Category Archives: Mexico

Procurement Does Need to Worry About Mexico …

In a recent post over on Spend Matters, we were given 3 Reasons Why Procurement Needs to Worry About Mexico. Namely, the facts that:

  • Trump could rewrite, or rescind, trade agreements
  • Financial Barriers could come in many forms and firewall trade
  • Internal unrest (due to rising gas prices, etc.) could disrupt supply

All of these could cause chaos for Mexican dependent supply chains. But this could open up opportunities. Let’s take them one by one

No trade agreement? No problem. Tax hikes can go both ways. The US will impose import quotas and high duties. But so will Mexico, because there will be no reason not too. Sure, the US might buy more from Mexico than Mexico buys from the US, and it might hurt Mexico, but if trade agreements are torn down, it’s not just Mexico that will suffer in this way, and retaliate. As a result, there will be opportunities to sell into other countries. It just takes contingency planning. Start now!

Financial barriers can come from any direction at any time. This is just a reality of global supply chains. Leading supply chains are always monitoring global trade regulations, current and forthcoming duties, new rulings, exchange rates, and other financial barriers — and incentives — and have backup plans to take advantage of changes, and avoid penalties, when necessary. Every barrier that is raised is typically followed by a barrier that is taken down somewhere else by another party looking to take advantage of the shake-up. Those who monitor their global operations will find another door opening for every door that closes.

Mexico, like many countries, has a history of unrest — and a history of dealing with it. This is likely an issue that is being blown out of proportion. It’s true that the unrest, and disruptions, could get worse before they get better, but they are not likely to bring the country to its knees or cause any significant or long-term damage to your supply chain. Basically, it’s just a matter of monitoring for potentially disruptive events, which is something a leading Procurement organization should be doing anyway, and taking preventative action upon the identification of a potentially disruptive event.

In other words, given that an organization, in response to these potential threats, should be:

  • exploring global options,
  • monitoring global tariffs, taxes, exchange rates, and coming changes, and
  • monitoring current events that could potentially impact the organization’s supply chain

the organization can use this to their advantage and identify new global markets before their competitors, take advantages of differences in tariffs and exchange rates to lower costs, and shift supply to backup locations when a primary location is affected, or about to be affected, by an external event. So, Procurement can worry about Mexico, or use it as the reason to finally implement supply chain monitoring, and benefit from that decision.

You Don’t Need Nuevo Esquema de Empresas Certificadas to Improve Cross-Border Shipping with Mexico

You just have to make sure that that the goods are picked up with a destination in the United States, not near the Mexican border, even if the customs broker tries to insist that the goods have to stop at a location near the border for dreyage or inspection under current regulations. The reason your broker wants the goods to stop at a Mexican border destination like Nuevo Laredo is because you have to pay the IVA (Impuesto al Valor Agregado), Mexico’s Value Added Tax, which he will then get a tax credit for when he ships the goods out of the United States.

Even though the proposed reforms in Nuevo Esquema de Empresas Certificadas, include:

  • flexibility on location,
  • direct clearance by companies,
  • pre-validation of electronic import and export data, and
  • the need to use a Mexican customs broker on the U.S. side of the border to release goods for entry into Mexico is eliminated.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if these rules are in effect now or not or if you have to use a Mexican trucker to move your goods, it matters whether or not you have to use a Mexican broker that insists on shipping your goods to a destination inside the Mexican border to collect IVA and dreyage at your expense. It’s like Mr. Locke pointed out in his piece on Cross-Border Shipping with Mexico last fall: some of the issues … are common in every country and the Mexican trucking industry is changing. A properly run IPO will get on-time delivery to your US customers in the 98% range over long periods of time … and that includes supplier performance, cross border performance and logistics performance in two countries and it will do so quite affordably if you’re smart about how you do things.

While the Nuevo Esquema de Empresas Certificadas, should it come into effect by year end, will make shipping easier, by making sure you’re doing everything right, and not using a double-dipping customs broker, you can improve cross-border shipping, and the associated cost, with Mexico now.

