Mexico has become a top destination for contract manufacturing services over the past few decades. Due to Mexico’s various advantages, an increasing number of companies across industries are leveraging contract manufacturers (CMs) in Mexico for their production needs. Contract manufacturing refers to hiring an external manufacturer to produce components, products, or services based on the hiring company’s specifications.
Within contract manufacturing, kitting and assembly are core competencies for Mexico. Kitting refers to the gathering and packaging of related components or parts, while assembly involves putting together kits or products from components. Given Mexico’s expansive manufacturing base and skilled workforce, kitting and assembly operations are commonly outsourced to Mexican CMs.
Mexico’s unique benefits make it an ideal location to outsource kitting and assembly activities to capable contract manufacturers. The proximity to the US, customs advantages, skilled workforce, well-developed supplier base, and competitive costs are some of the major benefits that set Mexico apart as a strategic contract manufacturing partner for kitting and assembly operations.
Understanding Kitting and Assembly in Manufacturing
Kitting and assembly processes are vital in modern manufacturing, especially when production is outsourced to contract manufacturers. Kitting refers to the gathering and packaging of related components or parts for assembly into finished products further down the production line. The components are usually sourced from multiple suppliers and brought together by the contract manufacturer per the client’s bill of materials or product specifications.
For example, a computer kit may include the motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive, cables, screws, manual etc. The kitting process consolidates all these parts, which arrive at various times from various vendors, into a complete kit for assembly in later stages. Well-kitted components help optimize efficiency in final assembly.
The assembly process involves systematically assembling or joining the kitted parts together to build desired products or items. Skilled assemblers or automated machines combine the parts, adding components or manipulating materials when needed until full products emerge. The complete items then move down the line into quality testing, customization, packaging, and shipping stages.
Effective kitting and assembly processes are crucial links in supply chain management within outsourced manufacturing models. Fluent kitting and assembly workflows minimize disruptions on the floor and enable contract manufacturers to speedily deliver finished products that meet client expectations or specifications.
Key Benefits of Kitting and Assembly in Contract Manufacturing in Mexico
Cost Efficiency and Reduced Overheads
Mexico provides significant cost savings and overhead reduction in kitting and assembly operations compared to contract manufacturing in other regions. In the US, wages for factory workers average $2-3 per hour versus $13-18 per hour, leading to dramatically lower labor expenses. Additionally, Mexico offers financial incentives, government subsidies, and tax benefits to attract contract manufacturing businesses, further cutting overall costs. Various studies confirm double-digit cost differentials, with Mexico maintaining high productivity despite lower costs. These savings translate into improved profit margins and competitive pricing advantages.
Enhanced Production Efficiency and Time Management
Expert contract manufacturers in Mexico have finely honed kitting and assembly processes that optimize manufacturing cycle times. Smooth part flow, fast changeovers, and lean production principles enhance operational efficiency. Well-designed kitting rooms minimize travel distances between pick locations. Organized part boxes with visual guides like diagrams, photos, and labels enable quick and accurate component identification and sorting to specific production processes. This results in significant time savings over disorganized or poorly planned kitting.
Efficient assembly lines also increase output per hour. Specialized equipment, custom fixtures, and worker training tailor assembly tasks for faster speeds without jeopardizing quality. Greater time efficiency leads to enhanced responsiveness and shorter delivery lead times.
Quality Control and Consistency
High-quality standards are integral to contract manufacturing in Mexico, especially for export-focused industries. Stringent quality control around kitting and assembly ensures parts are accurately picked, products are assembled to precision specifications, and full inspections verify conformity across all units.
Centralized quality control also promotes consistency for kitted parts and final outputs. Uniform training and production protocols enable different manufacturing runs, lines, or facilities to achieve standardization in end products. This reliability helps companies scale up volumes across multiple Mexican vendor sites if needed while maintaining quality benchmarks. Strict quality management across all process stages reinforces compliance and consistency.
