MEXICO CITY - Exporting has been a lifeline to custom injection molder Alfonzo Gomez Lopez. If it were not for his established business and links with Mexican subsidiaries of such big industrial names as Mercedes-Benz, Black & Decker and Meulinex, Gomez said, he would be out of business.
Gomez is general manager of sister companies Articulos de Bakelita SA and Plastibac SA, both of Mexico City. The firms operate 25 injection presses with clamping forces of 100-350 tons, and also have compression and transfer molding equipment. The companies achieved 1994 sales of US$1.5 million.
Both firms make a range of electrical and electronic parts, packaging for cosmetics, and parts for the warehousing sector, Gomez said. The firms injection mold both thermoplastic and thermoset resins.
``We began to experience our own crisis four to five years ago with the weak domestic market. So, we started to work with foreign companies,'' Gomez said.
``That is what keeps us at work. If we only worked with Mexican companies now, we would not be in business.''
Gomez admits that, despite his reliance on exports, the economic downturn in Mexico already has touched his companies. He lost at least one undisclosed foreign customer for electronic parts. That firm, which represented 5 percent of sales for Gomez, could not accept price increases.
Like many other Mexican processors, Gomez had to call a halt to any new capital investment in equipment. He put off buying a new, automatic, US$60,000 thermoset flashing machine when the price in pesos rose dramatically late last year.
Costs for the Mexican processor have continued to rise - wages for Gomez's 60-strong work force climbed 10 percent in January and have risen 12 percent since April 1.
``We have to be very disciplined with company costs and on improved productivity,'' he said.
To enhance business, the firms have designed and produced their own products for a new Mexican market. They now mold polypropylene pencils and lunch boxes.