In this edition of our interview series #DigitalDialogue, we had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Bruno Jaramillo Pavón, General Director of the Sociedad Mexicana de Fundidores A.C (SMFAC) - Mexican Foundry Society.
SMFAC is a multidisciplinary entity to provide service with integrated solutions for its affiliates, it represents a good part of the companies in the supply chain of ferrous and non-ferrous cast metal parts in Mexico. The sector is big so it becomes a key piece of the metallurgical manufacturing sector, however, the Society has a history, which dates back to the mid-'40s after the devastating 2nd World War; it has its own roots that have developed over time and the DNA of the Mexican smelter, therefore the commitment is big and strong. Currently, the institution is being transformed according to the needs of its members, since they increasingly require more professional attention to be competitive and sustainable globally.
Metalshub: Why did you choose the foundry sector?
I did not choose the foundry sector, the foundry sector chose me, at the beginning I had no idea of the industrial meaning of "foundry" in the manufacture of metals, out of common sense I had as a reference the big steel mills that exist in our country and I once saw a report of the Pittsburgh steelworkers, whose American football team, I am a fan, but finally I had no intention of working in this sector, however, by chance a friend invited me to collaborate in an industrial exhibition in 2006, called FundiExpo, being a marketer by profession I was very interested and it was then that I decided to join this exciting world. Since then, I began to meet very interesting people, true modern alchemists worthy of admiration, engineers who transform the metal-based on their passion, knowledge, and experience. It really was a universe of knowledge for me, and I decided to stay in this wonderful manufacturing sector.
Metalshub: What are the main objectives and commitments of the Society?
The challenges are many, the commitments even more, but in order of priorities, the most relevant objective that our association has today is the professionalization of all its areas, to offer greater capacity and quality of the specialized solution to its members. We must pass the bridge of institutionalization from being a mere social organization to being a modern, representative, sustainable association. We know, we have a long way to go and we are aware that today we must redouble our efforts to generate trust from those who seek us for what we offer.
Metalshub: What challenges and opportunities do you foresee for the foundry industry in Mexico for the rest of the year?
The forecasts are always interesting, the prediction uses qualitative data that depends on the judgment of experts. The forecast instead is based on theory, with statistics or projections, while the prediction is a hunch or premonition without a theoretical basis, and the numbers are cold, it is not a surprise to anyone that our industry fell about 15% during the global health crisis, and the economic crisis hit hundreds of companies. We are currently recovering slowly, but the challenges are and will be many in the upcoming months, and years, mainly some companies that were in their comfort zone now have to risk, seek and concentrate all their teams on three main areas: innovation, agility, and diversification. This would generate, according to the experts, greater competitiveness in a market contracted and emaciated by the economic crisis, but above all by the uncertainty and distrust in investment. So to attract the attention of prospects and new clients, it will be necessary to give a greater added value to their competition.
Metalshub: What would be your recommendations for foundries in Mexico at this time considering the challenges and opportunities in the next 6 months?
Firstly, analyzing that 6 months are short term objectives, to all the managers of the foundries, I would recommend having more objectivity, to reinsert themselves again in all the functional areas of their companies: administration, production, sales, and finances basically, since their businesses today need them more than ever. It is necessary to increase the capacity of analysis, and for that I suggest to do micro-management, although the purists in high direction may be against me, believe me, that it is necessary to renew the plans and objectives in the medium term, and if it is necessary as it is said colloquially, to "get into the kitchen", to analyze each department, and to take very intelligent decisions. Make your business leaner, because the market needs dizzying agility to compete today, foundries must be on the way to the Smart Foundry.
Metalshub: What importance is the Society giving to the issues of digital transformation and Industry 4.0?
Evolutionarily, as humanity we have had several ages that have distinguished us from the rest of living beings, and this has given us a degree of evolution that we have adapted to what we are now as a society and industry, from the stone age to the digital age, passing through the age of bronze, iron, and the modern age, today we are immersed in the digital age. For our institution, digital transformation is one of the priorities in our organizational plans. Currently only a very low percentage of companies have been transformed digitally. It is true that practically all of them have Internet, and some applications that have facilitated their administrative, productive, and communication processes, but technology is not within the reach of all companies' budgets. I think we are still 25% advanced when Mexico with other industrialized countries globally. Many so-called "large" companies have done very well, but in general, MSMEs have a long way to go to reach the levels of competitiveness.
Metalshub: How important are the issues of digital transformation and Industry 4.0 for the foundry sector in Mexico and why?
The industry in Mexico has a privileged location for metals manufacturing, since its main business partner, the United States, represents an advantage for our country since it is one of the largest automotive consumers in the world. This has led to the fact that for several decades the national industry has specialized in this area, and we are a very strong maquiladora industry. However, not all of this is positive, since we do not have our own development of technology, we do not build specialized machinery for casting, heat treatment, machining of parts, etc., so the challenge is greater. I think that not only the auto parts industry should continue to develop, but also companies should consider industries with medium and long-term opportunities, such as aerospace one, and for this purpose digital transformation and Industry 4.0 will be essential for innovation. This is also why strategic alliances such as the Mexican Foundry Society (SMFAC) and Metalshub are very productive because we must approach experts in the areas that we do not master.
Metalshub: We know that soon the "XVIII Symposium 2020" will be held along with the celebration of the 75 years of the Society, Which will be the main topic of this event, dates, place, and the 3 main reasons to participate?
Precisely, this event will update us on issues of digital transformation, industry 4.0, and other areas of interest, such as processes, engineering, environmental, social, administrative, but also technological innovation applied in the daily practice of the foundry and metallurgical sector. It will be the first virtual event in the history of SMFAC, which is why technology is more relevant. We will have guests from the World Foundry Organization from which we are members, but we will also have other associations closely related to our sector. It will be a very complete event, also very affordable, since being online people who wish to participate will save up to 95% in transportation, food, and accommodation expenses. We are estimating that about 1000 people will be connected each day who will have the benefit of participating from the comfort of their homes or offices.
Metalshub: Before finishing, tell us a little more about you - what motivates you most in your work?
The ideal is the real thing, the day to day I reinvent every action and every decision, my biggest motive in my work is to serve, not mattering sometimes the economic remuneration, that comes later, to serve my partners, my associates, my suppliers, but above all the universe, because as you serve it returns to you in duplicate, you have to have a quite strong emotional intelligence in this industry, because sometimes you have to face very complex situations, It is worth mentioning that currently my work seeks the social object, not the economic one, and sometimes you work more like an industrial psychologist since you must understand the idiosyncrasy of the smelter, because first of all before being a smelter is a human being, and sometimes they express their emotions and want to be heard, and no matter if it is in the best or worst way, one must have vocation of service in this work always considering to preserve the prudence to act with attachment to your values, honesty and professional ethics.
Metalshub: Who is Bruno Jaramillo outside of his work?
He is the right person to trust, I am discreet, honest, and humble, in a human sense I try not to get into trouble and I like to be practical, I like to get involved in my personal projects until they are finished, although sometimes because of the number of projects I take longer than I thought, I usually finish them; I like creativity, I admire engineering, I love science, chemistry, novelistic literature, I am also passionate about cinema and currently about series, I am passionate about music, mainly alternative rock, jazz, and electronic instrumental music, I am a fan of exquisite Mexican, Spanish and Italian food, I love art developed in metals, the sculpture is a delight. But the most important reason for life to be who I am and that I thank the creator, is my family, my three fantastic children, and my dear wife, which make me a better person.
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