The industry where everyone should be

13:18 28 de janeiro de 2022 Por Daniel Oiticica

Alfredo Tovar: "There is much better communication with government entities and more agility in general". Foto: Fabio Lima

Alfredo Tovar – General Manager, AVX Industries/Kyocera

AVX Industries, based in the United States and El Salvador, is dedicated to the manufacture of electronic components, more precisely capacitors. The company has just merged with the Kyocera Corporation of Japan. Alfredo Tovar, general manager of the company, expanded the range and now it is also in charge of the production of connectors, sensors and antenna components. Locally, their plant hires 4,300 Salvadorans and plans to add 500 more next year. In the following interview, Tovar explains why the electronics industry has grown so much in the last year and which are the distinctive features of local workforce over the rest of the world.

Which are the main areas in which AVX industries work in El Salvador?
Locally, AVX is dedicated purely and exclusively to capacitors. We make several types, within two main branches: ceramic and tantalum. Capacitors can be found in any electronic device. Depending on the type of device, the number of capacitors can vary. Your mobile phone, for example, has about 2,000 capacitors. A car has 15,000. Currently, electronics in cars are growing. Before it was pure mechanics, but electronics began to grow. Today 40% of the content of the car is electronic and the capacitor is a fundamental part of any electronic device.

Why did the electronics industry grow so much?
The electronics of entertainment and communications was growing. The pandemic has even triggered more electronic communication needs, for example, due to all the videoconferences. And that requires more electronics, more hardware. All of this will continue to happen: the world is becoming more and more digital and communications are becoming faster, more important and more massive. This will continue and electronics will keep growing exponentially. The internet of things is the future. The demand for the quantity of electronic components is going to grow, that is the reason for the growth. Like any industry it has ups and downs. Now we are experiencing a peak.

Which are the conditions El Salvador offers in this context of growth?
There is much better communication with government entities and more agility in general. I know they have many projects, some of them still in process. We are going through a great moment.

Does AVX Industries plan to expand locally?
We have expansion projects. We are already considering for 2022 a big growth in the areas we already have. In 2021 we started a new production line, which we brought from Japan and started operating this year. Currently the company has 4,300 employees in El Salvador. The expansion involved hiring people, and we expect to cover between 400 and 500 additional jobs in 2022.

Which advantages does El Salvador have in relation to the rest of the world regarding the labor market?
The most attractive thing about the workforce is availability, compared to other companies in other parts of the world. The availability is enormous, our plants in Europe, Asia, the United States have a hard time to find people. It is easier in El Salvador because of the availability. And not only is there operators and technicians, but also professionals from various branches, such as engineering.

What advice would you give to companies that want to settle or invest in El Salvador?
We have very good features; the work ethic of our workforce is very good. To give a couple of examples, I have known places where a snowfall or a heavy rain causes a tremendous drop in the attendance to the factories. It doesn't happen here, there are storms here, there are hurricanes, we have gone through civil wars and people come to work. The work ethic is very good. There have been transport strikes and people walked to work. The turnover is very low, in our case, for example, in our plant have a turnover of 0.8%. In other places, such as in northern Mexico the turnover of companies that are close to the border ranges between 15% and 20%. This means spending time training people all the time. We don't have that problem, people come to stay. Of course, it also depends on the working conditions that you offer them, but in general they stay.