Nypro Precision Assemblies Inc. invested $750,000 to create a larger clean room and consolidate some operations.
NPA is at a crossroads in the company's development, Fernando Velazquez, chairman and president, told an Aug. 15 gathering of customers and suppliers at the firm's Tijuana maquiladora. Chula Vista, Calif.-based NPA needs to change ``to face the economic downturn, and competition [from] other regions,'' especially Asia.
``We can no longer depend on low labor cost as a main competitive advantage of the maquiladora industry,'' he said. ``We must offer a unified approach between business and government'' to fix road and utility infrastructure problems, simplify administrative procedures and educate workers.
Velazquez and Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., established the business in 1993. Now, Velazquez is nearing retirement. Jay Poe, NPA vice president and general manager, has agreed to acquire Velazquez's one-half ownership over several years. Poe joined Nypro in 2000 and moved to NPA in early 2001.
During June and July, NPA constructed an 18,500-square-foot, Class 100,000 clean room in an existing facility and vacated another building four blocks away that had a clean room of 13,000 square feet.
NPA, which employs 480 in Tijuana and 12 in Chula Vista, assembles medical devices and, for now, electromechanical parts for a major computer manufacturer. NPA had sales of about $91 million for the fiscal year ended June 29, up from $54 million and $19 million, respectively, for 2001 and 2000. Velazquez forecasts a significant sales dip in the current fiscal year as a result of losing the computer business to Asia.
Over several years, NPA has moved to more medical work from lower-value assembly tasks involving irrigation equipment, mountain-bike shock absorbers, flashlights and cellular telephones. Medical products include blood and enteral feeding bags, cardiovascular tubing sets and syringes. Outside vendors supply tubing and film, mostly PVC, and NPA obtains injection molded parts largely from a sister company, Nypro San Diego Inc. in Chula Vista.
NPA performs electronic and leak testing, radio-frequency and sonic welding, silk screening, heat staking, ultraviolet bonding and pad printing.
In January, NPA took internal control of accounting, taxation, permitting, human-resource management and import-export services. In addition, the maquiladora's name was changed to NPA de Mexico SA de CV from Ensamblas Nypro SA de CV.
NPA has a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Chula Vista, but improved handling of materials and finished goods has eliminated the need for the space.