Eduardo de la Tijera has an aggressive agenda for his two-year role as president of the Asociacón Nacional de Industrias del Plastico AC, known as Anipac, the national trade group for plastics in Mexico. He will continue pushing a training program started by outgoing President Horacio Lobo and focus on trying to advance the Phoenix Project, which, if finally implemented, will boost domestic resin production in Mexico.
De la Tijera assumed the post March 9 after a 48-47 vote. The association also elected a new, 11-person executive committee at the same time.
``I decided to take this challenge, knowing I couldn't be consulting for Anipac for two years,'' said de la Tijera, president of consulting firm Grupo Texne, in a March 29 interview at Plastimagen in Mexico City. The trade group long has been one of his small firm's major clients.
``This is a critical time for the plastics industry. We can regain momentum, and we can aspire to grow. ... But we can also launch into a situation that can leave us in a very big crisis. I feel that I have the vision of the entire chain'' he said.
The Mexican plastics industry, according to de la Tijera, has had its struggles. The industry experienced a five-year period of accelerated growth from 1995-2000. Its annual growth from 2001-05 averaged only 3 percent, in terms of actual plastic parts production.
``That means that all the effort that plastics processors have put in modernizing, updating their equipment, expanding their capacity, they have not [profited],'' he said. ``Nevertheless, if we look at the statistics of plastics machinery and tooling imports, which account for 85-90 percent of the total investment of plastics processors in capital goods, we are averaging $1 billion a year of investment.''
He noted that processors' capital spending peaked in the heady years of 1999-2000, to about $1.2 billion per year, but in the past two full years has slipped back to just below $1 billion a year.
De la Tijera also plans to focus on processors.
``We recognize they're the heart of the chain and the heart of the industry,'' he said. ``Small and medium-sized processors have specific needs that we want to address,'' he said, citing training as an example. Some 95 percent of Mexico's estimated 3,200 processors are small to midsize.
One training project in Mexico will begin in August. Polymer professors from Spain will visit to help train their counterparts in Mexico.
De la Tijera said Lobo invested several months in putting this project together, and he is glad to have him stay on to continue leading this effort to ``teach the teachers.'' Mexico does have plastics training programs, the new president noted, but ``we need a lot more, even for the owners and managers.''