Mexico's Employees: Young and Entrepreneurial
This is a guest commentary for CNBC.com.
I moved to Mexico in 1996, just after the Peso devaluation caused investors to pull money out of the country and during a time in which I watched professionals hand in the keys to their cars and their homes because interest rates had risen so quickly that leases and mortgages became unaffordable overnight.
We were investing in a greenfield manufacturing facility in Monterrey to support the appliance industry. At that time, the educational and social divides were wide. Infrastructure was poor. It was highly unstable. Mexico was considered a Third World country.
Today, our two largest plants are in Mexico and 60 percent of our global manufacturing employment is based there. Management and engineering capabilities have gained sophistication, fueled by the shift from high labor content businesses, to advanced manufacturing like aerospace, and development of competitive service industries.
Despite worrisome pockets of violence, Mexico remains a business-friendly government and has demonstrated the new cultural norm of embracing incentive to continue to attract and retain foreign investment. The employment base is entrepreneurial and young, eager to learn and compete. Officials understand the threat of other low cost countries and generally support change required to compete against them.
As China becomes more expensive, Mexico has done well to curb its inflation and create stability in its cost structure. It has been a low-cost North American extension of the U.S., embracing the expectations and culture that come with such proximity. We find that our facilities in Mexico have a cost structure that can compete successfully on a global basis, as a key exporter to the U.S., but also to markets and low cost rivals such as Brazil and China.
As investors in Mexico, we now have confidence and comfort in Mexico’s ability to perform to our financial and social expectations, creating high quality products, delivering enterprise value, and operating as a true extension of our North American business.
Stephanie Boyse is the CEO of Brazeway, the world’s largest producer of frost-free evaporator coils and a leading extruder of heat transfer tubing and fabricated products for the HVAC, Appliance and Automotive Industries. Headquartered in Michigan, Brazeway has facilities in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Monterrey, Mexico, Queretaro, Mexico and licensing facilities in Brazil, Turkey and China.
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