In January, we invited Jean François Racine, the general manager at Trevi manufacturing to our webinar on Exporting your business to Mexico – For 2 reasons:
- Trevi is a company that manufactures and distributes pool products.
- We helped Trevi achieve their goal of manufacturing in Mexico.
A bit of context
As you may know, Trevi manufacturing is a private Quebec company that has been in business for about 50 years, whose owner and founder – is still working in the company to this day!
In 2021, the company employed about 1800 employees and it manufactures the liners and the above ground pools in Mirabel, Quebec, as well as in two other plants outside Canada; one in Tennessee USA and another one in Monterrey, Mexico.
Jean François manages the manufacturing division, which is the division that also distributes to the US, the above ground pools and liners that the company manufactures.
Trevi manufacturing’s first market is the US but they also sell their products in Quebec throughout their 12 corporate stores in the province.
The case of Trevi manufacturing was very specific in Mexico.
During our previous webinar we were talking about the different options that someone would have, or a company would have to start operations in Mexico. And we asked Jean François: “Why did you choose the shelter model as the solution for Trevi?”
Jean François answered: “The main reason was really quite a matter of time and resources. We started discussing about opening an outfit in Mexico at the beginning of 2021. But things got serious around April, and what we got from our research was that opening a company in Mexico would take somewhere between one and two years if we did it by ourselves.”
“We thought that we might be able to accomplish our goals in six months with a shelter company. But, in hindsight, I can say that while getting the job done in six months would be feasible; it actually took a little bit more than that, but not that much. With the shelter company we started the production and training somewhere between December and January of this year.”
“That was the reason why we at Trevi went for the shelter company. Mainly because of the time frame required for starting the outfit, and obviously the legal part of setting up operations in Mexico, that required us to open a company in Mexico with all the liabilities and the legal stuff we would have to go through. So that’s why we chose the shelter company.”
It is true. Trevi manufacturing’s process was quite fast, considering it involved training and hiring qualified Mexican workers. Jean François accomplished many things in a short period of time using a Shelter company.
But we also asked why they chose Nuevo León to set up their manufacturing operations.
During our discussions, Trevi manufacturing chose the region mainly because of the easy access to Texas through the Laredo highway. Which is a major point because Trevi must send all the products that are manufactured in Mexico, to the US or back to Canada. Another factor that influenced the decision, was the demographics of the region.
“We were looking at a place, an area where there was a lot of people because our first objective was to have a lot of workers, a big workforce available, so we were looking into Saltillo and Monterrey and finally we chose Monterrey because of the labour force provided by the population of the city.”
We also asked him, what are the two main things that you have to keep in mind when you when you do business in Mexico as a Quebec company?
“I would say we have to be aware that the speed the limits are different in Mexico and Montreal. Everything takes longer. People talk forever. Just to say hello, it’s like 5 or 4 sentences. But looking back, the main advice I would have to give, if someone wants to start up the company faster; would be to move here (Mexico) for a few months. That way it would have been better, and I think we would have started, probably, between three and four months. We could have had something up and running, but the difference is really the lead times and the fact that it’s very hard to manage everything at a distance.”
We also asked Jean François, in an act of self-promotion, How did Stratecca helped him to accomplish Trevi´s manufacturing goals.?
“Strateca helped me a lot in the project for sure. I had never started a company anywhere outside of Canada before. So, it’s just looking for a place, looking for a city. Looking for the area. Knowing who to talk to. Especially choosing the shelter I needed. To have some kind of guidance too. I could have done it by myself, but obviously things are different, and it depends on where you are, but we like to think that we don’t know everything, and since Mexico is different, I think having a guide to help us through that process adds a lot. Of course, it costs money, obviously, but I think we saved a lot of time on the project for sure.”
Are you a Canadian Business owner interested in doing business in Mexico?
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