TLAJOMULCO DE ZÃÃIGA, MEXICO (April 29, 10 a.m. EDT) — Puget Plastics Corp. SA de CV has reduced its dependence on contract manufacturers and achieved certification under ISO 9002.
“We have a cost model that has allowed us to diversify,” Andre Savelieff, manufacturing director and general manager, told the SPI Global Business Council during a March 19 tour of the Tlajomulco de ZÃºÃ±iga plant. “We are diversifying in nonelectronics products” with consumer and commercial applications.
At one time, 95 percent of the plant's output went to contract manufacturers. “Now, we are supplying 60 percent” to those customers, he said.
Also, Savelieff addressed a dinner meeting about doing business in the Guadalajara area.
“You cannot compete with Asia when you talk about shiploads,” he said, “but you can work short to medium-size runs” requiring quick changes and just-in-time deliveries.
One Puget customer has requirements to produce 25 different stock-keeping units, or SKUs. “We have to get that on Monday and ship on Friday,” Savelieff said. “How to do it is the tricky part.”
Factors in the Mexico equation include legal and regulatory, location and logistics and “crucial human” aspects.
For example, Puget rents three buses to transport contract workers from the town of Zacoalco de Torres. Savelieff described initial recruitment there.
“We go to that town, talk to the mayor and the priest and describe the company,” he said.
Puget may take 60 prospects through a program of introduction, training and testing. “After three days, we may get 20 people” suitable for the work, he said.
Puget employs 380-410, about 60 percent on contract, and operates 47 presses with clamping forces of 40-720 tons.
The 95,000-square-foot facility has 220 tools.
Parent firm Puget Plastics Corp. in Tigard, Ore., established the Tlajomulco de ZÃºÃ±iga site in early 1998 “to get close to a customer who did not want to ship distances,” he said. Puget Plastics has another plant in Long Beach, Miss.
The suburban industrial site lacks running water — unlike central Guadalajara — although the industrial park has a well with a 50-year-old permit.
“We don't have much control there” and encounter stiff charges for consumption, Savelieff said. The rainy season helps replenish the water table and well level. “We have to truck water” to the plant, he said. In establishing the facility, “we planned towers. We used chillers.”
Puget has a joint venture, Mendoza-Puget Tool Co., with local tool maintenance.