Tecma Group of Companies offers supply chain management and other services to U.S. manufacturers operating in Mexico.
By Jim Harris
Many U.S.-based manufacturers look to Mexico as a place to produce their goods for a number of reasons. Mexico’s proximity to the United States as well as its low overhead costs, among other factors, all contribute to making it an attractive offshoring option.
In recent years, Mexico has proven to be even more desirable as a manufacturing hotbed than China and other Asian countries that traditionally housed factories and exported goods to the United States. The country’s lower taxes and tariffs, more favorable wage structure, economic status and shorter transit times have convinced many to do business there instead of across the Pacific Ocean.
For more than 30 years, the Tecma Group of Companies has made it easy for manufacturers to set up shop in the United States’ southern neighbor. The El Paso, Texas-based company offers shelter partnership services to U.S. manufacturers.
The Tecma Group owns and operates more than 30 manufacturing sites in Mexico. Its clients retain ownership of their manufacturing processes and technology, but contract most other functions out to the company.
The company’s services include managing hiring and other human resources functions as well as building operations, cafeteria services, legal services, U.S. Customs compliance, transportation and logistics, and vendor management. “We are a turnkey solution for manufacturing operations inside of Mexico,” Vice President of Global Supply Chain and Logistics John Rippee says.
President and CEO K. Alan Russell and three partners founded the Tecma Group in 1985. In its early years, the company operated 8,500 total square feet of space; today, it has more than 3.2 million square feet of production, warehouse and distribution space in Mexico and the United States.
The company has more than 75 U.S.-based and global manufacturing clients. Clients include aerospace, automotive, medical, electronics and general manufacturers. The majority of Tecma Group’s clients maintains engineering and design functions in the United States. “We work with everyone from mom-and-pop companies to Fortune 500 manufacturers,” he adds.
Tecma Group tailors its services to a customer based on its operational size, corporate structure, market-driven needs, production requirements, internal culture and customer and supply base. “We sell ourselves based on our cross-border knowledge and what we need to do to service clients,” Rippee says.
Supply Chain Services
Tecma Group offers an extensive range of supply chain services to both its shelter services customers as well as other manufacturers in Mexico. Its distribution assets include two distribution centers in El Paso and a fleet of cross-border trucks and trailers. The company oversees more than 13,000 import and exports of finished goods and raw materials annually, Rippee notes.
The company offers ongoing training and assistance to its clients on activities including sourcing and procurement, conversion and logistics management. This includes training them on international trade and shipping requirements. “It is critical to get our clients on the right foot so they do not experience supply chain disruptions,” Rippee says.
Tecma Group’s supply chain services are offered on a strategic, tactical and operational level. Its strategic services include helping manufacturers optimize their warehouses, distribution facilities and factories. In addition, the company helps its clients develop partnerships with suppliers and distributors and assists them in installing and improving supply chain technology.
The company has developed a fully automated shipping and logistics system that integrates transportation management and regulatory management functions. The system reconciles packing lists with a master list of components that includes thousands of parts. “We can ensure parts are coded for international trade and validate the cost structure of a particular component,” Rippee says.
Tecma Group’s tactical services include facilitating sourcing contracts and purchasing relationships. The company can also help clients make decisions regarding production, inventory management and transportation routes. The company operates a command center that tracks its clients’ shipments.
The company’s operational supply chain services include helping clients establish daily production and distribution schedules as well as demand planning and forecasting plans. Tecma Group can also oversee sourcing plans, inbound and outbound supply activities and production operations related to the consumption of raw materials and the flow of finished goods. It also conducts periodic supplier reviews on clients’ behalf. Tecma also carries its strategic partnerships with companies such as SINCE, a highly regarded Mexican Customs broker.
Tecma Group continues to enhance its physical footprint. The company last year purchased two shelter operations in Tijuana, and is pursuing additional growth opportunities. “We always have real estate acquisitions going, which can sometimes take two years to complete,” Rippee says.