Mexican pyrotechnic leaders, catwalk of egos
Mexico has a high technological potential and a transformation industry increasingly efficient. The export potential of the country sustained in its competitiveness, in its strategic location, in the certainty of its laws, in the intellectual and industrial protection, in the current free trade agreements, as well as in an extraordinary work culture which are remains demonstrated in interesting examples of global leadership such as auto manufacturing, televisions, smart phones and medical equipment of high technological innovation.
Meanwhile pyrotechnics industry worldwide, even with certain products and methods of use which are controversial, are opening a path to new industrial, aerospace, agricultural, automotive applications, as well as for unique personal and entertainment use. The change is remarkable. While China, the fireworks giant accounted for the 60% of the traditional world production, companies such as CIL / Orion Canada or Lacroix in France have been redesigned to fulfill the increasing demand of pyrotechnic products for military and aerospace uses of high technology stepping away from their origins. With highly differentiated products and with high quality specifications, these products have an attractive contribution margin offering more profitable businesses in emerging market niches.
In this context, what is the role of pyrotechnic leaders in Mexico? The most likely scenario is to continue in a war of egos working individually, manufacturing traditional products with low profitability. This environment, with a heavy dose of wear off, can nevertheless achieve some export levels as we can find as an example the effort of Pirotecnia Mexico with the Next Fix of USA.
However, this case involves a strong dose of risk for the industry as a whole. Not only there is no institution in the country that allows Mexican pyrotechnic companies to join or facilitate efforts to export consistently, there is neither a culture of development of consortia to manufacture components to generate value chains, nor is there any international certification lab for pyrotechnics that would classify and standardize processes and ensure quality. With just these few illustrations it can be assumed that the work to be performed individually for companies that want to innovate, indispensable requirement for the exploitation of new markets, is huge.
But the true Damocles’ sword is constituted by the political use of risks and dangers of fireworks, as in many Latin American countries, which in addition to the cost of an outdated law, a discretion in the application of criteria by authorities and a lack of capacity to understand and support the competitiveness of Mexican industry, the business environment might not be encouraged.
As one example suffices: mining in Mexico, after a period of clear signals of the advent of social and environmental movements against this industry in the world, which were ignored at that time, today the mining industry has a serious problem to solve that involves new risks and operation costs that cast doubt in some projects.
The paradox of all this then is that while there are great opportunities for Mexico to become a model of technological change in the pyrotechnics industry providing high value-added products to the worlds largest market, with an extraordinary competitive advantage: its location, the industry leaders remain dormant in a comfort zone that could soon disappear.
Let’s consider another case, in January 27, 2013 in the Brazilian city of Santa Maria, a fire in the nightclub Kiss caused by the use of fireworks ended the lives of 245 young people. What was the response of Brazilian pyrotechnics to such tragedy? The coalition. Jorge Filho Lacerda issued on behalf of all the pyrotechnic trade union of the country a statement in which he expressed his sorrow, in solidarity with the affected families and explained the failures that caused that accident, he shared the commitment and tasks of the industry in his country to adopt better practices and processes to make sure the use of pyrotechnics in which not only be prevented the lynching of pyrotechnics activity in the carioca country but to recognize the public opinion of work and professionalism of its manufacturing sector.
This same admiration deserves as well the effort of some Latin American leaders among them: Mario Soto of El Salvador, John Sanafria of Ecuador, Gianfranco Trigilio in Panama, Jesús Velázquez of Colombia, Howard Díaz Wilson of Bolivia and Angel Torres of Puerto Rico for taking time and work to raise the standards of safety in their countries. These efforts are emulated by many other people in different countries of our America.
In Mexico the establishment of associations that have only shown their ineffectiveness or which require greater involvement of regulatory authorities through new laws are formulas that do not contribute at all to meet the conditions of opportunities and risks. What is really necessary is that industry leaders can join together to design vital communication strategies for public review, to strengthen business grow by obtaining incentives and funds for innovation and technological changes required, the involvement of PROMEXICO for the creation of trade missions that allow to establish strategic partnerships and to conduct negotiations with the Washington Ministry of Economy for the inclusion of items on the updated version of the General System of Preferences which generates as result to obtain the DOT Approvals for Mexican products.
The question remains in the air, what is the role of pyrotechnic leaders in Mexico?
By: Alejandro Mantecón