Title: Issues in transferring technologies to maquiladoras

Authors: Anil Mital, Anupam Girdhar, Anubhav Mital

Addresses: Industrial Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0116, USA. Industrial Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0116, USA. Cincinnati Country Day School, 6905 Given Road, Cincinnati, OH 45243, USA

Abstract: In the last 35 years, the Mexican side of the USA-Mexico border has witnessed a very significant growth in the manufacturing sector. With a modest beginning of only a dozen plants in 1965-66, the border area now boasts over 4000 manufacturing establishments along the 2,000 mile border, employing millions of workers directly or indirectly. While the majority of these establishments, commonly referred to as ||Maquiladora Industry||, is US-owned, investment from other locations such as Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Taiwan, is growing. The low direct labour cost, availability of a large labour pool and proximity to the largest consumer market in the world (USA) are the major reasons for increased and sustained investments. A large number of Fortune 500 companies now own a maquiladora. The revenue from these has become a very substantial part of these companies| bottom line. However, the productivity and quality standards of maquiladoras continue to suffer as a result of high worker turnover rates, lack of skills, poor training and low wages. For companies to compete in the global market, it is critical that not only the negative impacts of these factors on production, costs and efficiency be minimised but also that the latest in manufacturing technology be employed. This paper reviews the issues that are relevant in transferring manufacturing technology to maquiladoras and, thereby, making them competitive in the global market. The paper also discusses environmental issues resulting from the production of hazardous waste by maquiladoras.

Keywords: maqiladoras; manufacturing technology; environmental technology; technology transfer; productivity; global competitiveness.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTTC.2002.001796

International Journal of Technology Transfer and Commercialisation, 2002 Vol.1 No.4, pp.405-423

Published online: 18 Aug 2003 *

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