GOING FURTHER

Mexico 2016 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ignacio Jiménez y Díaz, Director General of IDAMEX, on international markets and the effect the TPP will have on manufacturing for the aluminum extraction industry.

Ignacio Jiménez y Díaz
BIOGRAPHY
Ignacio Jiménez y Díaz earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Instituto Politecnico Nacional in Mexico City. He is an entrepreneur and has built a 100% Mexican company that provides opportunities to more than 270 employees in Guadalajara. IDAMEX has been a leading company in the local market for more than 35 years, as well as in the US and Central and South America, offering solutions for manufacturing dies for the aluminum extrusion industry based on the highest quality standards and state-of-the-art technology.

How did you found IDAMEX, and how has the company grown since then?

I began working in an aluminum industry in Mexico City, where I also had the opportunity to study engineering through a scholarship granted by my employer at the time. I was later selected to work for an aluminum company in Guadalajara that required a specialist in the area of expertise I developed over the previous year. After 12 years of working for that company, I decided to start my own business, which I have operated successfully for more than 36 years now. Our business has since grown by 15 times that of our original operation, mostly because of the highly developed level of technology that we integrate, which matches that of industrial competitors in countries such as the US, Canada, or Italy.

What are your biggest markets in today?

Mexico is our largest market, with 60% of our production remaining in the country. We also export to Central and South America and the US, where we are planning to set up an office to drive growth in North America through our in-field expertise. One of the advantages that we offer is that we manage the whole production chain from beginning-to-end with a certification of Quality Assurance ISO9012015 that provides confidence to all our customers. We always try to acquire the most advanced machinery, replacing existing capital assets when they become outdated or obsolete. We have traveled to Germany, Turkey, Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, the US, and China to inspect equipment, steel, and technology by some of the world's best companies before purchasing new components.

How would you characterize Guadalajara as a region for doing business?

We are privileged in Guadalajara as we are between Mexico City and the north of the country. We find it easy to reach international providers and clients. We recently purchased 360 tons of steel from Turkey, and we are about to receive new machinery from Germany. Our international supply chain is much easier to manage operating in Guadalajara compared to other parts of the country. Foreign companies have realized how serious we are when it comes to doing business and we receive plenty of cooperation in our efforts to grow.

How would you characterize the availability of qualified technicians and engineers?

We have highly qualified engineers whom we have trained in order to adapt them to our machinery. However, we have had difficulty expanding our technical labor force, as there is a shortage of specialized workers. We currently have around 220 employees here in our Guadalajara plant and 50 more in our other production center. Our human capital is fundamental to the sustainability of IDAMEX.

Do you think that Mexico's international trade agreements are beneficial for your exports?

The international trade agreements that Mexico has signed are indeed beneficial. Even though we have found some markets difficult to penetrate, such as Brazil, the provisions of these trade agreements have enabled us to open up a path to other markets, such as the US, Argentina, and Colombia. Even though one of our main competitors from Canada recently invested in Colombia and Colombian companies can now purchase their products locally, it still opts to get its components from us, as it trusts the reliable quality of our products.

What are your top priorities for the growth of IDAMEX in the future?

Our immediate goals involved setting up branches in other countries, as we can track the high level of acceptance we have enjoyed in those markets where we have launched local operations. We are planning to set up a plant in Tijuana to facilitate moving our products more easily to the US, as American companies have stringent expectations regarding supply-chain efficiency all the way to the foot of their doorstep. By continuing along this trajectory, it is our main goal to become the undisputed leader in our sector.