Flexibility and Scalability
Agile Mexican contract manufacturers adeptly adjust kitting and assembly to accommodate demand fluctuations or production variability. Having weathered product cycles and volume shifts from global OEM customers, they stand ready to scale up or down as client needs change.
There is growing expertise around flexible assembly systems and reconfigurable lines that allow seamless switching between product variants. The factories effectively manage high-mix, low-volume runs as well as mass production outputs. Kitting rooms also have cross-trained teams who can rapidly shift picking processes as parts change. This flexibility enables scaling assembled units up or down in a responsive manner.
Access to Skilled Labor and Technical Expertise
Mexico’s expansive manufacturing sector fosters a skilled labor force and technical experts well-suited for kitting and assembly operations. Government programs collaborate with industry associations to cultivate trade skills through extensive technical education programs. This develops competent factory workers for electronics assembly, automotive fabrication, medical device building, and more.
Leading contract manufacturers further hone talents with rigorous in-house training around process optimizations, product engineering, quality management, and customer specifications. Investments in keeping worker skills aligned with client needs to ensure efficient kitting protocols and proficient assembly execution.
The advantages of outsourcing these core functions to capable Mexico-based partners continue to lead more manufacturers to shift production activities from Asia and other higher-cost areas into this strategic Latin American manufacturing hub.
Comparative Advantage: Mexico vs. Other Global Manufacturing Centers
Mexico stands out as a competitive location for kitting and assembly against leading Asian manufacturing hubs. While countries such as China and India offer very low labor costs, Mexico counterbalances with proximity to US and Canadian markets. This geographic advantage provides faster turnarounds and lower logistics costs for North American companies.
Transit times from Mexico to most points in the US are measured in days rather than the weeks required from Asia. Costs are also greatly reduced–shipping a container from Mexico to US warehouses is much more cost-effective than from China. These advantages make outsourcing to Mexican contract manufacturers ideal for US-bound production. Time-sensitive or bulky products see the highest savings and just-in-time manufacturing benefits. Language and cultural alignment also facilitate smoother outsourcing engagements between US partners and Mexican producers.
Challenges and Considerations
Despite the advantages, companies evaluating Mexican outsourcing should address matters such as protecting intellectual property, resolving potential language barriers with factories, and aligning on quality expectations. Fostering extensive collaboration and site visits during onboarding helps align objectives around security procedures, open communication, and quality protocols.
Legal protections and contractual obligations should be established for safeguarding proprietary production methods, product designs, or unique kitting processes. Non-disclosure agreements and security protocols like restricted facility access, badge access to production lines, and dismantling outdated prototypes help mitigate IP risks.
Language barriers may exist between English-speaking customer staff and Spanish-speaking Mexican factory managers. Relying on bilingual sourcing agents helps bridge communication gaps during negotiations and onboarding. Onsite translators also help when addressing technical concepts or quality protocols. Over time, robust documentation around specifications should limit confusion.
Upfront collaboration around quality expectations, including defining metrics, corrective action timeframes, and transparency on reporting, facilitates consistency. Companies should perform site visits to review factory conditions, sample manufacturer qualifications, check certifications, and establish rapport with the management team.
Other considerations cover legal compliance across international trade laws, tax and duty implications when importing finished goods, and logistics coordination with cross-border shipments. Working closely with freight forwarders and trade lawyers helps streamline processes under NAFTA and other favorable trade agreements between Mexico and the US/Canada.
Bring Your Product Vision To Life With MOS Plastics
As an established custom injection molder and contract manufacturer since 1974, MOS Plastics has the expertise to manufacture your innovative products. Equipped with state-of-the-art production technologies and a culture of continuous quality, we deliver high-precision parts and assembled devices that bring visions to reality.
Our facility in Tijuana, Mexico, serves transportation, healthcare, agriculture, and other industries. Whether you need rapid prototypes, pilot production runs, or high-volume manufacturing, depend on MOS Plastics as your trusted manufacturing partner. Our knowledgeable staff supports your success through collaborative partnerships focused on quality, efficiency, and service. Reach out to our team today.