-old Evco’s $130 million in total annual sales, Evans said.
“We need to think about a fifth plant [in Mexico] also,” chipped in Humberto Garza Dávila, the Mexican subsidiary’s president who is also one of Dale Evans’s two partners in Mexico — the other one being Carlos González’s father, Carlos González Sr.
According to Evans, who accompanied Plastics News on a tour of Evco’s Monterrey 1 [or M1] facility, Evco’s Mexico operations are growing 20 percent a year while in the United States growth is close to 12 percent. Evco has nine plants in the United States, Mexico and China.
The M1 plant, opened in 2001, covers 72,000 square feet and employs 53 machine operators and 23 technicians, divided between machine and tool technicians. The plant runs three shifts a day, six days a week.
Its 20 presses, 15 of which are electric, have a clamping force range of 23 to 1,100 tons. They are Toyos, Milacrons and Nisseis.
Alfredo Elizondo Decanini, director of operations in Monterrey, has overseen the introduction of what he described as “a lean and mean manufacturing process,” whose elements include a Syscon-PlantStar production monitoring system and a production leveling system.
“We had help for three months to establish the system, which has been in our hands for three years,” said Elizondo. “We have 50 different efficiency indicators for this facility.”
“Our global customers demand the same system [of manufacturing] and the same quality” in all plants, added González Jr, explaining the presence of PlantStar.
“We knew we had to do something different after the 2008 economic crisis,” he said. “We did this to try to reduce our costs and give our customers more value.”
Evans said $40 million worth of new business will be handled by the Evco group in the United States, Mexico and China in the next 12 to 18 months.
The M1 plant supplies customers in such fields as electronics. A typical product is housing for control panels.
Having Mexican partners has paid dividends for Evco in many ways but especially when it comes to retaining staff. The M1 and M2 factories are located not within industrial parks, where most multinational operations are found, but in a residential area.
“We take care of our people. We give them nice working conditions and salaries. We invest a lot of money and time in training. Two percent of Evco Mexico’s turnover goes into training,” said Carlos González.
Garza Dávila said that Evco has learned to “take advantage of the institutions in Mexico that have training programs. … We are about to sign an agreement with Ciqa [Centro de Investigación en Quimica Aplicada]. They can help us with tooling, injection molding, new compounds, etc., through research they have done in plastics.”
He said it will be the first such agreement between the government-funded Ciqa and a plastics processor in the state of Nuevo León.