Case Studies

Trading Up

Biciclo improves operations and grows in the face of global competition.

By Marta Bright

February 2007

Biciclo, which fabricates high-tech parts and accessories for sporting and recreation products, is like many other Mexico-based manufacturers facing competition from international companies with modern IT-driven manufacturing practices and inexpensive labor. The firm credits its focus on implementing a leaner and more modern approach to process manufacturing over the past two years as the reason it is flourishing in the global marketplace.

Emma Bocanegra and Celso González Ramírez, who serve as IT manager and administrative director, respectively, at Biciclo, report that they were very methodical and strategic when investigating new IT solutions. The company wanted a vendor/solution mix that would accommodate process optimization, cost reductions, and company growth. The ultimate answer? Oracle.

Implementation took eight months. Biciclo entered into production with Oracle Financials, Oracle Order Management, and Oracle Purchasing. According to González Ramírez, it was a successful process from the start because it was able to immediately increase productivity and reduce costs via simplification and automation. Management also had access to reliable data on project manufacturing time and expenditures.

Biciclo S.A. de C.V.

Location: San Luis Potosi, Mexico
Annual revenue: US$40 million
Employees: 650
Oracle products and services: Oracle E-Business Suite, including Financials, Purchasing, Manufacturing, Order Management, Enterprise Asset Management, Project Costing; Oracle Internet Developer; Oracle Application Server Standard Edition
Other products and services: Services from Appteck

Two and a half years after its implementation, the company is now running on Oracle Database and Oracle E-Business Suite applications.

Read how administrative efficiency is up by 95 percent while administrative costs are down by 25 percent thanks to Oracle Financials. In addition, Oracle Purchasing and Oracle Manufacturing have enabled logistics-response time to be reduced by 30 percent and order-processing time by 25 percent.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) held great promise for helping Mexico gain a more significant international advantage by attracting global investments and increasing job creation. What NAFTA didn't necessarily account for was positioning Mexico to keep pace with the ultramodern and IT-driven manufacturing practices countries like China have become so famous for. So, how do companies go about regaining enough traction in the world marketplace to compete against countries with state-of-the-art facilities and inexpensive labor? By taking a chapter from their competitors' own book of success—operational and technology improvements that grow, change, and adapt to any situation.

Celso González Ramírez and Emma Bocanegra, who serve as administrative director and IT manager, respectively, at Biciclo, a San Luis Potosi, Mexico-based manufacturer, have been readying their company for a leaner and more modern approach to process manufacturing. Specializing in the fabrication of high-tech parts and accessories for sporting and recreational products, including high-end bicycles, Biciclo's operating costs are continually affected by price fluctuations in the raw materials market. "One of the main raw materials we use is steel," González-Ramírez explains. "We have seen a price increase of close to 110 percent over what it cost two years ago. If we don't react quickly, improve our processes, and speed manufacturing, the international market will be transferred to the Chinese," he says.

Photography by Shutterstock