Evaluating the Top Shelter Services in Mexico: What to Look for and Why

By José Burnes | Business Development at American Industries Group®
Published 05/29/2023

If you’re here, you’re probably interested in manufacturing in Mexico and have already decided that a shelter services provider is the best way forward for your company. If not, we recommend this article on why shelter services are a great way to start operations in Mexico.

By now you’re realizing that there are many different shelter service providers in Mexico with different scopes of services and pricing models. How can you best evaluate which company to choose and what are some of the key aspects to look for when selecting a shelter services provider? 

Here are some of the key aspects that we recommend our clients when evaluating a shelter services provider in Mexico:

  1. Strong Hometown presence in the selected locations

Some shelter companies have local offices in different locations while others offer most of their services nationwide from just one office where their central staff are located. It is very important that the shelter provider has a local office with strong central staff that includes experts in each of the disciplines to support your operations (finance, accounting, customs, logistics, human resources, purchasing) as well as a strong network with key stakeholders such as government agencies, universities, manufacturing associations, clusters, vendors, and technical schools. Shelter companies that have local offices can leverage their hometown presence to offer the best service, resolve any issues that may arise promptly, and liaison with local partners more effectively.

Shelter Services in Mexico

  1. Transparent shelter fees and scope of services:

No two shelter companies are the same. Some shelter companies offer a one-stop-shop approach that includes all expenses under their program, with mark-ups on operating expenses, while others allow you to pick and choose the specific services you need. It is very important for your company to have a clear understanding of how the shelter fee charges are determined and what is included in their scope of services. Some may have lower shelter fees on paper but have a more limited scope of services or have additional fees for some services such as: Value-Added-Tax (VAT) recovery or recruiting fees. Once you consider the whole package including mark-ups and hidden additional fees, the costs of their shelter programs can rapidly increase.  American Industries, for example, only has one shelter fee based on headcount for their scope of services. We also have multiple products depending on if you want to work on a not incorporated or incorporated model to best match each client’s specific needs.

Shelter program in Mexico

  1. Robust dedicated on-site shelter personnel:

As we mentioned above, success in an operation requires a dedicated on-site and highly trained administrative staff that can resolve issues on the spot as they arise with constant communication with your Plant Manager. Some shelter companies with no local office only assign one local shelter coordinator and one administrative assistant for multiple clients. The American Industries model includes a robust dedicated on-site shelter staff in your plant and as many administrative assistants as required by the size of your operation. We want to make sure your operation is successful and has the right support inside of your plant rather than one person for multiple clients.

  1. Secure and robust IT Platform:

Cybersecurity threats are present at all levels of operations, and having a robust IT platform can guarantee the continuation of your operations and avoid security risks. Your shelter provider must have a top-of-the-line software platform to properly document all administrative transactions that is accessible to perform audits. American Industries’ IT software is hosted on the Oracle Cloud Platform, and we use industry standard software for our Customs, Finance, and HR services. American Industries also has a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) to make sure that your data is not lost in any scenario.  

  1. Proven track record in the area:

It is important to engage with a shelter provider that has a demonstrated history of success in the selected site. By partnering with a shelter company that has a local office, a strong hometown presence, and successful clients in the city you chose, you make sure that you are not that shelter company’s guinea pig when starting your operations in a particular city. A shelter company with a proven track record knows where to find talent, what a competitive salary package looks like, what union to partner with (if applicable), and where the most competitive areas to locate your plant are. This connects to our last point which is:

  1. Having a game-plan for every scenario:

The shelter provider will become your partner in execution and guide you through the ins and outs of doing business in Mexico. Shelter providers with years of experience have documented processes and project management software for start-up and transfer of operations. American Industries for example, not only has ISO-9001 certified shelter administrative services, but they also have a documented game plan for start-up that they have developed, refined, and executed for more than 48 years. We also give our clients clear visibility of the key milestones and action items at all stages of the startup and manufacturing processes.

These are just some of the key aspects to evaluate the best shelter provider for your specific project. If you would like to discuss any of these in more detail or want to get more insight into any other aspects of your project, please reach out to start@americanindustriesgroup.com. We are here to help make your project in Mexico a success.

José Burnes

Business Development

American Industries Group®

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