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Nearshoring in Mexico with Amcor Service Solutions’ COO, Rich Guglielmo

Nearshoring in Mexico with Amcor Service Solutions’ COO, Rich Guglielmo

Amcor Service Solutions has been operating under the auspices of the Tecma Group of Companies shelter service offerings in Mexico since 2007.

Rich Guglielmo
Chief Operating Officer
richg@amcor.com
973.575.5900 X 110

Tecma Group of Companies:

Hello and welcome to another installation of Tecma Talk podcasts. These are audio sessions in which we speak to experts that are both within the Tecma Group of Companies, as well as are external to the firm. Today we will speak with an expert that is of the latter type. We have with us Rich Guglielmo. Rich is the Chief Operating Officer of one of Tecma’s clients. The name of the company is Amcor Service Solutions. How are you doing today, Rich?

Rich Guglielmo:

Doing fine today, and I just want to thank you for the opportunity to talk about a little bit about our experiences nearshoring in Mexico with the Tecma Group of Companies.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Can you please provide the listeners with a bit of career background on yourself, and, maybe, talk about Amcor Service Solutions. What does the company do, and what is your area of expertise?

Rich Guglielmo:

I got into the business many, many years ago with IBM servicing their mainframe computers. I eventually assumed a management position in the company. In 1986, I met my partner, Tom St. John, and we opened Amcor Service Solutions in New Jersey providing parts sales and depot repair to our clients.

Tecma Group of Companies:

So, essentially, Amcor has been around for quite a bit of time, since 1986. You are going to come up on your thirtieth year anniversary pretty soon. For how much of that time have you had been nearshoring in Mexico?

Rich Guglielmo:

We decided to commit to nearshoring in Mexico in mid-2006. On January 15, 2007, we formally opened our repair center in Ciudad Juarez, along with our warehouse and distribution center in El Paso.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Prior to our beginning to actually record this session on nearshoring in Mexico, you had mentioned that initially you had somewhat of a division of labor between things that were done up in New Jersey, and things that you had done in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Can you tell us how you set up initially, and how, over time, you transitioned to a different configuration of activities?
Rich Guglielmo:

We were operating parallel repair and operation centers in New Jersey and in Ciudad Juarez. When nearshoring in Mexico in Juarez, at the beginning, we started small. We put together a lot of automated procedures to make sure that we were performing correctly, especially as regards customs operations. Getting stuff across the border and back can be quite involved, if the procedures to do so are not automated in order to make sure that cross border movements are documented correctly each and every time.

As I said, initially with our repair, we started off on a small scale that we continued to build upon. Our nearshoring in Mexico operated this way until the beginning of 2013. Until that year we had approximately seventy-five percent of our repair businesses and inventory in El Paso and in Juarez. As that year began, we decided that we would move the remainder of the operations to El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. We completed the transition by September 1, 2013. At present, our administration, as well as our customer service and corporate management, still reside in the United States in New Jersey.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Over time, you changed the mix of how and where things would get done in your company. How have the changes that you have made to your approach to nearshoring in Mexico turned out for you?

Rich Guglielmo:

It has been great. At the beginning we were afraid of quality, and of reliability and productivity. All I can tell you is that we met have all of our customer demands using the nearshoring in Mexico capabilities in Ciudad Juarez. We have had great quality. We are ISO 9000:2008 certified. We use lean Six Sigma techniques. Additionally, our productivity is equal to, or better than, in the States, and, certainly, the reliability of the workers in Juarez has been pleasantly surprising. Most of the people that we hired when we started nearshoring in Mexico back in 2007 are still with us.

Tecma Group of Companies:

That is a testimony to your management and its ability to not only pick good people, but to retain them.

There’s something that I want to bring up, because people have this concern. Things change, but as things change, sometimes good news, or news that contradicts older reports, takes a while to surface. In light of this thought, your involvement in nearshoring in Mexico has been for a period of almost ten years. There was a period of time, about the time between 2010 to 2012 during which there was narcotics trade related violence on the border. At this time Ciudad Juarez was touched by it, as well as the accompanying significant level of bad press.

Please tell us about that time, as well as about your experience today and how things have changed since the “bad old days,’ so to speak.

Rich Guglielmo:

I can tell you unequivocally that the problems that were associated with the drug violence in Mexico never affected our operation one iota. We always met our customer demands. We were really taken care of by the Tecma people when we needed to go to our repair center in Ciudad Juarez. It did not affect our doing business at all. The people were super. Tecma, as I said, took great care of us and all of their clients.

Things are returning to normal now. As far as I am concerned, they have returned to normal. Really, I never felt fear associated with going over the border to Mexico, whether it be from 2007, or from anytime right up to the present.

Tecma Group of Companies:

There is a little bit of irony involved with such concerns these days. It is totally understandable that people have them. They should. It is the responsible thing to do. It is ironic, however, that sometimes the same level of concern for travel in the US is not expressed, given what has been happening lately in some of the country’s major cities. It may be that what it comes down to is looking at things as objectively as possible, and putting them into their proper perspective.

In terms of advice or tips, what can you, as an individual with almost ten years of experience with nearshoring in Mexico, offer as advice to those that might want to engage in depot repair, or any other manufacturing activity? If you have any of those “if I knew then what I know now items,” what would they be?

Rich Guglielmo:

The first thing that I would say is that you need to automate the process of crossing goods across the border for Customs purposes. It is very important to provide Customs, whether US or Mexican, with the correct details related to each and every shipment that crosses the border in either direction. Neglecting to do this can be the source of a tremendous amount of grief, when shipments get stopped and held up due to incorrect paperwork. It is really important that all documentation related to nearshoring in Mexico be correct as per Customs requirements.

On the operations side, I would say “start small.” Get your ducks in a row. Hire a great operations manager, who, in turn, will hire excellent people. That will reduce plant turnover almost to nothing, as it has been for us. One of the reasons why we are so productive is that we have basically the same employees in place today as we had when we started. As we continue to grow, they continue to stay with Amcor.

Also, as is the case with any business, employees need to be treated with respect. That goes for vendors and customers too. You have to treat them all the same way. Do this and everything else will take care of itself.

Tecma Group of Companies:

Rich, when these discussions are aired, listeners often have questions that go beyond the scope of what was discussed during this short bit of time. Feedback that listeners have provided on other recordings there are always questions that people have for folks like you after having hear a recording. That being the case, Rich, would you be willing to take emails or phone calls from individuals that may have questions for you?

Rich Guglielmo:

Sure. I’d love to do that. When you encounter somebody that wants to learn about nearshoring in Mexico and establishing operations, I’d be glad to communicate with them via either email or telephone.

Remember, relevant and useful Mexico manufacturing content is available at one’s finger tips by downloading the Tecma Group mobile app from the Google Play Store, interested parties can also receive Mexico manufacturing information on a weekly basis by SMS Texting the word Tecma to 96000.

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