Mexico's Jaguar Corp. SA de CV is poised to restore production only two months after fire destroyed a plant that was the nation's leading manufacturer of polystyrene cups and containers.
When the fire hit the Zapopan facility near Guadalajara, Chief Executive Officer Jose Julian Franco, pledged to accelerate the planned launch of a the firm's new factory in Tlaxcala, 70 miles east of Mexico City.
One line at the Tlaxcala plant already is in production, Franco said in a July 6 telephone interview, and a second line will come on stream early next month. That should bring Tlaxcala's production up to 100,000 cases of 1,000 cups a month, a third of the company's pre-fire output at Guadalajara.
Things are moving fast at Guadalajara too, Franco said.
``We've made all the necessary equipment purchases and the layout's been determined,'' he said. The new plant will measure 183,600 square feet and the company expects the first line to begin production by October.
Once in full production — Franco would not say when that will occur — the Guadalajara plant will turn out 450,000 cases a month, bringing Jaguar's total output up to 550,000.
In all, Franco reckons, Jaguar is paying $20 million to rebuild in Guadalajara and get Tlaxcala into production. He said the firm's insurers are paying their full share of the bill.
While Jaguar was out of production it met its commitments to its supermarket customers by buying replacement goods from other producers. Where the company lost out was in small-scale retail and what Mexicans call the informal market of street traders that abound in all the big cities.
``Street traders and corner shops found alternative supplies from small companies that make a lower-grade product,'' Franco said. ``But we're confident we can make up the lost ground.''
The May 4 fire started in a storage area but quickly spread when it reached solvents, destroying the plant. All the workers were evacuated, but seven firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
The plant had employed 650 of the company's total work force of 1,700.