Grupo Industrial Vera SA (GIVSA), a leading injection molder for the international cosmetics industry, plans to move half its operations into new premises in Querétaro, 130 miles from its home base in the Mexico City metropolitan area.
The three-company group's largest clients, Avon Cosmetics S de RL de CV and Jafra Cosmetics Internacional SA de CV, already have decamped to the city or are about to do so.
Avon is already in Celaya, near Queretaro, and Jafra will start moving there in July, said Federíco Vera Palafox, GIVSA's founder and managing director. Being close to such important clients is a necessity for us.
He expects the company's new plant to be operational in 2010.
Avon accounted for 40 percent and Jafra for 20 percent of GIVSA's sales of about $16 million in 2008, Vera said.
He plans to keep about 50 percent of the company's manufacturing in the municipality of Naucalpan, where he established GIVSA in 1979.
Other customers include SC Johnson and Son SA de CV (18 percent of sales), House of Fuller SA de CV (8 percent), Dixon Ticonderoga de Mexico SA de CV (6 percent), Schwan-Stabilo Cosmetics GmbH & Co (3 percent), Dart Tupperware SA de CV. and Stanhome de Mexico SA.
An accountant and a native of the state of San Luís Potosí, Vera has been in the plastics industry since the age of 14 and has had a business relationship with Avon for 49 years.
The company, which employs 478, 75 percent of them women, comprises three companies: Precisón en Plasticos y Moldes SA de CV (or PPM Plasticos), founded in 1979; Moldeo de Plasticos Far SA de CV (or FAR), started in 1984; and Fabricacón de Moldes y Plasticos SA de CV (FMP), which Vera launched in 1985.
GIVSA'a three plants occupy 38,000 square feet. Altogether, they process about 2.6 million pounds of polypropylene; 234,000 pounds of DuPont's Surlyn; and 441,000 pounds of other resins, including ABS and polysty-rene, each year.
Vera said he believes that the company is probably the biggest user of Surlyn in Mexico. We've developed it a lot, he said. We have a culture of cosmetics quality.
He's particularly proud of GIVSA's design and mold-making operation.
Twenty-four years ago, people told me it would be crazy to start designing and manufacturing molds in house. But today FMP has given added value to the services GIVSA offers. I don't make molds for the street, only for the items we make.
FMP employs 50. The mold designers work with computer software such as SolidWorks, PowerSHAPE, PowerMILL and Auto Card.
We have designed and produced molds in two weeks for Avon, Vera said.
FAR is GIVSA's biggest employer with 275 workers, while PPM has 153 employees.
FAR has 17 presses. The clamping forces range from 110-460 tons, compared with PPM's 12 machines with clamping forces from 55-140 tons.
Fourteen of the group's presses were made by Nissei ASB; nine by Negri Bossi SpA; five by Krauss Maffei Technologies GmbH; and one by JSW Plastics Machinery Inc.
The company replaces its presses with new machines every 10 years. We have never used second-hand machines, Vera said.
Among the newest is a Krauss Maffei 130 380 CX, which it bought for 85,000 euros (US$117,000) after winning work with Schwan-Stabilo in early 2008.
The machine has a double robot and is just the same as the ones Schwan-Stabilo uses in Germany, Vera said.
Despite the global economic downturn, huge increases in the price of raw materials, a 30 percent drop in the value of the peso in the past eight months, and swine flu epidemics, Vera is bullish about the future.
Fortunately, we've not had to fire anyone, Vera said. We have a lot of work.
The company is working three shifts per day, six days a week, and often operates Sunday overtime.
The fact that 18 percent of what we produce is for export has helped me because GIVSA is paid in dollars when its products are shipped out of the country, Vera said. Countries to which GIVSA exports include the United States, France, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia.
Vera said the group has never seen sales drop from one year to the next.
Asked how many more years he plans to run the business, the 68-year-old Vera, who employs two of his own sons, replied: Working is my life.
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