What is more important to a business: Affordable labor or dependable labor? Affordable labor is always a priority (you can’t get your product made if you can’t afford the workers to make it) however, having low turnover of employees should be as equal a priority, especially in manufacturing; the difference between getting your product produced and fulfilling your orders in the supply chain often comes down to the availability of workers.
In Mexico as it is with NovaLink, the affordable labor pool in which available workers are hired for manufacturing is the Maquiladoras. The Maquiladora solve the two primary problems discussed previously: affordable labor and availability. Besides being very skilled workers, Maquiladora represent the most affordable labor pool in North America; but hiring on the cheap is not the most important thing in staffing your manufacturing project, as we understand and practice at NovaLink: at NovaLink it is a priority that we not only hire the best and skilled workers for our clients, but that we also retain these workers, with very little turnover.
So how does NovaLink sustain labor relations with the Maquiladora, and retain the workers we hire for our clients in the long-term? Simply put, we instill the same basic best labor practices as any other manufacturing company in the United States.
Who are the Maquiladoras?
The Maquiladora, a manufacturing solution created to utilize preferential tariff agreements between the U.S. and Mexico, has a wide variety of benefits for businesses to consider when choosing if and who to use for outsourcing.
A Maquiladora is based in Mexico, typically near the Mexico/U.S. border, but is operated by a U.S. company. A Maquiladora is often a young, educated and skilled worker that brings a specialized proficiency to the product and client for whom they are working.
Due to the manufacturing skill these workers possess, as well as the boundless opportunities for the skilled workers in manufacturing, the task of retaining these workers can be a difficult challenge for some companies. If a manufacturing client has a large manufacturing output that must be met and the labor pool for making the products are not consistent, interruptions in the supply chains can occur.
This is not normally a problem at NovaLink, as we have made employee retention and labor relations a priority for our facility workers. NovaLink believes that establishing a balanced relationship with Maquiladora requires a combination of not just competitive wages, but also business acumen, awareness of Mexican culture, and answerability to social issues they may face. This is the reason that NovaLink is able to staff and retain workers are a much higher level than other shelter companies competing on our region.
How do you retain your workers?
Maquiladora, not unlike the workers in the US, are looking for the same benefits in a potential long-term job: competitive wages, benefits, training and job security. At NovaLink, we strive to ensure that all of these conditions are met, so we can maintain the highest level workers and continue to have a low -turnover in our manufacturing plants.
Team Nafta, writing about Maquiladora retention in a 2012 blog posts, re-enforces the idea that in order for companies to retain employees whether it is Mexico or the US, companies are going to have to invest in longer-term retention of their employees through job training and talent development.
“The primary focus is on investing in people through skill training and talent development – that is, offering employees opportunities for development and growth. At the same time, there is a growing trend toward longer-term incentives, with companies creating new retention programs (primarily cash-based), to combat turnover. Also, the trend of not offering expatriate employees any form of high-risk benefits may change in the years ahead to help retain certain categories of senior managerial employees. “
Sometimes, it is the size of our projects that keep our the Maquiladora at NovaLink: In March 2006, NovaLink began a partnership with Franklin Products, an OEM and contract manufacturer of cushions and covers for aviation seating. Because the working relationship with NovaLink was so fruitful, Franklin and NovaLink began to explore new avenues of production for the airline seat industry, expanding the manufacturing partnership to produce more offerings.
As NovaLink and Franklin’s partnership enters its 12th year, operations with Franklin has expanded out to several product lines employing over 900 operators. Some operators on the Franklin projects have been there for the entire 12 year run.
Commitment to Your Workers Equals Commitment to Your Clients
Commitment to your workers should not just be a catchphrase, but a commitment for large and small companies involved in manufacturing, if you expect your business to be successful. NovaLink strives exhaustively to ensure our client projects are flourishing, and at the core of this is presenting and keeping a solid, productive labor force.
Do you need a nearshore manufacturing partner or solution for your business? Contact NovaLink today: 956-621-7362 or visit our website: www.novalinkmx.com