10/15/2008 12:00 AM
Many manufacturers who moved operations to China and Southeast Asia with cost-savings in mind now realize that long-term bargains weren’t found in labor or logistics. Further, there were problems with quality, an increased inventory in the supply chain, currency risk and a need to be closer to their markets.
All of that spells good news for North America, and creates tremendous opportunity for regional manufacturing in the Texas-Mexico corridor.
To help Texas capitalize on this opportunity, the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) recently was awarded a $350,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration to engage in a landmark study of the critical success factors for manufacturing along the Texas-Mexico trade corridor. TEEX has partnered with Texas A&M University’s Global Manufacturing and Distribution Research Initiative to conduct the research and deliver findings in a series of conferences targeting industry and economic developers throughout South Texas and Northern and Central Mexico.
Study, consortium, conference
The join TEEX and A&M project, South Texas Trade Corridor Competitiveness Study: Leading Global Supply Chain Throughput in South Texas, will focus on the role of the region’s ports, transportation routes and maquila industries in establishing the trade corridor of choice for targeted industries.
The A&M-established Mexico-Texas Trade Corridor Consortium, a membership organization comprised of major manufacturers and logistics providers, will serve as the catalyst for this research and will focus on increasing throughput, decreasing time and cost, and optimizing distribution and manufacturing operations in the region. The consortium is contributing more than $150,000 of research funding to the overall effort.
The first meeting of this consortium – the Texas-Mexico Trade Competitiveness Conference –will take place Nov. 13, 2008, at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas. The conference is free and open to the public. Three additional conferences will be scheduled through 2009 in South Texas and Mexico (dates and locations to be announced).
Maquilas are companies in Mexico that process or assemble components imported from Texas and then ship the finished goods back to Texas.
Throughput is the speed and volume with which products move through transportation, manufacturing processes and even customs at the border.
Texas Engineering Extension Service
Texas A&M University Global Manufacturing and Distribution Initiative
Dr. F. Barry Lawrence, director, Texas A&M University Global Manufacturing & Distribution Research Initiative