Cross-Border Shipping with Mexico

Today’s guest post is from Dick Locke. Dick, who has delivered seminars to over 100 companies across the globe, is a seasoned expert on International Sourcing and Procurement who wrote the book. (Here is the link to his archived posts.)

the doctor sent me this article from Inbound Logistics and wondered if I agreed. Well, mostly, but I think it overstates some difficulties. I operated an International Procurement Office in Mexico and we were able to get on-time delivery to our US customers in the 98% range over long periods of time … and that included supplier performance, cross border performance and logistics performance in two countries.

Some of the issues the article mentions are common in every country. Natural disasters are just one example. Every logistics network has to have backup plans when problems occur. And of course, when you’re operating in another country you have to have an open mind to doing things their way.

The article does have some good points:

* Exporting from Mexico requires using a Mexican customs broker. If you are moving goods to the US, you will probably want a US customs broker also, unless you want to have your own people at the border. Yes, that’s an extra step in the process.

* The border does jam up around Christmas as many expatriate Mexicans ship presents south.

* Of course you need to understand your country’s security related requirements, such as C-TPAT in the US.

* You should always avoid insuring every shipment and rely on a blanket policy

* You do need to keep track of goods crossing the border

But some is either overstated or applicable to any country, and some I disagree with.

* If you are shipping LTL there are several LTL logistics companies, all aimed at industry. DHL, Fed Ex and UPS as well as local Mexican companies such as Estafeta all do cross-border LTL work.

* You are not “guilty until proven innocent” under Mexican customs regulations any more than you are in the US or other countries. And the US has the same five year “statute of limitations” on customs errors … and it’s five years from your last import of a product.

* I wouldn’t ask a Mexican carrier to price services in US dollars. Fuel costs are in pesos as are nearly all of the carrier’s operating expenses. Asking to price in dollars will get you a higher price and possible attempts to renegotiate if the dollar weakens.

As an observation, the Mexican trucking industry is changing. Twenty years ago, it was a collection of small, independent1 truckers. Today there are bright, new, shiny trucks on the Mexican roads and large, serious logistics services available.

1 Extremely independent. Mexican truck drivers were the last of the wild west cowboys. A habit of stopping off overnight at what were euphemistically called “cantinas” made on time delivery really difficult. Times have changed.

Mexico’s Education System Improves Overnight!

Editor’s Note: Today’s post is from Dick Locke, Sourcing Innovation’s resident expert on International Sourcing and Procurement. (His previous guest posts are archived for your perpetual enjoyment.)

I believe that one of China’s long term advantages over Mexico has been that the Chinese are more serious about education. Education in Mexico has not been as high of a priority in policy as it has been in China.

Yesterday, the extremely powerful head of the Mexican teachers union was arrested for corruption. It was a little matter of allegedly siphoning off 200 million USD for her personal benefit and sometimes for the benefit of high ranking union officials. They didn’t mention that teachers sometimes have to buy their jobs from the union.

Details in the: Idaho Statesman
     and in the: New York Times

Thanks, Dick!

All Hail the Old China!

And by that I mean Mexico! I was thrilled to see this recent opinion piece in the New York times on The Tijuana Connection, a Template for Growth that said, for many (North) American manufacturers that need to beat Chinese Rivals that Mexico is the New China because it shows that a new generation of entrepreneurs are discovering what a few old greybeards have known all along — Mexico is cheap, efficient, and full of potential (like the 115,000 engineering students it graduates each year, which, per capita, is triple the U.S. graduate count).

Plus, it has little known secrets like Tijuana which, in addition to its reputation of party central is also electronics central — with a growing number of North American, European and Asian (including Sony and Samsung) companies opening and running factories that assemble consumer goods (such as TVs and Computers), medical devices, and even aerospace assemblies. And its prime location, just across the border from San Diego, means that an American company with an engineering office in San Diego can quickly and easily supervise production in the Mexican factory as needed, as it’s a quick drive across the border (for business people in the fast-track lane). (Plus, as the article notes, there is Juárez where Foxconn has a factory; Querétaro, which builds GM engines; and Boeing factories.)

But the sad thing is that the beardless don’t remember that this is not a new Mexico — this is the old Mexico finally being recognized for the value it has always provided. There’s a reason the outsourced manufacturing craze started with Mexico and will return to Mexico — labour costs are relatively cheap, capability is high, logistics and (remote) management costs are extremely affordable and manageable, English is relatively common (and fluency is at least 7 times that of China), and culture is a close fit.

Si quieres dinero y fama, que no te agarre el sol en la cama.