Written by Mateo Rafael Tablado
Produced by Diego Pesantez
Interviewee Patricio Gil, CEO of Blackhawk of Mexico
Expansion Derived From Growth
Blackhawk of Mexico is an example to follow in regards to its steady growth, due to more than adequate human resource management and training, and the incorporation of modern casting technology and machinery.
In the first half of 2014, the foundry inaugurated a production facility whose performance exceeds what the company projected. The challenge within the next three years is for this facility to operate at 100 percent.
Blackhawk understands that in order to upgrade the recently inaugurated foundry, the company must automate processes, especially since the nature of the industry includes working with potentially hazardous materials at high temperatures, such as smoke and dust residues. Furthermore, top management does not skimp on improvements, keeping the company and the facilities as an attractive and modern option for current and future clients.
To retain labor, the company promotes its facilities, state-of-the-art equipment and secure processes.
"We have the advantage of having an accessible workforce, but we don’t rely on them for operations that should be automated," says Patricio Gil, CEO of Blackhawk of Mexico.
Suppliers: Always Under Scrutiny
The company has two groups of suppliers: raw material suppliers and those responsible for providing special equipment and components. The first group aligns 100 percent with the requirements and demands of Blackhawk, ensuring that all materials meet specifications.
Meanwhile, suppliers of special equipment and components are carefully selected based on their previous work experience and developments. The company is very attentive to detail and always takes a closer look at the type of technology and machinery that a supplier is capable of providing and the benefits that comes with it.
"We have good proximity with our suppliers, their role is key and with them we have created a very strong chain," the CEO said.
High Quality Work Environment
Human resource management in Blackhawk’s plant has been a great success, all the talent is from Mexico and the company only brings foreign professionals for very specialized processes. There is also a positive work environment, enabling the company to have one of the lowest turnovers in Mexico.
"The quality of our work environment is very important to us. Companies and customers who visit us can not believe that there is a relaxed environment and that at the same time we are breaking sales, production and quality records," Patricio Gil said.
The initiative to seek and invite retired metallurgical engineers, seniors with working experience in foundries, and other specialists to pass on their knowledge to a younger generation, has produced excellent results.
Minimizing the Environmental Footprint in Every Process
A priority of Blackhawk is to maximize efforts to reduce their environmental footprint. The plant residues are smoke, dust and other substances collected during each process. All noise-generating processes are performed in isolated areas.
They continue to use treatment plants for the consumption of water, which allows the liquid to be reused for irrigation purposes.
"We try to make it a model plant, is not a plant that is fuming, if you look at it from the outside it doesn’t seem to be a foundry," says Gil.
Growing also means introducing an additional number of products to be developed. Up until 2013 the weight of processed products was limited to 100 kilograms. Now, the company can manufacture parts up to 350 kilograms, expanding their possibilities to reach new customers.
"This opens up a large market in agriculture and heavy machinery, also called off-highway," Gil said.
Increasing Production with New Opportunities
After opening the new plant, their operation capacity increased by 50 percent. Up until recently, the production limit was 25,000 metric tons per year. This figure is now 37,500 tons, and by 2015 the Company expects to reach 32,000 tons.
The demand for foundry work on a large scale keeps increasing, and Blackhawk of Mexico will continue to strengthen its presence.
"Many manufacturing opportunities continue to arrive in Mexico, and in the next few years we see Mexico and United States as our main focus," concluded Gil.