The maquiladora city of Juarez, Mexico experienced growth of 23,000 new manufacturing jobs, or 9%, from 2011-2012, according to city statistics from the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
Maquiladoras, or assembly plants, make up a large part of the city’s growing industrial center. More than 300 maquiladoras are located in and around Juarez, including several of MFI International’s operations. The city is appealing to plant investors because of its four international ports of entry, located just south of El Paso, Texas, and Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
The area’s major employers come from several different industries. In computer assembly: Wistron and Foxconn provide assembly work for Apple, Dell and HP.
Automotive manufacturers include: Delphi, Lear, Johnson Controls, Yazaki and Bombardier, which has an assembly plant for recreational vehicles in Juarez.
Household products maker Electrolux has a refrigerator, washer and dryer assembly plant in Juarez. And medical company Johnson Controls has a large operations presence in the area, along with other medical device manufacturers.
All of these brands are taking advantage of Juarez’s nearshore location, skilled labor, and low transportation costs. Several have committed to building or expanding plants over the next 10 years, and most are constantly seeking suppliers closer to their Mexican operations.
Also credited for the recent jump in Juarez business are political changes, falling crime rates, and increased security, according to a CNN report from January 2013. Last December, Mexico welcomed a new leader, President Enrique Peña Nieto, into office. Nieto promised to boost the number of police in Mexico.
MFI has also strengthened its presence in Mexico by increasing security at its shelter service and turnkey contract manufacturing plants, especially in its supply chain. The company adheres to CTPAT (Customs –Trade Partnership against Terrorism) certification and procedures, and participates in biweekly security committee meetings between AMAC (Association of Maquiladora plants in Mexico) and police (state, federal, and city).
In a survey by AMCHAM Security of 6,000 companies doing business in Mexico from 2011-12, most reported that they expect the security situation in Mexico will continue to improve in the future.